Lieutenant Governor Boyd Rutherford Address WHS Students About His Role In Government
by Eikaiva Boyer
Starting his campaign in January 2015, Lieutenant Governor Boyd Rutherford was asked by his close friend Larry Hogan to be his Lieutenant Governor in Hogan’s campaign for Governor. During the running of their campaign, Hogan and Rutherford worked together efficiently to earn the right to represent all Maryland constituents. “Some people may find this boring, but I enjoyed doing the campaign. I had never thought about running for office. I felt it’s something I could offer, so when I did, I enjoyed it.” Rutherford said. Hogan and Rutherford work very well together, “He sets the direction, and I execute it.”
“We saw room for improvement in the state, so we wanted to run it more effectively. For example, using the state’s money more effectively, and instituting better customer service (Customer Service Project).” Rutherford believes that all Maryland citizens should be treated as a customer. “We should be courteous and responsive. We should be delivering the services of what you need.”
“We saw growth opportunities in the transportation of commerce, clean environment, protection, and the educational process.” And Rutherford and Hogan did just that. They now have reached record funding for K-12 education and community colleges around Maryland. “There are still things that we can do,” added Rutherford. Although, Rutherford adds that they have more access to data than they’ve ever known, it’s just the utilization of using that data to help the citizens of Maryland.
For example, a rather large topic in the chat between Rutherford and the students of Walkersville High School was the crucial problem Maryland is currently having with heroin. He mentioned he wanted to put in a step by step process of letting Maryland know that heroin is a big issue. Initially, he wants to increase the awareness, for example, how damaging it can be. Rutherford also wants to put more money into treatment for addicts, and adding additional sanctions. Rutherford also mentioned creating some kind of public service announcement to help the issue. “Putting these steps in place will help save lives.”
Hogan and Rutherford both led a Republican based campaign, “It was an interesting process being in a predominantly Democratic house; we choose our fights. There are times where we knew we were not going to get through, but we at least wanted to educate the General Assembly. There are areas where we work together.”
For the rest of the time, Rutherford talked about different topics the students brought into conversation.
TOPIC: 18 or 21 on Alcohol Restrictions
“I think there’s still a challenge with drinking and driving. I would be hesitant on rolling it back to 18.”
TOPIC: Rutherford’s Law School Experience
Rutherford believes going through the process of law school did not affect his beliefs, but he mentioned he saw what worked and what didn’t. “I learned if we’ve been trying that solution for 30, 40 years, let’s think of another solution.
TOPIC: Medical Marijuana
Rutherford agrees that medical marijuana is a pain reliever, but “Some things are going to work for some people, and some aren’t going to work for some people.”
TOPIC: Climate Change
“First I think the state of Maryland needs to stop raiding the Chesapeake trust fund. I also think we need to support oyster sanctuaries. We need to have a balance between agricultural water men on the Eastern shore, and farmers so they can grow crops as [well].”
TOPIC: One of Rutherford’s First Acts
One of Rutherford’s first acts was for helping the citizens of Maryland find jobs, (called the Marylanders Act). This also gave additional support for retirees.
“Part of the problem is the Baltimore education system and its poor management skills. It’s also that your support system starts at home, and a lot of these homes are poor. The rather large question for solving this issue is ‘How do you address multi-generational poverty?’” Although, he believes in individuals who create their own businesses. “They’re opening opportunities and helping with jobs.”
The controversial topic with Russia came up as well. Rutherford discussed with the students about securing our voting. He mentioned that France was one of the first countries to make their voting system more secure. “Russia wanted to get information on both the Democratic nominee and the Republican nominee (2016 presidential election), but they could only access Hillary’s. They wanted to use the information against her when she became president. We should’ve anticipated getting our system hacked.”
“He didn’t really bring in people who understood government.”
TOPIC: What He Enjoys Most About Being Lieutenant Governor
“I enjoy going out and speaking to groups of students who ask questions.” He also enjoys meeting people.
TOPIC: That A-Ha Moment
Rutherford never actually had that “a-ha” moment for wanting to be a lieutenant governor. “When [Hogan] asked me, it was a long shot. No one believed we could win. We had a chance. You don’t get a hit unless you step up to the plate.” Rutherford remembers a moment shared between him and Hogan before the election, but during the campaign, “It was three weeks before the election. We looked at each other and said ‘We’re [going to] win this thing.’”
Coming into office, Rutherford was shared a statistic that made him work even harder. “It was 48% of Maryland residents said they would move out of Maryland if they could. It was really a depressed state.” Through Rutherford’s time in office, him and Hogan follow by one moral Rutherford established before they were elected, “I don’t want to be a potted plant. I don’t just want to sit around and wait until [the governor] dies. I want to have a set profile.”
Senior Austin Lajoie, an active member in the crowd stated “[Rutherford’s] diction was pretty frank. It was more genuine and refreshing to see these individuals as actually people, rather than just their degrees [and position].”