As the final days of his tenure tick down, Gov. Larry Hogan bid farewell Tuesday night to the millions of Marylanders he governed for the past eight years.
“Serving you has been the honor of a lifetime,” Hogan said in a video address, filmed in the State House’s Old Senate Chamber. “Together, we truly have changed Maryland for the better.”
Then the Republican governor went to a ceremonial room upstairs and unveiled his official portrait. Hogan made brief remarks to the crowd of staffers, family and admirers who gathered for the private reception, offering gratitude for their support. “I didn’t get emotional on TV, but I’m getting emotional here,” he said, choking up.
Hogan will be in office for a little more than one more week. Next Wednesday he’ll be succeeded by a Democrat, Wes Moore, who will be sworn into office at noon.
In his farewell remarks, Hogan encouraged Marylanders to wish Moore and the incoming lieutenant governor, Aruna Miller, “much continued success in the years ahead.”
“With this peaceful transition, we prove once again — here in this hallowed place — that our nation’s founding principles still prevail,” Hogan said.
Hogan chose the Old Senate Chamber as the venue for his speech for its profound significance in American history. It was in that chamber that then-General George Washington resigned his commission from the military, leading the way to establishing civilian rule in the fledgling nation. The chamber was also where the Treaty of Paris was ratified in 1784, formally ending the Revolutionary War.
Hogan quoted Washington’s farewell address, when he cautioned against unchecked partisanship that would foster “a spirit of revenge.” Hogan used that quote to underscore his belief that the nation’s politics are too divided, and recalled that he promised on his inauguration day to avoid wedge issues.
“We can’t let fringes and factions get in the way of getting things done and solving the serious problems,” the governor said.
Hogan also gave a recap of what he sees as his successes in two terms as governor, including eliminating “job-killing regulations,” achieving some tax relief, supporting environmental programs and funding public schools.
He also recalled dealing with “unforeseen challenges,” including unrest in Baltimore in 2015 following the death of Freddie Gray, a young man who died from injuries sustained in police custody, as well as the coronavirus pandemic.
“These past eight years have been a time of great accomplishment for our state,” the governor said. “To put it simply: We did exactly what we said we would do, and I can honestly say that I finish my second term with no regrets.”
While he doesn’t have regrets, Hogan said there is still work to do to “get the most violent criminals off the streets” in Baltimore and for “more accountability in the local school systems.”
“I call on leaders in both political parties to heed the will of the overwhelming majority of Marylanders and take urgent action to address these challenges,” he said.
After making what’s expected to be his final public remarks, Hogan unveiled his official portrait in the Governor’s Reception Room on the second floor of the State House.
Painted by Edgewater-based artist Cedric Egeli and paid for with private funds, the portrait depicts Hogan standing in the governor’s mansion in front of a set of Palladian windows, with the State House dome behind him. He’s the first governor to have the State House dome depicted in his portrait.
Wearing a suit and holding his glasses, Hogan has a slight smile on his face. Hogan joked that although he wasn’t allowed to pose with his purple surfboard — a symbol of the bipartisan support he rode to reelection victory — he did wear a purple tie for the portrait.
Several dozen relatives, friends and current and former staffers watched as Hogan, Egeli and a few of the governor’s grandchildren pulled down a gold drape to reveal the painting.
“Every Maryland governor, since 1634, has had a portrait painted,” Hogan said. “It is very humbling, and truly an honor to have the opportunity to take part in this centuries-old tradition.”
Portraits of recent governors ring the reception room, which is used for meetings of the Board of Public Works, press conferences, bill signing ceremonies and private meetings of the governor and his staff.
For now, Hogan’s portrait will be placed at one end of the room next to fellow Republican Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., who served from 2003-2007. Still missing is a portrait of Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley, who was in office from 2007-2015 — after Ehrlich and before Hogan.
O’Malley’s portrait has been painted, but is not yet in the state’s possession, according to Elaine Rice Bachmann, the state archivist.
With Hogan’s portrait going up, that meant there’s no more room for the portrait of Gov. J. Millard Tawes, a Democrat who served from 1959 to 1967.
Once O’Malley’s portrait is hung, the next governor to be moved out of the reception room is Gov. Spiro Agnew, a Republican in office from 1967-1969, who later went on to become U.S. vice president, only to resign amid a corruption investigation.
Egeli said he was honored to paint the portrait of Hogan, whom he described as “a great man” the nation needs right now.
“I hope I can paint Larry Hogan’s portrait again when he is in the White House,” Egeli said to cheers and applause.