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Isaac - Teen of the Week

Senator's Son works to help Youth
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Gazette - Teen of the Week  (Top)

Senator's son has front row seat on legislature

Reported by the Maryland Gazettte - 02/21/09
Teen of the Week

Isaac Simonaire is no stranger to the Maryland Senate. When his dad, Sen. Bryan Simonaire, was elected in 2006, the then-12-year-old immediately took an interest in state politics. He spent much of his free time in his father's Annapolis office, and even made a point of collecting the signatures of all Maryland state senators as well as Gov. Martin O'Malley's autograph.

"They all know him by name," said Simonaire, R-Pasadena.

So maybe it's no surprise that at 14, Isaac has drafted his first Senate bill to designate October as Young Heroes Commemorative Month in Maryland.

Sponsored by his father and cross-filed in the House by Del. Wendell R. Beitzel, R-Garrett, the bill is up for a Senate vote Tuesday.

"I wanted to do something to help the youth in Maryland," said Isaac, a homeschooled eighth-grader.

Young Heroes Month would serve as an "overarching" recognition of all youth who have contributed something positive to their communities, his father said. That could be raising funds for cancer research, helping the less fortunate or participating in the Special Olympics. The list goes on, he said.

"There is a glaring absence of our young people's accomplishments in Maryland's commemorative statutes," Simonaire said. "So I got really excited about it."

Isaac toyed with the idea of creating a bill that would lower the driving age to 14 in Maryland. His dad gently persuaded him to think of something else.

"I think I'd get a lot of heat for that," Isaac said with a laugh.

The idea of a Young Heroes Month came to him after he learned about American heroes in a history lesson.

"I decided to research young heroes and found that not much is done to recognize them," he said.

There are plenty of young heroes in Anne Arundel County, his father said. He pointed to the group of Boy Scouts from Pasadena that was lauded last summer for rescuing a family stranded in the Shenandoah River in Virginia.

"And that's just one example," Simonaire said.

In testimony earlier this month, Isaac told members of the Senate's Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee that the bill would do more than just honor deserving youth.

"It will motivate other young people to reach out and remind them that they can make a difference, regardless of their age," Isaac testified. "That's why this bill is so important."

It's not just "fluff legislation," his dad said.

If the bill passes, the governor will encourage schools and other organizations to participate in educational activities related to Young Heroes Month.

"I think it's good policy. It will have a positive effect on our state," Simonaire said.

Other lawmakers seem to agree. As a result of Isaac's lobbying efforts, 21 senators agreed to co-sponsor the bill. About 30 delegates on the House side have also signed on as co-sponsors.

The importance of lobbying is probably one of the biggest things his son has learned, Simonaire said. "You have to get the word out. It may be the best bill in the world, but if you don't talk about it, it's not going to go anywhere," Simonaire said.

Marianne Zampardi, a legislative aid in Simonaire's Annapolis office, said she's watched Isaac come out of his shell in the last few years.

Isaac credits his involvement in theater for his sudden gregariousness. He's acted in several Pasadena Theatre Co. productions, and will appear in Catonsville Dinner Theater's rendition of "Seussical the Musical" this spring.

"I think he's going to be somebody to watch. He's absorbing everything like a sponge down here," Zampardi said.

Balt Sun - Last days of Session  (Top)

Still hoping

Reported by the Baltimore Sun - 04/5/09

A 14-year-old kid stood on the state Senate floor one night this week, dressed in a suit and looking like Bryan Simonaire's Mini-Me.

Isaac Simonaire, the state senator's son, had gotten dad to submit a bill to designate October "Young Heroes Month." Trimmed down to "Young Heroes Day," it was up for a vote, The Baltimore Sun's Julie Bykowicz reports.

"What do you think, kiddo, up or down?" Senate President Mike Miller asked. Isaac gave a thumbs-up. Lots of senators clicked the red "no" button to fake him out, but in the end, they all voted green.

Charming Schoolhouse Rock moment for the boy. If only Isaac could win over those meanies in the House, where a committee killed the bill. Sen. Simonaire's office said it is still holding out hope.


Citizens for Bryan Simonaire
Authority: Steve Kirchner - Treasurer

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