Leggett, Hogan Reluctant To Provide New Details on Effort to Woo Amazon

Leggett, Hogan Reluctant To Provide New Details on Effort to Woo Amazon

Governor was in Montgomery County Tuesday to meet with police leaders and discuss gang-related initiatives

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Gov. Larry Hogan, center, with Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett and county police officers including police Chief Tom Manger, far left, at the Public Safety Academy Monday

Andrew Metcalf

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett would not say definitively Tuesday whether they recently toured the county with Amazon officials as the company continues its search for a location for its second headquarters.

On Monday, The Washington Post reported that Amazon officials toured sites in Montgomery County, Northern Virginia and Washington, D.C., last week as part of the company’s process to choose a location. All three jurisdictions are among the 20 finalists that Amazon is considering.

Both Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam and D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser told the paper they dined with Amazon representatives last week; whether Montgomery County and Maryland leaders met with company officials was not mentioned.

On Tuesday, Hogan and Leggett said they were working with Amazon, but declined to elaborate on any meetings they may have had with company officials.

“We don’t want to talk about what discussions we’ve been having,” Hogan said. “We’d rather keep those between us and the people we’re trying to close the deal with.”

 “We’re doing this in a straightforward, professional way,” Leggett added.

County officials have told Bethesda Beat that Montgomery pitched the White Flint area to Amazon, but Leggett has yet to formally confirm that location as the proposed site for the massive, estimated $5 billion headquarters project. The company estimates it will employ 50,000 people at the site it chooses.

The state has pitched a $5 billion tax incentive and transportation improvement package that the General Assembly is reviewing as part of its efforts to bring Amazon to the county.

When Hogan was asked about comments he made in Rockville last month in which he said Amazon plans to choose a location this summer, the governor walked back that timeline.

“I think we’d love to see it still happen in the summer,” Hogan said. “All the proposals and bids are in, but I’m not sure [Amazon is] committed to an exact time frame. They are committed to 2018, which is a long time. But the sooner the better. We don’t mind if they take a few extra months, as long as they decide that Montgomery County is the place to be.”

Hogan was in Montgomery County to tour the county’s new Public Safety Training Academy in Montgomery Village, which opened in 2016. He also received an update behind closed doors from police leaders about how the county is dealing with and preventing gang activity.

Hogan and Leggett then went to Family Services Inc., a social services provider in Gaithersburg, to discuss programs designed to teach people how to resist joining gangs.

Hogan said he believes the county is “doing an excellent job” dealing with gang activity and said the meetings reminded him that there are more facets to the issue than gang-related crime.

“I think sometimes people seem to focus in on the crime aspect because of what we see on the news,” Hogan said. “But there’s a whole another side to it and it’s the services we need to provide such as mental health counseling, addiction services and family support.”

Leggett, a Democrat, and Hogan, a Republican, said they continue to maintain a collaborative relationship, even after Leggett endorsed one of Hogan’s potential Democratic challengers—Prince George’s County Executive Rusher Baker—for governor.

“He’s still my friend,” Hogan said about Leggett. “I know that County Executive Baker was a student of his and colleague as neighboring county executives. That doesn’t change my feelings for him one bit.”

 

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