Lawrence Hogan Jr. spent his youth immersed in politics, rubbing elbows with future presidents and “hanging out” at Capitol Hill.
He credits a cast of influential role models when he speaks of his life leading up to taking his seat as Maryland’s 62nd governor. He’s especially proud of his work ethic, which he began building at a very young age.
Little Larry Hogan learned about money and how to handle it at just 10 years of age.
Each morning he was up at 6 a.m., dressed, and out riding his Schwinn bicycle through the streets of his Landover, Md., neighborhood — delivering the daily newspaper. It was on this paper route back in 1966 that Hogan learned to collect subscription money, turn it into the newspaper office, and then wait to get paid for his work. And like most 10-year-olds, he spent a good part of his earnings … but Hogan also stocked some away in his savings.
At the time, Hogan couldn’t have realized that his days as a newspaper boy would later serve him as a businessman and politician, like his father, Lawrence Sr. (Maryland Congressman from 1969-1975).
Hogan was like every other young kid in Prince George’s County, playing Little League baseball, football and basketball.
“We were by no means rich; I remember living in a working class home, in a working class neighborhood,” recalled Hogan, now age 58. “I do remember that you better be back in the house by the time the street lights came on, or you could be in trouble!”
...You better be back by the time the street lights came on, or you could be in trouble! Governor Larry Hogan
High school was certainly a time to remember for Hogan. There were great memories, some not so great memories, and others he’ll always cherish.
“Basketball was my favorite sport, and I attended DeMatha Catholic High School in Hyattsville,” Hogan said. “I didn’t make the varsity squad, but I still found a way to be a part of the team, as a student manager.”
DeMatha was – and still is – a high school basketball powerhouse. During Hogan’s days as a Stag (the school’s mascot) in the early 70s, Hall Of Fame Coach Morgan Wootten had assembled one of the top teams in the country. One year in particular featured future NBA players Adrian Dantley, Kenny Carr and Bill Langlow. It was with Dantley that Hogan would develop a special relationship.
“A.D. was such a great guy; he treated teammates like family, and even looked out for me as team manager,” Hogan said. “He never forgot his roots, even when he went on to be a star in the NBA. To this day Adrian Dantley gives back to the community.”
Defining Life Moment
Being the son of an FBI agent, college professor and Maryland congressman did come with a few perks for Hogan, which served him later when he, too, would have political aspirations. He would go with his father on the campaign trail, and spent countless hours on Capitol Hill, learning the ins and outs of politics.
“Imagine being a teenager, and getting to play basketball on Saturday mornings with some of the most influential people in our country at the time, such as the likes of Jack Kemp, and future presidents Gerald Ford and George H. W. Bush. It can only have a positive effect on a person,” Hogan said.
The most defining moment in Hogan’s life came in the spring of 1974. Like most young men his age, he was a high school senior preparing for finals and graduation. But his mind was elsewhere. It was the same year Richard Nixon was fighting to keep his post as the nation’s president amidst the Watergate Scandal. Hogan’s father, Congressman Larry Hogan Sr., who served on the House Judiciary Committee, was the first and only Republican to vote for all three articles of impeachment against Nixon.
Congressman Hogan famously said on national television:
“The thing that’s so appalling to me is that the President, when this whole idea was suggested to him, didn’t, in righteous indignation, rise up and say, ‘Get out of here, you’re in the office of the President of the United States. How can you talk about blackmail and bribery and keeping witnesses silent? This is the Presidency of the United States.’ But my President didn’t do that. He sat there and he worked and worked to try to cover this thing up so it wouldn’t come to light.” (via PBS)
It was the most defining moment of my life. Governor Larry Hogan
Hogan Sr. was heavily criticized for his actions and his self-named son admired his father greatly for taking such a stand for righteousness.
“It was the most defining moment of my life,” Hogan Jr. said. “I saw how my father did the right thing. It wasn’t about politics, or partisanship. It was about making tough decisions and standing up for what you believe is right. I’ve always remembered that, and that’s something I remembered during my campaign as I ran for governor.”
Just a few months later, Hogan would start college 700 miles south of his Landover home at Florida State University in Tallahasee, where he would earn a bachelor’s degree in government and political science.
The Next Chapter
After college, Hogan went to work in real estate, but kept his thumb on the political pulse. He served as a delegate to the 1980 Republican National Convention. The very next year, at age 24, Hogan attempted his first run for political office. He faced off against 11 other candidates in a special election to fill a vacancy in Maryland’s 5th Congressional District left by Gladys Spellman. Coming full circle, it was Spellman who had succeeded Hogan’s father. The younger Hogan finished second in the Republican primary for that congressional seat. Despite the loss, Hogan still remained optimistic about a future in politics.
“No, that didn’t discourage me,” he said. “In fact, it helped me better understand the process, and prepare me for the next time around.”
