Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan officially running for re-election

- Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan has filed for re-election as he is trying to become the first Republican governor to be re-elected in the state since the 1950s.

This comes as a new Goucher Poll shows Hogan having a 61 percent approval rating among Maryland residents surveyed.

Following the death of a Prince George’s County police officer and the arrests of two St. Mary’s County high school students for threatening to bring firearms to school. FOX 5 asked where the governor stands on gun control. He said he is pushing for stricter mandatory sentences for gun crimes. He is also looking at other restrictions.

"Finding a way for a universal background check nationally is something I think we should be able to find common ground on,” Hogan said. “Finding a way to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill and people with a criminal background should be a no-brainer."

The governor said he is demanding to have an inspector general for Prince George’s County Public Schools. Hogan said he still has questions about the grade-fixing scandal and he believes the county’s school board and the school district should not be investigating themselves.

"We put a lot of money from the state into these local school systems, but we have no control over it,” said Hogan. “We want to make sure that kids are not being cheated, that improprieties are not taking place and they are not breaking the law.”

Hogan said he already has a better working relationship with new Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam compared to his predecessor Terry McAuliffe. He said he and Northam expect to make progress on improving both Metro and the American Legion Bridge.

As for his plans to expand Interstate 270 and Interstate 495, Hogan takes issue with some Democrats who have been criticizing the plan.

"The proposal that you are talking about will be the largest private partnership on transportation in the world,” said Hogan. “To fix the traffic on [Interstate] 270 and 495, I can’t for the life of me understand how any politician in Montgomery County cannot want to do something about the traffic on 270 and 495.”

Hogan is a Republican governor in a Democratic state. He has had a better than expected relationship with Democrats who control the General Assembly – even in this election year. But even with a 61 percent approval rating heading into his re-election campaign, he said he is not taking anything for granted.

"I’m happy,” he said. “It is rewarding to know that a majority of people are happy with the job our administration is doing. I don’t really care about popularity or those kinds of things. It doesn’t really matter to me. But the fact that people approve of what we are doing, that matters.”

The governor had several spots of skin cancer removed several weeks ago. Hogan said he has gotten a clean bill of health following the treatment.

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