PJ Hogan Takes the Plunge
It's official. State Sen. Patrick J. "PJ" Hogan, a Montgomery Republican turned Democrat, is resigning to take a $175,000 a year job as the chief lobbyist for the state's university system.
Hogan said today he expects to start his new job in a month. The post previously was held by Joe Bryce, now a top aide to Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) but it was vacant for the past year.
"It will give me an opportunity to work on the state level and federal level for a university system that I think is fantastic," Hogan said.
The system also is facing a range of challenges, including a chronic funding crunch. O'Malley's recent round of budget cuts to help plug a $1.5 billion state budget gap are likely to affect the university system, which includes 11 universities and two research centers.
Once Hogan's resignation from the state Senate is official, the governor and members of the Montgomery Democratic central committee will pick a sucessor.
Hogan, 44, is a former aide to then-Rep. Connie Morella (R), who represented Montgomery County before her defeat in 2002 by Democrat Chris Van Hollen. Hogan switched to the Democratic Party in 2000 after saying the GOP's conservative wing had made him feel like a "pariah." His northern Montgomery district includes Montgomery Village, parts of Germantown, North Potomac and Darnestown.
Hogan spent 13 years in the state Senate, the last seven as a Democrat. He was among several who had hoped to succeed Senate President Mike G.V. Miller (D-Calvert). But when Miller began waffling about plans to step down, Hogan said he decided it wouldn't be worth the wait.
He's also said the money and tuition aid the job offers for his two children, who are a few years away from attending college, were attractive. When he wasn't in the Senate, he tried to make a go of a web designing business with mixed success, he said.
Hogan served as vice-chairman of the Budget and Taxation Committee, and chaired the committee with jurisidiction over education. He also chaired a state commission this year whose assignment was to find new ways to buttress funding for the state's public universities and colleges.
MoCo exec Isiah Leggett (D) said he would miss Hogan's expertise on fiscal matters. "These are big shoes to fill," Leggett said.
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