Robert R. Neall
|Secretary of the Maryland Department of Health|
February 2, 2018 – December 1, 2020
(Acting, January 9 to February 2, 2018)
|Preceded by||Dennis Schrader (acting)|
|Succeeded by||Dennis Schrader (acting)|
|Member of the Maryland Senate|
from the 33rd district
December 1996 – January 8, 2003
|County Executive of Anne Arundel County|
|Preceded by||O. James Lighthizer|
|Succeeded by||John G. Gary|
|Minority Leader, Maryland House of Delegates|
|Minority Whip, Maryland House of Delegates|
|Member of the Maryland House of Delegates|
from the 33rd district
|Born||June 26, 1948|
|Political party||Republican (1972–1999; 2014–present)|
|Democratic (before 1972; 1999–2014)|
|Children||4 children; 10 grandchildren|
|Education||Anne Arundel County Public Schools |
U.S. Naval Academy Preparatory School, 1967
U.S. Military Academy, 1968–69
Anne Arundel Community College, A.A., 1971
University of Maryland, B.A., 1972
University of Baltimore School of Law, 1973–74.
|Years of service||1967–68|
Robert R. Neall (born June 26, 1948) is an American politician and Republican in Maryland who has served as state health secretary, state senator, state delegate and county executive of Anne Arundel County.
Originally a Democrat, Neall switched parties in 1972 to become a Republican. Neall was a member of the Maryland House of Delegates from 1975 to 1987, serving as the Minority Whip, 1978–83 and the Minority Leader, 1983–87. He was the Republican nominee for the United States Congress in the 4th District in 1986, losing to Tom McMillen in an extremely close election by 428 votes. He was elected County Executive of Anne Arundel County, Maryland from 1990 to 1994.
After his term ended, Neall was appointed by the Anne Arundel County Republican Central Committee to fill a vacancy as state senator from the 33rd District after the death of John A. Cade. Neall was a member of the Budget and Taxation Committee. Neall was also a member of the Thornton Commission, which developed a plan for distributing money to the state's needier school districts in Baltimore City and Prince George's County and, after legislative compromise, Montgomery County.
In 1999, although the 33rd legislative District is one of Maryland's most conservative with 6,700 more registered Republicans than Democrats, Neall switched parties on ideological grounds and became a Democrat. In a letter to Richard D. Bennett, the state GOP chairman and later U.S. District Court Judge, Neall said, "While I have from time to time felt uncomfortable and unwelcome in the Republican Party, (my) feelings have clearly worsened in recent years" because of the changing nature of the party.
In 2003, Baltimore City schools' chief executive, Bonnie S. Copeland requested that Neall help solve a severe budget deficit. To qualify for a $42 million loan from the state, Gov. Bob Ehrlich requested that Neall draft a plan for fiscal and management accountability. Neall's financial rescue plan was rejected by the Baltimore City School Board, sending the system into crisis as it headed towards insolvency. Neall then created controversy with his abrupt resignation on the day that he delivered his report.
Neall rejoined the Republican Party in 2014. In November 2014, then Governor-elect Larry Hogan appointed Neall to his transition team as a special advisor on fiscal policy. Neall was appointed to the University System of Maryland's Board of Regents effective July 1, 2015. He replaced Tom McMillen who defeated Neall for Congress in 1986. In May 2016, Governor Hogan appointed Neall as a senior administration advisor to head an effort to reorganize state government to run more efficiently. On December 21, 2017, Governor Hogan appointed Neall as Secretary of the Maryland Department of Health effective January 9, 2018. In November 2020, he announced his retirement, effective December 1, saying, "These last three years, though trying, have been very rewarding and I simply do not have the strength and vitality to continue. You have to know when to say when."
- "Robert R. Neall, Secretary of Health". Maryland Manual On-Line. Maryland State Archives. December 2, 2020. Retrieved December 3, 2020.
- Blok, Katherine (November 12, 1999). "Neall Defects from GOP". Capital News Service.
- Dresser, Michael (November 13, 1999). "Robert Neall makes switch; Veteran legislator says going Democrat was personal decision". The Baltimore Sun. ProQuest 406449965.
- Sabar, Ariel (November 6, 2002). "Greenip defeats Neall, wins Senate seat". The Baltimore Sun. Archived from the original on June 20, 2021.
- Bowie, Liz (February 10, 2004). "Schools head for layoffs, pay cuts". The Baltimore Sun. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016.
- White, Tanika (February 24, 2004). "Neall resigns; school rescue in jeopardy". The Baltimore Sun. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016.
- Penn, Ivan (February 24, 2004). "Annapolis respects Neall on difficult fiscal matters: Lawmakers shake heads after he quits schools post". The Baltimore Sun. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016.
- Dresser, Michael (December 21, 2017). "Gov. Hogan appoints Robert Neall as health secretary, makes Schrader chief operating officer". The Baltimore Sun. Archived from the original on November 8, 2021. Retrieved July 4, 2023.
- Erin, Cox (November 12, 2014). "Hogan names Robert Neall to transition team". The Baltimore Sun. Archived from the original on January 28, 2015. Retrieved December 22, 2017.
- Erin, Cox (December 10, 2014). "Echoing his Ehrlich years, Hogan names key staffers". The Baltimore Sun. Archived from the original on December 16, 2014. Retrieved December 22, 2017.
- Barker, Jeff (March 16, 2015). "Former Rep. Tom McMillen replaced as Maryland regent". The Baltimore Sun. Archived from the original on April 23, 2015. Retrieved December 22, 2017.
- Wood, Pamela (May 10, 2016). "Hogan appoints Robert Neall to recommend reorganization of Maryland government". The Baltimore Sun. Archived from the original on May 11, 2016. Retrieved December 22, 2017.
- "Hogan names new health secretary: Robert Neall". The Star Democrat. Easton, Maryland. Associated Press. December 21, 2017. Archived from the original on December 22, 2017. Retrieved December 22, 2017.
- Wood, Pamela (November 10, 2020). "Maryland's health secretary to retire Dec. 1". The Baltimore Sun. Archived from the original on June 14, 2023. Retrieved December 3, 2020.
- Gaskill, Hannah (November 18, 2020). "Health Department Officials Warn Against COVID-Fatigue, Urge Marylanders to Continue Masking and Distancing". Maryland Matters. Retrieved December 3, 2020.
- "Robert R. Neall". Archives of Maryland (Biographical Series). Maryland State Archives. March 22, 2004.