ANNAPOLIS - Change Maryland, the state's largest and fastest-growing, independent, nonpartisan grassroots movement, has surged to 50,000 members, from every single county and jurisdiction in Maryland. Founded in 2011 by successful business leader and former Maryland Cabinet Secretary Larry Hogan, the organization's primary mission is to increase the state's economic performance and job growth. The group has built a dominating presence on social media with more people engaged online than the Maryland Democratic Party, the Maryland Republican Party and all of the potential statewide candidates of either party, added together. Change Maryland's Facebook page has a total weekly reach of over 341,153 people. No other citizen group in the state has ever accomplished what Change Maryland has, in just over two years.
Nearly half the organization's members are Democrats and Independents. "The only way to bring about real change in Maryland is to build a coalition of Republicans, Independents, and fiscally conservative and moderate Democrats to work together. That is exactly what Change Maryland has been doing so effectively. We are uniting people of all parties to work together to bring reform, fiscal responsibility, and common-sense to Annapolis. This isn't just another fight between Democrats and Republicans, it's more important than that. This is a fight for Maryland's economic future, and it's a fight worth fighting!", Hogan said.
Change Maryland gained national prominence with the production of numerous economic studies that have shown the impact of 40 consecutive O'Malley-Brown tax increases, that take an additional $3.1 billion annually out of the pockets of struggling Maryland families and small businesses. The group has highlighted the fact that Maryland is no longer competitive with other states in the region, that we have lost 6,500 businesses and that our unemployment rate has nearly doubled under the O'Malley-Brown Administration. A well-publicized taxpayer migration study by Change Maryland showed that the state had the largest mass exodus of any state in the region and that 31,000 taxpayers have fled the state, taking $1.7 billion per year out of Maryland's economy. Change Maryland hosted an Economic Summit on Improving Maryland's Economic Competitiveness, which brought together economists, think-tanks, Federal, State and local government officials, and over 400 top business leaders, to focus on finding solutions to the state's serious economic problems.
Change Maryland founder and Chairman Larry Hogan is also the founder, President and CEO of the Hogan Companies, leaders in economic development who have brought hundreds of companies and thousands of jobs to Maryland, and have done over $2 billion in business in the state. Hogan left his business for public service as a State Cabinet Secretary from 2003-2007, appointing over 7,000 people to all three branches of state government. In 2010, Hogan was the only serious challenger willing to take on O'Malley, and was considered by many to be the presumed Republican nominee for Governor, until former Governor Bob Ehrlich decided to enter the race. Bob Ehrlich called Hogan one of the only Republicans in the state with a chance to win. Maryland's most powerful Democrat, Steny Hoyer called Hogan the toughest opponent he has ever faced in his entire career.