As the Anne Arundel County Board of Elections reconfigures local races to match the boundaries of newly drawn legislative maps, Republican District 31 Sen. Bryan Simonaire is running for reelection.
The Pasadena resident will be campaigning in a far different district than the one he has come to know as senator for the past 16 years. Under the new legislative maps approved last month, Simonaire’s district has been shifted west to cover part of Severn and Brooklyn Park has been moved to another district.
Even after four terms in the Maryland Senate, there’s much more work to be done, Simonaire said.
“I think there are a lot of opportunities left on the table,” he said. “Bringing balance back to Annapolis, that will be my primary focus. I’ve seen the far-left progressives take over Annapolis in the last four years and I don’t believe that’s in touch with main Marylanders.”
Simonaire cited examples such as a bill sponsored by Democratic Sen. Pam Beidle aimed at mandating healthier drink options for kids at restaurants. He specifically disagreed with the penalties violators would incur which he deemed too harsh. It was given an unfavorable report by Economic Matters Committee in the house and did not progress to the governor’s desk.
He also mentioned efforts to ensure buildings are built safer for birds.
“Their focus is on the wrong thing,” Simonaire said.
One major issue he thinks Democrats are heading down the wrong direction on is police reform.
“Progressives are really focused on helping the criminal instead of the victim,” he said.
Simonaire said, if reelected, he’ll push for tougher penalties on repeat offenders, offering more tax relief to residents and protecting the environment.
His plan for getting those convicted of violent offenses off the streets involves bringing back Gov. Larry Hogan’s mandatory minimum sentence legislation for repeat violent offenders that failed to pass the legislature this past session. If reelected, Simonaire said he will support a bill next session to require repeat violent offenders to serve mandatory minimum sentences.
“You commit violent offenses more than one time, you’re going to spend a lot of time in jail. That’s just my philosophy,” Simonaire said.
Maryland Policy & Politics
Simonaire is also working on plans to eliminate income taxes for seniors and give tax breaks for the middle class.
“Seniors are leaving Maryland,” Simonaire said. “They’re saying, ‘I’d love to stay here with my family, my grandkids, but I just can’t afford the high taxes.’”
In order to better protect the environment, Simonaire and Del. Sid Saab, a Crownsville Republican, sponsored a bill this year to put a “lockbox” on the Chesapeake Bay Trust Fund to prevent the legislature from using the funds for other purposes, such as putting some of the money into the General Fund or using it for a special fund of the state. The bill did not make it out of committee , but Simonaire said he plans to bring it back again next year.
“We’re making progress on the environment and if we start taking money out of there we won’t be able to continue that, so we want to protect that money,” Simonaire said. “It was designated to help our Chesapeake Bay and it should be protected.”
Simonaire said he is eager to learn his new district and get to know and advocate for those he’ll now be representing.
“I’ll give 110%, no doubt,” he said.