Michael Hough: Fighting the Good Fight in the Maryland Senate
I recently had the opportunity to interview State Senator Michael Hough (R), who is currently serving in his first term as a State Senator representing Frederick and Carroll Counties. Senator Hough volunteered for the Air Force right out of high school, and went on to earn degrees from both the Community College of the Air Force and Towson University. Mr. Hough served in the Maryland House of Delegates prior to being elected to the Maryland State Senate. Senator Hough and his wife have three children.
This interview provided a good opportunity to ask the Senator about the bill that he is sponsoring, known as the Women’s Late-Term Pregnancy Health Act. This legislation would outlaw abortions at or after 20 weeks gestation, with exceptions for medical emergencies. It also carries with it strict penalties for physicians and facilities that would violate the proposed provisions.
RW: The Maryland Pro-Life Alliance recently noted that a pro-life bill last year had only 1 sponsor, but the Women’s Late-Term Pregnancy Health Act has a total of 14 sponsors in the Senate. Why do you believe that Senate Republicans more willing to support pro-life legislation this time around?
MH: My understanding is the bill was pre-filed last year, which meant there was not an opportunity for co-sponsors to sign on.
RW: According to Maryland General Assembly records, this bill was assigned to the Finance Committee. How do you anticipate the bill being received in this committee?
MH: This is the first time I have introduced pro-life legislation in the Senate so I don’t have any preconceived notions.I know in the past, the bill was not given the courtesy of a vote. I at least hope we get an up or down vote in the committee this year.
RW: Sponsoring a pro-life bill in the Maryland Senate is a great—and honorable—undertaking. Looking forward, do you see yourself as being a strong pro-life supporter for your entire Senate tenure?
MH: I believe standing up for pro-life values and the unborn is my most important duty. If our State will not protect the most vulnerable among us than no ones rights are safe.
RW: Do you feel that those Senate Democrats who may be pro-life are ready to vote in favor of this bill? In your opinion, what provisions in this bill would “attract” Senate Democrats to support this legislation?
MH: This bill is only about prohibiting late-term abortion — after five months, after a point where modern science tells us the unborn baby is capable of feeling pain. In addition, many of these abortions occur at a point in a pregnancy when the baby is viable and would be able to survive outside the womb. The bill has exceptions for medical emergencies that effect the health of the mother. The bill will not change Maryland’s law on abortion in the first five months of pregnancy.Given that late-term abortion doctors are flocking to Maryland, I felt we need to take a stand in our state. This bill is commonsense and only stops the horrific practice of late-term abortion.
RW: What can be done by pro-life Marylanders to contribute to the success of this bill?
MH: Contact your delegate and senator and ask them to support Senate Bill 511 by Senator Hough and House Bill 961 by Delegate Barrie Ciliberti.
RW: Let’s move off of the bill for now. You are currently in the first year of your first term as a Senator. You previously served in the House of Delegates. Besides the fact that there are fewer Senators, what do you see so far as the main differences between the House and the Senate?
MH: There are a lot of procedural differences in the two bodies. The Senate allows more debate and there are fewer of us — so it is incumbent on each one of to be prepared on a wide variety of topics every day to ensure bad legislation is not going through the Senate without proper debate.
RW: Governor Hogan has called for a more bi-partisan atmosphere in Annapolis. He has often said that he will seek out the best answer, which may or may not be the republican answer or the democratic answer. As the Senate moves forward in this Session, do you believe that both sides of the aisle are ready to work in a more bi-partisan fashion?
MH: My hope is Democrats will work well with Governor Hogan, but this remains to be seen. We have to work hard to get our message out and ensure the public understands our efforts to get spending under control and cut taxes. This often means directly communicating with the people, as the mainstream media does not give fair treatment to conservatives.
RW: Do you think Larry Hogan’s win against Anthony Brown has created–and will continue to create–a stronger willingness among Marylanders to elect more Republicans to state-wide offices in the future?
MH: We have not done a good job in the past strongly contesting statewide offices like Attorney General and Comptroller. We need to work to build the Republican Team beginning at the local level and working our way up to statewide offices. We have a lot of work to do to pick up seats across the state — 2014 was a good start.
RW: In addition to supporting and sponsoring pro-life legislation, what are some of your other legislative priorities in this Session?
MH: Overall my goals this session are the following:
- Reduce the tax burden
- Eliminate unnecessaryspending
- Enact criminal justice reforms that improve public safety
RW: When and why did you decide to get involved in politics? Did you have a political role model or hero?
MH: My father was not very political, but he loved Ronald Reagan. I became interested in Reagan and to date have read every book I can get my hands on about him. He was a great president and laid out conservatism as commonsense principles that the American people embraced.
I have always been patriotic and wanted to serve our country. I volunteered for the Air Force right after High School and served for four years as Minuteman III Technician. I believe I am continuing my service today as a State Senator.
RW: Sometimes elected officials tend to have at least one specific issue that motivates them throughout the course of their service. If you could pick one issue that feeds your desire to serve as an elected official, what would it be?
MH: I always try to keep my faith as a Christian as my guiding light. To paraphrase St. Paul I hope at the end of my life I can say I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.