printed 04/24/2020

Democrat or Republican, you have to hand it to Gov. Larry Hogan for the way he has handled the coronavirus outbreak in this state. An almost accidental governor after winning his first term over weak Democratic competition, Hogan, a Republican, has demonstrated leadership qualities that many voters hoped for, but were unaware of at the time.

Nothing tests the measure of a person more than an extended crisis like the one the country and the state are experiencing, and Hogan has more than measured up. He has confronted problems in a pragmatic, rather than a political, way, as is evidenced by the state’s recent purchase of a half-million coronavirus test kits from South Korea.

From a political perspective, the risk was significant after a Republican Administration said tests were easily obtainable here, and Hogan disagreed publicly by going overseas to get them.

President Trump proved the truth of that risk when he said, following Hogan’s announcement of the purchase, that the governor could have used a little knowledge. Hogan, however, didn’t hit the gas pedal in that discussion and employed his usual matter-of-fact approach in later conversations on the various news shows and in his communications with the president.

Meanwhile, he has made some incredibly difficult decisions that will have a severe impact on the people who have supported him from the beginning.

Friendships, alliances and politics were cast aside as he listened to his public health advisors and then did what he thought was right for the state overall. It takes guts to make calls that profound when you’re aware that you are balancing lives and livelihoods in the process.

Whether people agree with the steps he has taken, never agreed or are reevaluating their own positions, even his critics would concur that he did not hesitate and dealt with this crisis calmly and decisively. That’s what leaders do, and that’s what this governor has become at a time when so much depends on it.

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