Maryland Gov.-elect Larry Hogan (R) spent about an hour at the State House in Annapolis on Thursday, meeting with House Speaker Michael E. Busch (D-Anne Arundel) for the first time since last week’s election.
Busch told reporters that the private session touched on several issues, including the state budget and health care, but was mostly about building a positive working relationship.
“We understand there will be some philosophical differences, but as long as we can keep the lines of communication open, hopefully we can find common ground,” Busch said.
Hogan brought no staff into the meeting, which took place in Busch’s office, just outside the House chamber. Busch was accompanied by his chief of staff.
Hogan, who slipped out of the State House without being noticed by reporters, reached out in a similar fashion Wednesday to Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D). The two men had breakfast at Rips Country Inn in Bowie.
Hogan characterized that meeting as “very productive” later Tuesday but did not elaborate, while Miller declined to comment.
The meetings come as Hogan transitions to power in a state where Democrats dominate both chambers of the legislature.
Busch said he and Hogan, who takes office Jan. 21, talked about the challenge of filling top administration positions, including the state’s health secretary, who oversees “a massive organization” and has responsibility for implementing the Affordable Care Act.
While they talked about looming state budget shortfalls, Hogan did not share any specific plans related to taxes and spending, Busch said.
Busch praised Hogan’s early choices for his transition team, including Robert A. Neall, a former Democratic lawmaker who is overseeing budget issues for Hogan.
“Bobby understands government and the legislative process as well as anybody,” Busch said. “I think he was smart to go out and attract somebody like Bobby.”
Busch also said Hogan made a solid pick by naming James T. Brady as a leader of his transition team. Brady served as a Cabinet secretary under former governor Parris N. Glendening and helped lead the transition of the state’s last Republican governor, Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.