"We have an amazingly well qualified, energetic person like Ben Jealous challenging [Larry] Hogan’s don’t-rock-the-boat principles -- which are not helping this state," says Linda Neuman. Hogan "went into hiding after Trump's inauguration, refusing to say a word about Trump."
/By Linda Neuman/ Over the past couple of years I have heard Maryland’s Governor Larry Hogan described in the following ways by my registered-Democrat friends: “He’s not too bad, for a Republican,” or “If we have to have a Republican governor, it might as well be him.” Wow. What a ringing endorsement! Well, guess what? We actually don’t have to have a Republican governor. And there is no reason at all why we should give him a free ride to another term simply because he is the incumbent and he’s “not too bad.” Especially when we have an amazingly well qualified, energetic person like Ben Jealous challenging Hogan’s don’t-rock-the-boat principles -- which are not helping this state.
Jealous has a resume that leaves no room for doubt about his ability to get results. He hit the ground running in college as a grass-roots organizer for the NAACP, who ultimately elected him as their youngest president in 2008. As a reporter and editor, he successfully exposed corruption and championed human rights. He was a Rhodes Scholar, and later served as director at Amnesty International. He is a public servant of the highest order, but he is also an excellent manager. As president of the NAACP, Jealous breathed new life into the organization, nearly doubling its annual revenue in his five-year tenure. At Kapor Capital, he helped dozens of innovative startups thrive, assisting bright new tech entrepreneurs who are dedicated to progressive social change. Clearly, the man knows how to step up to the plate and make things happen.
Meanwhile, Hogan spent the same time period in the private sector as a broker and a land developer, and pursuing political offices as a Republican. He has learned how to play politics well. Some say he is willing to go against his party, but I remember how he went into hiding after Trump’s inauguration, refusing to say a word about Trump’s disastrous cabinet picks or the furious signing of executive orders which were trampling on the rights of our citizens. He refused an invitation to join his Democratic colleagues in speaking out against GOP attempts at dismantling the Affordable Care Act. He refused to ensure adequate funding for public education in Maryland, relinquishing our first-place standing among other states in education. Hogan can’t afford to lose his party’s support, and he can’t lose his financial backing, so he is willing to let important decisions be made and for people to suffer while he calculates his next move. That is his modus operandi, keeping self-interest at the top of his agenda. We deserve better.
We know Ben Jealous has the experience and expertise to make Maryland a place where all can thrive, not just those who sit at the top of the economic food chain. The only thing Jealous hasn’t got that Hogan has is political purse strings. That’s why you see all the “Hogan/Rutherford” lawn signs and TV ads. Do you want to reward Hogan for spending millions on his campaign for more of the same? We have a golden opportunity here, to revitalize our state, to make it truly representative of all its people, to see it led with passion and pursuing justice with vigor. That opportunity is Ben Jealous.
Linda Neuman serves as an adjunct faculty member at Anne Arundel Community College and the Community College of Baltimore County.