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Who’s Up to What

People on the move in the Maryland General Assembly

Five-term delegate Anthony O’Donnell (R) has his aim set for higher office: Namely the Congressional seat of Steny Hoyer (D).

Lawmaking is not the only thing on the minds of the members of Maryland’s 430th General Assembly. Among local highlights:

Looking for New Jobs

    A trio of local Republicans likes public service so well that this year’s General Assembly could be a distraction to their long-range planning.
    Tony O’Donnell, five-term delegate from southern Calvert and St. Mary’s County, has climbed the ladder of Republican Statehouse politics. From party whip, he’s ascended to minority leader, which is about as high as a Republican can climb in the Democrat-dominated Assembly.
    This year the former nuclear engineer’s Christmas wish list included election to represent Maryland’s Fifth Congressional District. That job has been held for 31 years by Steny Hoyer, a powerful Democrat and minority leader in the U.S. House of Representatives.
    Every two years, Republicans try to topple him. This is the first attempt by O’Donnell, who has a safety net: two more years to his term in the General Assembly.
    O’Donnell says he can do the job of representing Calvert, Charles and parts of Anne Arundel and Prince George’s counties in Congress because he’s in touch with the working people — and values — of Southern Maryland.
    “Citizens agree Congress is not solving our intractable problems. I’m not going to sit by idly this nation be destroyed,” he told Bay Weekly.
    A couple more Republicans are earlier-bird career planners.
    Del. Don Dwyer, R-Glen Burnie, who’s made his reputation working “to keep marriage between a man and a woman as the Creator God intended,” aspires to move up to senator. Dwyer’s working on a four-year promotion plan. He announced his intentions just a day after winning a second term as one of three Republican delegates in District 31. He says he hasn’t changed his mind about trying to change his title.
    “I staked my claim early on,” Dwyer told Bay Weekly. “I’m tired of fighting with Speaker [Michael] Busch. I gave him most of his gray hair. Now it’s time for me to go fight with [Senate president] Miller.”
    Sen. Bryan Simonaire, who Dwyer hopes to succeed, is considering his own career goals, and Pasadena isn’t big enough to hold them. The two-term senator says he’s interested in replacing another Pasadena Republican, John Leopold, at the top of Anne Arundel County government. Simonaire made his exploratory announcement in September, three years before the election.
    Simonaire joins two other Anne Arundel legislators, Delegates Nic Kipke and Steven Schuh, in endorsing Iowa Caucus winner Mitt Romney for the Republican nomination for president. Schuh has formed an exploratory committee on running for the same 2014 job Simonaire wants. Politics makes for all kind of bedfellows.

Community Organizing

    Yes, community organizer is one of Barack Obama’s jobs before moving up to the presidency of the United States. But, you know, “government seems so outrageous and out-of-touch these days.” So Republican Kipke, of Pasadena, has stepped up to teach people to make their voices heard.
    Kipke doesn’t share many opinions with the president. But the second term delegate, a manufacturer’s representative in the civilian world, is proving himself a skilled political organizer. He was the prime Anne Arundel mover behind the successful signature drive to bring Maryland’s Dream Act to a citizen vote in the 2012 election.
    This time around, Kipke is organizing a Citizen Lobbyist Workshop. The Saturday, January 14 workshop includes two half-hour sessions in understanding the legislative process and understanding legislative outcomes — plus light lunch and private tour of the Statehouse and House of Delegates.
    You’ve got to rsvp to go, with priority going to residents of Kipke’s district: 410-841-3421 or [email protected].

Fighting World War III

    Calvert Republican Del. Mark Fisher, beginning his second year on the job, apparently sees his tasks as changing the direction of the whole assembly — lest Democrats lead us into World War III.
    “The folks who control Annapolis often look to Europe as the utopian model for Maryland,” Fisher wrote in his new year’s message. “It’s time they face the facts: Europe is failing and an unhinged Europe resulted in two world wars in the 20th Century.”
    A new direction is, Fisher says “absolutely imperative.”

Keeping Maryland Safe for Democrats

    Have we missed the Democrats? The big two in Anne Arundel and Calvert counties, Sen. President Mike Miller and Speaker of the House Michael Busch, have been busy keeping the state safe for Democrats.
    Every decade’s census changes state election districts at both federal and state levels. The party in power — in Maryland, that’s the Democrats — draws the maps.
    Remapped as districts are, it will be no wonder if more of the people who represent them go looking for other jobs.
    Find your new congressional district at
    Find proposed state electoral districts at
    In Anne Arundel, look more closely at
    In Calvert: