Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) said Tuesday that he pitched Maryland as a possible alternative to New York for Amazon’s second headquarters in a recent conversation with leaders at the company and is not giving up on luring the retail giant to the state.
Amazon officials have said they do not intend to reopen a search for a second headquarters but will continue with plans to put at least 25,000 jobs at a new campus in Arlington, Va . (Amazon CEO Jeffrey P. Bezos owns The Washington Post.)
Hogan, who toured an Amazon processing facility at the site of a former steel mill in Baltimore County on Tuesday morning, said he met with leaders at the company about a week ago to tell them: “We are still here, and we are still interested.”
“We’re not giving up,” said Hogan, who said he reached out to Amazon officials the day he heard they might pull out of New York because of local opposition. “I’m never satisfied. I’d like to have 50,000 jobs instead of 5,000.”
He spoke at the 855,000-square-foot packing and shipping facility at Sparrows Point, which opened last year as the third Amazon fulfillment center in the state. The three facilities house 5,500 full-time employees.
Hogan, who is weighing a challenge to President Trump in the 2020 Republican primary, has a background in real estate and has made business development in the state one of his priorities. He said at a roundtable discussion Tuesday afternoon in Prince George’s County that he sees transforming economically depressed areas in the state as a core part of his mission.
“I’m passionate about this,” Hogan said at the forum in New Carrollton, one of 149 federally designated “opportunity zones” where the governor wants to invest state money to bolster development in areas where investors can qualify for capital gains tax breaks.
The once-barren area, now home to a luxury apartment building and swanky new office spaces, is an example of the type of development that could attract residents and businesses that will come with Amazon’s arrival in Arlington, said Prince George’s County Executive Angela D. Alsobrooks (D), who spoke with Hogan at a new Kaiser Permanente office building.
Hogan has repeatedly touted Maryland as a model of bipartisanship, but on Monday he lashed out at the Democratic leaders of the General Assembly, calling their policies “reckless” and saying the legislature was the “most pro-criminal group” he has seen.
On Tuesday, he softened his tone, saying he wants to “end the session in a positive way and find agreement when we can.”
“When we can’t, we’re going to try to push through what we think might be better,” he said.