Annapolis, MD – With a background in small business, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan is not your usual career politician. Fed up with high taxes, politics as usual, and decades of a one-party monopoly, he started Change Maryland, the largest non-partisan grassroots citizen organization in state history. In 2014, outnumbered in party registration by more than 2-1, and outspent by more than 5-1, Hogan pulled off the biggest upset in America to become only the second Republican Governor elected in Maryland in 50 years.
Five years down the road, India America Today (IAT) reached out to Christina Poy, one of the top Asian American officials in the Governor’s office, to update our readers on the tireless efforts of Governor Hogan to take Maryland to greater heights. Poy is the Administrative Director, Governor’s Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs, Governor’s Commission on South Asian American Affairs and Governor’s Office of Community Initiatives.
IAT: Having seen Governor Hogan active nowadays especially in the perspective of his fight with cancer beginning in his first year in office, we would like to know: How is he feeling right now?
Poy: As you know, Governor Hogan was diagnosed with an aggressive Stage III non-hodgkin’s Lymphoma shortly after taking office in 2015. However, he stayed strong and determined and announced in November 2015 that he was officially 100 percent cancer-free and in complete remission. It was on October 3, 2016, when the Governor completed his final maintenance chemotherapy treatment and said he never could have made it to that point without the amazing support of those around him. He also vowed to never stop fighting until a cure is discovered. This is one of the most inspirational stories I have ever heard. Governor Hogan, his family, and the citizens of Maryland bonded together to support him in his recovery. Despite this incredible challenge, he held meetings and brought work to the hospital. He was determined to be there for Marylanders.
IAT: There is a long list of achievements including nonpartisan redistricting legislation which put an end to gerrymandering. As Governor he has set the bar high for nonpartisan solutions that benefit Marylanders. Can you elaborate on that?
Poy: Our Governor Hogan told Marylanders that we (his administration) kept the promise to put problem-solving ahead of partisanship and compromise ahead of conflict … we didn’t demand Republican solutions or Democratic solutions; we sought out bipartisan, commonsense solutions that worked for the people of Maryland.
On gerrymandering, Governor Larry Hogan has said that Maryland’s actions should serve as an example to the rest of the nation that, when both sides of the aisle and all levels of government come together, we can develop common sense, bipartisan solutions to the serious problems that face us. The people of Maryland and the federal courts agree that the time for Maryland to act is now to finally restore balance and fairness to our elections, to once and for all remove the politics and the politicians from the process of drawing their own districts.
IAT: The Governor promised to work with the legislature to lower health premium rates, while voicing strong support for the protection of pre-existing conditions. What is the progress on that?
Poy: Congress has repeatedly failed to take appropriate action, so the Hogan administration and legislative leaders joined together to protect Marylanders from skyrocketing rates and the possibility of a collapse. This year, both the Maryland Model and Maryland Reinsurance Program were signed into law and approved by the federal government. With the innovative new State Reinsurance Program, the health insurance market in Maryland is changing for the better and becoming more affordable for Maryland families.
IAT: With the immigration system, a long standing sore policy point – what are the thoughts for moving forward?
Poy: Our Governor has said that in Washington DC, Congress, and the administration must step up and work together to fix our broken system. Immigration enforcement efforts should focus on criminals, not separating innocent children from their families.
IAT: With many US states looking for trade relations with other countries, does Maryland plan to work on the subject with India and individual Indian states?
Poy: The State of Maryland is open for all businesses from across the country and globe. India has been a great partner for our state and Indian Americans, including those who originally came from India, have been taking an important role in connecting our state to future partners in their motherland through their strong linguistic and cultural ties. We truly appreciate this community and their contributions to our state. The Governor’s Office on Community Initiatives, the Maryland Department of Commerce, and the Office of the Secretary of State closely coordinate to continue and advance the state’s relationship with India and Indian Americans through cultural and business-related initiatives.
IAT: Thank you for your time Director Poy.