Friends,

We are facing challenging and uncertain times. Addressing the Coronavirus pandemic is a Herculean task for all of us as we are being asked to make sacrifices in the name of our fellow man, the likes of which have not been seen collectively since World War II. Those in the public arena are called upon to meet those challenges with grace, composure, and selflessness on the highly contentious stage of the upcoming national elections where the media and political opponents wait to seize upon these impossible choices in an effort to reshape the political landscape to their benefit.  Despite the inevitable attacks, public officials must venture into the unknowable where even their most selfless decisions will almost certainly result in loss of life, economic degradation, or a sizable mix of both. 

The fact is, this harrowing pandemic descended upon us with incredible speed.  No president and no governor can come out of these immense challenges unscathed. The best among them will simply try to do the right thing to the best of their ability, based upon the information available, regardless of the political fallout, and unbenefited by hindsight.

I spoke with Governor Hogan last Friday. A latecomer to elected office, he spent most of his life as a small businessman and is perhaps the most pro-business Governor in the country. For the past six years he has championed tax cuts, fiscal responsibility, and minimization of business regulation. Now he finds himself in a nightmare predicament of spending Maryland into debt and imposing business restrictions far greater than any of those he eliminated.  Our Governor looks forward with great anticipation to the day when he can reverse the present restrictions on businesses but the advice he is getting from the Trump Administration, which tells us that 12 Maryland counties around Washington are an emerging epicenter of the epidemic, and his own science advisors from the leading scientists at Johns Hopkins and University of Maryland, who echo the Trump Administration’s recommendations, compel him to move with caution. All of the medical experts advise that prematurely relaxing existing restrictions will reverse in short order all of the hard-won progress made in fighting this disease.

We in Maryland should be proud that in his role as chairman of the National Governors’ Association, our Governor has worked in close collaboration with President Trump’s administration to develop the way forward for our nation and state. Maryland is now developing a plan for reopening business with the safety, health, and best interests of all Marylanders at heart. That plan will be based upon the national guidelines set forth by the president and his advisers, guidelines that call for states to identify two consistent weeks of downward trend in Coronavirus cases before we initiate normalization. Sadly, we are not yet at that point and the immense stresses of continued business closures are becoming extremely difficult to bear.  Increasingly heated public debate reflects that frustration, but the reality of the situation dictates that we continue to make these economic sacrifices in pursuit of the greater good – the well-being of Marylanders and of Americans.

For those who are able to work from home, the stresses are tough yet manageable. But for small business owners and others now facing financial devastation, the stakes have become quite high and the stresses extreme. Many of our fellow Marylanders are angry and fearful for their futures. We need to be understanding of those folks, even as we deal with our own distorted lives. We must all continue to work together and try to remain as respectful as possible. Our nation and our state have faced worse in our long histories and we have always met those challenges with great success. Please, everyone, hang in there, mask up, be respectful of your neighbors, and be thankful for those amazing people on the front line of this battle.
 
Thank you. 
Bob Cassilly 
Senator, District 34