Hogan tours school, Chesapeake Shipbuilding


An upbeat Gov. Larry Hogan was greeted at North Salisbury Elementary School Monday morning by cheering, applauding children arranged in a semi-circle, waving Maryland flags and eager to see him.

Casual in khaki pants and a purple plaid shirt, the governor beamed as he walked through the front door and began shaking hands with each of them. “What a welcome. Wow. This is cool,” the governor said as he made his way around. “How are you? It’s good to see you guys. I love the Maryland flags,” he said.

In the auditorium, once everybody was seated, Dr. Renee Hall, principal, gave a formal welcome.

“They say it takes a village to raise a child and that is very true in this room today,” she said, introducing Hogan’s wife, Yumi, and dignitaries including Sen. Jim Mathias, Delegates Carl Anderton and Chris Adams, County Executive Bob Culver, Wicomico County Council President John Cannon and members of the Wicomico County Board of Education.

Alison Pulcher, deputy city manager, represented Mayor Jake Day’s office.

North Salisbury String Students played the song Maryland, My Maryland.

Six fifth-grade students who formed Save the Spotted Turtles Group – Morgan Dawson, Kaeli Klos, Isabelle Coffey, Julia Gore, Hunter Liebgold and Jayden Joseph – championed the importance of protecting the semi-aquatic turtle and took turns presenting facts, including the population has been declining and the animal is an indicator of environmental health. The children formed the group under the direction of teacher Jennifer Watson.

Hogan listened intently as the children explained they wrote a letter to Delegate Adams, asking for a law to protect the turtle, then traveled to Annapolis with parents and teachers. They saw Adams’ office and listened to bills being discussed in the State House. When it was their turn, each student had three minutes to testify.

In Annapolis, Hogan presented them with a citation, which now hangs in the school.

Although the bill did not pass, defending it “was an awesome experience,” one student said.

“We might have a future Secretary of the Environment or Natural Resources on stage,” Hogan said.

“I am really impressed with this effort. These kids came to Annapolis and answered all the questions they were asked and they were so well prepared. The bill didn’t pass but maybe next time we can get it passed,” he said to hearty applause.

“We really appreciate you bringing attention to this issue, Spotted Turtles, that maybe a lot of people don’t know about. After today they will.  We’re going to put this all over Facebook and maybe 1 million people will see this,” Hogan told the children.

Education, he said, “has been our top priority.”

This year, his budget included $25 billion for kindergarten through 12th grade education.

“We’re also spending $4 billion to protect the bay. It is now the cleanest it’s been in a quarter century,” Hogan said.

The children gave the governor and first lady yellow pins with a drawing of the Spotted Turtle and the words Proud Supporter of the Spotted Turtles.

Later, Hogan told news reporters education is “critically important” and he wants to see some of the best schools in the country in Wicomico County.

“We still want to do better. We want our schools to be safer. We want a mental health counselor,” Hogan said.

Also Monday, Hogan visited Chesapeake Shipbuilding, where he met with Charles Robertson, president of the company. Chesapeake Shipbuilding filed a Notice of Intent to participate in the governor’s More Jobs for Marylanders program, which “incentivizes manufacturers to create jobs in the areas of the state that need them the most,” according to a news release from the governor’s office.

“Wicomico County was recently elevated to a Tier I County thanks to the administration’s initiative to expand the program during the 2018 legislative session,” the news release stated.

Hogan returned to Ocean City Tuesday afternoon, where he has been attending the Maryland Municipal League.

On Tuesday, he was expected to speak at the ribbon cutting for DRY 85 and Red Wine Bar in Ocean City, tour the Maryland Municipal League Summer Conference exhibit hall at the Roland E. Powell Convention Center in the resort, then deliver the keynote speech at the Maryland Municipal League Summer Conference Tuesday evening.

 

Reach Susan Canfora at scanfora@newszap.com.

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