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Shown at his swearing in on Jan. 6, Attorney General Brian Frosh was back in the State House as 'a spectator' on the first day of the legislative session.

Frosh sworn in as attorney general

First Democratic AG to serve under Republican governor since 2007

Brian E. Frosh, a self-described proud Democrat, spent his first moments as attorney general saying he looks forward to working with incoming Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican whose underdog campaign focused in large part on running against the Democratic establishment in Annapolis.

“He’s my client and we will work well together,” Frosh said at a news conference Tuesday afternoon, shortly after being sworn in as Maryland’s 46th attorney general. “We might not always agree but I am confident we can work together.”

The two men have met for lunch but “didn’t really talk about specific matters,” Frosh said. The meal, at which both had Caesar salad, was “a getting-to-know-you session,” he added.

Frosh and Hogan, who will be sworn in Jan. 21, disagree primarily on gun safety and environmental legislation.

Hogan did not attend Tuesday’s ceremony, but praised Frosh in an email from his spokeswoman.

“Gov.-elect Hogan and the attorney general are lifelong Marylanders who ran true grassroots campaigns to change Maryland for the better, and they share the belief that bipartisan cooperation is the only way to make it happen,” the email from Erin Montgomery said. “Gov.-elect Hogan looks forward to working with Mr. Frosh.”

Frosh’s news conference followed an inaugural speech that he acknowledged was short on specifics and long on the promises he made while during his successful come-from-behind Democratic primary campaign against outgoing Del. Jon S. Cardin, nephew of the popular Maryland U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin. That campaign focused on public safety, environmental stewardship and consumer protection.

Frosh, 68, said in his inaugural that the attorney general’s office will “be a force for fairness, equality and justice.”

He praised the strong support his predecessor, former Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler, who was in attendance, gave to same-sex marriage through speeches and advisory opinions. Frosh also lauded outgoing Gov. Martin O’Malley’s efforts to improve public safety.

But Frosh added that more needs to be done.

“Too many families live in neighborhoods that are wracked by crime,” Frosh said. “People are still judged by the color of their skin.”

O’Malley administered the oath of office to Frosh at the lectern of the standing-room-only House of Delegates chamber. Seated in the front row was Frosh’s mother, Judy, who was celebrating her 94th birthday.

The heads of all three branches of Maryland government were at the event, including O’Malley; Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, D-Calvert and Prince George’s; House Speaker Michael E. Busch, D-Anne Arundel; and Court of Appeals Chief Judge Mary Ellen Barbera.

Frosh was preceded at the lectern by former Maryland Attorney General Stephen H. Sachs, who served as a co-chair of his transition team.

Sachs advised Frosh to always be willing to provide legal advice to the state agencies, for which he now serves as counsel.

“A good lawyer, after all, keeps his clients out of trouble,” said Sachs, who served as attorney general from1979 to 1987.

Frosh, in his inaugural speech, stated his goal as attorney general.

“I hope to use the law to… empower the lives of Marylanders,” he said.

Guns, environment

As a senator, Frosh was chief sponsor of the 2013 Maryland Firearm Safety Act, which bans assault-style weapons and requires purchasers of new handguns to have a license.

Hogan, , has criticized the Firearm Safety Act as too restrictive on the constitutional rights of Marylanders to keep and bear arms. U.S. District Judge Catherine C. Blake last year upheld the assault-style weapons ban as a constitutional restriction on gun possession to achieve the state’s compelling goal of public safety. Frosh has vowed to defend that decision, which is on appeal to the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Frosh has also pledged to enforce vigorously Maryland’s environmental laws and regulations. The governor-elect also said Maryland’s environmental laws must be balanced against the need for Maryland to encourage businesses to stay in or move to the state.