In what he calls the next chapter of his life, Hogan immersed himself in commercial real estate. In 1985, he started his own business, Hogan Companies, which is still going strong today with more than $2 billion in property transactions since it began.
Even during those years of building his business, Hogan always had in his mind that he wanted to make a difference for the people of Maryland. And in 1992, he found himself the Republican nominee for Maryland’s 5th Congressional District — his father’s old seat again. He knew what he was up against in taking on Democratic incumbent Steny Hoyer. It was in this race that Hogan found out he could be a force to reckon with in Maryland politics, winning four of the five district counties. He would still lose the race to Hoyer, who achieved 55 percent of the vote, to Hogan’s 45 percent, but it was the closest any challenger had ever come to beating Hoyer.
New Artist in the Family
Larry Hogan loves art, and he’s no stranger to museums, galleries and art shows. In 2001, at one particular show in Columbia, Md., Hogan ran into a Korean-American artist named Yumi. The two talked for a while, then soon after began dating. Two years later, he married Yumi, and with the union came three adult children — Kim, Jaymi and Julie.
“It’s the most wonderful experience in my life,” Hogan says about spending time with Yumi and the “wonderful women,” referring to their daughters. “There is nothing like the summer weekends when we go to the house in Edgewater on the creek and spend time with each other boating, fishing, or just relaxing.”
Hogan said what has made his run for governor extra special, is that Yumi, and each of their daughters, have helped along the way. The middle of the three daughters, 34-year-old Jaymi, has even appeared in campaign ads.
“They are all pretty excited about it, and have kept me inspired along this journey to Annapolis,” he said.
That journey to become Maryland’s 62nd governor started in 2011, when Hogan founded an anti-tax organization, named Change Maryland.
“I was seeing our economy was way off track and running in the wrong direction,” he said. “I said, ‘You know, somebody’s got to do something’ about what I thought were failing policies coming from current Gov. Martin O’Malley. So with Change Maryland, I became the leading voice against what I thought was over-taxing and too much spending.”
The Forgotten Eastern Shore
Whether you voted for or against the 58-year old Hogan this past November, what might be comforting to all who live on Delmarva, is that Hogan vows he will not forget the Eastern Shore.
I'm going to make sure the people of the Eastern Shore...are not neglected. Governor Larry Hogan
“So many times, politicians have made promises of what they would do for the Eastern Shore, but never followed through after the election,” he said. “I’m going to make sure the people of the Eastern Shore, the farmers, the waterman … are not neglected. We’re going to make sure their concerns are heard.”
With unemployment rates higher on the Eastern Shore than the rest of the state – and in some cases double – Hogan said he has a plan to get Maryland back on the right financial and environmental track. And the Eastern Shore is a big part of those plans.
Maryland has a long-standing tradition of voting heavily Democratic. In fact, there are twice as many registered Democrats in the state than there are Republicans. In becoming Maryland’s 62nd governor, Hogan joins some elite company. In the last 47 years, there have been only two Republican governors in Maryland. And they’ve spent a grand total of six years in the Governor’s Mansion in Annapolis.
Spiro Agnew spent a short two years there from 1967-69, as he left the governor’s office early to become Nixon’s vice presidential candidate. It would then take another 34 years before another Republican, Bob Ehrlich, would win the seat in 2003.
There have been only five Republican governors in Maryland the last century.
“I am truly humbled and looking forward to serving the citizens of Maryland,” Hogan said, adding it’s not about political party affiliations. “If you look at our campaign, we got Democrats and Independents to crossover. They didn’t care about party affiliation … like me; they just want a better future for Maryland.”
Editor’s note: Larry Hogan was sworn in as Maryland’s 62nd governor on Wednesday, Jan. 21 in Annapolis.
About the Author
Delmarva native Paul Butler co-anchors the 6, 7, and 11 pm news broadcasts on WBOC and the 10 pm news on Fox 21. Butler was previously the sports director of WBOC/FOX 21 before taking a three-year leave of absence from the television world. Before returning home to WBOC in July of 2005, he spent two years as a sports anchor/reporter at WPMI in Mobile, AL, two years as sports director at KTBS 3 in Shreveport, La., and then six years in the heart of NASCAR and ACC Country at FOX 18, WCCB in Charlotte, NC. Paul also did a three-season stint as a sideline reporter for the NFL on FOX. Right out of high school (a Wicomico High School alum), Paul started a 12-year radio career including stops at WKYS– Washington, D.C., WTEM– Washington, OC-104-Ocean City, MD, and WJDY-Salisbury, MD, serving mainly as a radio personality and sports play-by-play announcer. Paul attended the University of Maryland College Park, Mary Washington University, and finally completed his bachelor’s degree in communications at Salisbury University (Class of ’85). In his spare time, Paul mentors school-aged kids and gives inspirational talks to high school and college students. He also mentors up-and-coming TV anchors and reporters or anyone looking to get into the television business. Follow Paul on Twitter @PaulButlerTV.