Dan Cox

Dan Cox, a state delegate representing Frederick and Carroll counties, is running for Maryland governor in 2022. He is a strong supporter of former President Donald Trump.

CAMBRIDGE — Dan Cox, a pro-Trump Republican running for Maryland governor, kicked off his 2022 in Cambridge at Governor’s Hall at Sailwinds Park on Thursday, Aug. 5. Cox is in the GOP primary to succeed term-limited Gov. Larry Hogan (a Republican Trump critic) along with Maryland Commerce Secretary Kelly Schulz and Robin Ficker. Former Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele, an MSNBC analyst and Trump foe, could also get into the GOP primary.

The Democratic field includes several contenders including former U.S. Education Secretary John King, former state attorney General Doug Gansler, Maryland State Comptroller Peter Franchot and former Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez.

Cox is a state lawmaker from Frederick, with close ties to the Shore, and hopes to tap into conservative populist sentiments against coronavirus mandates and critical race theory. The latter entails putting an academic and contemporary focus on race, racism and the mistreatment of minorities and indigenous persons which is strongly opposed by conservatives.

Other items on Cox’s radar include state benefits, second amendment rights, and mask and vaccine mandates. “State employee and retiree prescription coverage must be reinstated,” Cox said, “and I will, via executive order or other lawful means on day one if elected.”

Cox is also recognized as having been a leader on his judiciary committee and as GOP caucus chair defending second amendment rights. “I believe in shall issue and constitutional carry and introduced a bill to repeal the Red Flag law on due process grounds,” Cox said in an interview with Dorchester Star editor Hannah Combs. “We are avid hunters and my son won a national championship last year for high school trap shooting and we are going again this summer. I believe strongly that improving education should include no indoctrination in CRT antiAmerican ideology and should instead have pro-American and 2A classes for all.”

During the height of the pandemic Cox fought to reopen businesses, winning temporary restraining order (TRO) to reopen restaurants in Anne Arundel county, alongside co-counsel Ed Hartman, representing Titan Hospitality and Bella Napoli vs. the county.

Cox, who was raised on a farm, said he is also an advocate for ag education and the environment, and has been vocal in his support of the Eastern Shore delegation’s oyster fishing proposals which were, “more inclusive of areas that are historic fishing and far better for the waters and oyster beds because the waterman know how to ensure the beds they fish stay healthy.” Cox said he has also spoken out on Baltimore City’s dumping of millions of gallons of sewage into the Bay. “It is both dangerous and illegal yet they seem to get away with it. While the heavy hand of the Maryland Department of the Environment harms Eastern Shore counties and towns,” Cox said.

Cox has a history with Dorchester County and the MDE. When Town Council President in Secretary, Cox said MDE tried to mandate both a new well and new town Sewer system that would raise taxes and costs a million dollars. “We saved the taxpayer money and solved both problems by getting a less expensive permit for a second well close to first one and lining our effluent drainage pipes reducing influx by 100% and expanding capacity to avoid having to spend additional money for a new sewer plant,” he said.

Regarding concerns over the Bay Bridge crossing and the influx of traffic during summer on the Shore, Cox said he dislikes the overcrowded Bridge and road problems on the Shore each beach year, and is open to getting this traffic issue reduced as however the Shore believes best.

He is also concerned about renewed COVID mask mandates and vaccine requirements with public health officials citing worries about the Delta variant and slowed demand for vaccinations. The University of System of Maryland — which includes the University of Maryland, University of Maryland Eastern Shore, and Salisbury University — along with big corporations including Walmart — who are requiring workers and students to get vaccines.

“I am seriously concerned about our loss of civil liberties with the ongoing mandates. The ongoing scare tactics by government and money-making contract holders are abhorrent,” Cox said. “Employees do not have to reveal their private health information in order to keep their jobs and the overreaching demands for them, as well as for university students.To do so is a violation of their health privacy and right to work and obtain their degree without harassment.”

A federal court in Indiana turned down a challenge to public universities in that state requiring students and staff get COVID vaccines. Cox wants employers to pullback on COVID vaccine requirements.

“Even Nancy Pelosi has publicly stated at a press conference that the government may not mandate this vaccine. So no employer needs to be intimidated into treading into the personal privacy rights of its employees to mandate something that not even the government may mandate,” Cox said.

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