ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — As the COVID-19 pandemic ravaged Maryland in 2020, Gov. Larry Hogan was thrust into a storm the likes of which the state has never seen.

WJZ’s Vic Carter sat down with the governor to talk about how he coped with the responsibility of leading the state amid an unprecedented crisis.

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“I’ve had a bunch of challenges during my time as governor, but nothing like 2020, and I think a lot of people out there… will say it’s been the worst year they have had as well,” Hogan said.

WJZ’s Vic Carter: How are you handling this? How are you?

Gov. Larry Hogan: “You know, I think I am handling it pretty well. I can tell you I am in better shape than I was at the beginning of the crisis. We were really overwhelmed, almost no sleep — 20 hour days, 7 days a week — lots of stress, no knowing, making it up from scratch, building entire health infrastructures and worrying about how to keep businesses afloat.”

Gov. Larry Hogan sits down with WJZ’s Vic Carter for an interview at the end of 2020 looking back on the state’s COVID-19 response.

Carter: Tell us, what are some of the bright spots?

Hogan: “Well, I think that now we have the vaccine in production and starting to get distributed, getting it out across the state, it’s a huge bright spot because it shows a light at the end of the tunnel. I think the bright is the way people came together in spite of challenging times. I mean so many people stepped up to donate their time or money or make donations to the food bank and help their neighbors in need. Going through a crisis like this shows the compassion and spirit of the people of Maryland. Our real gratitude goes out to our front line workers, healthcare workers who have just been working around the clock in these challenging times and saving lives. They are incredible. All the people in our state and local health departments, our first responders and our charitable organizations, church groups and community organizations who went above and beyond to be sure we were getting meals out to kids who needed them.”

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Carter: What keeps you able to perform your job the way that you do? Is it faith? Is it the people around you? What is it?

Hogan: “It’s all those things. It’s my faith that has gotten me through a lot of tough crises, including my cancer battle and some of the other challenges we went through. I just believe we are going to get through this together.”

Carter: You’ve also given people an opportunity to do what they have not been able to do before, and that is curse in public, telling them to wear the damn mask! Are you surprised that took off?

Hogan: “I usually try not to curse in public, Vic, but I had a press conference and I was so frustrated that folks would not listen… it just came out. It wasn’t planned. …I had a little Zoom with my cousin and their kids and he is a minister. His little granddaughter called me out for using a bad word on TV so I had to apologize and say ‘I’m sorry, I should wash my mouth out with soap,’ but that’s the only way I could convey the message properly.”

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Hogan has some advice for everyone trying to cope in difficult times. At the end of the day, shut everything down, go for a walk, play with your dogs and find ways to relax our mind and rest.

Vic Carter