Heritage sat down with former Maryland Governor Bob Ehrlich (R) earlier this month to discuss some of the issues he’s focused on since leaving the governor’s mansion in 2006, and his advice for conservative reforms going forward.

Ehrlich addressed what has become his cause célèbre in recent years: the clemency process. “It gives governors and presidents great power,” he said, “but there’s no great cry from the populace. You get no credit from the left or right when you do it, but it’s the right thing to do.”

With immigration reform potentially on docket for the 113th Congress, Erhlich also addressed the immigration issue. He vetoed a version of the DREAM Act early in his tenure.

“We need a Reaganesque conclusion to this very bitter and divisive episode,” Ehrlich said of the immigration debate. “Conservatives need to play here,” he added, citing worrying demographic trends that show Hispanic Americans shunning conservative candidates for office.

While he insisted that the immigration solution needs to be federal, Ehrlich also stressed that the wealth of conservative reformers on the state level present opportunities.

“With 30 Republican governors and states really being the laboratories of policy growth,” he added, “we have an opportunity to really [have an] impact.”