Outgoing Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) said managing the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2015 riots in Baltimore and his cancer diagnosis were the greatest challenges he faced during his time as governor.
Hogan met with the Washington, D.C.-based Fox affiliate FOX 5 for an interview to reflect on his time as governor as his second term comes to an end, saying the pandemic was probably the “toughest” challenge he faced.
But he said handling the violence that occurred in Baltimore following the killing of Freddie Gray and his battle with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma were also difficult.
“We had all these plans and things we were going to focus on, turning the economy around, getting Maryland to be more competitive, and we focused on that, but 89 days after being governor, we had the worst violence in 47 years break out in our largest city,” he said.
Hogan sent in 4,000 members of the National Guard and 1,000 police officers to maintain order in Baltimore after the 25-year-old Gray died in police custody as a result of spinal and neck injuries he sustained while being transported in a police van. He later fell into a coma.
The medical examiner ruled Gray’s death a homicide.
The protests initially were overwhelmingly peaceful but turned violent, leading to rioting, looting and damage to the city. A state of emergency was declared and eventually lifted after more than a week.
Hogan said he had only been governor for five months when he was diagnosed with cancer.
“It was pretty bad. This hit me from out of the blue, but I had 40 or 50 tumors all over my body,” he said. “It was about as far as you could get without it being a very difficult situation at stage 4.”
He said he did five or six months of off-and-on chemotherapy, and he kept working through it. He was eventually considered free of the cancer after undergoing the treatment.
Hogan will leave office later this month after two terms as one of the most popular governors in the country, especially as a Republican leading a reliably blue state.
He said he is satisfied with what he accomplished as governor and “left it all on the field.”
“It’s not like we solved every single problem that was out there, but I feel a sense of satisfaction that we actually got a lot of things done that we said we were going to do,” he said.
Democrat Wes Moore will take over the governor’s mansion on Jan. 18.