State Senator Bryan Simonaire recently hosted Bridgette Van Valkenburgh from Chesapeake Bay Middle School, Josalin Courtney from George Fox Middle School and Regan Gardner from Marley Middle School, all winners of the “Senator for a Day” essay contest. Students were challenged to write an essay about proposed legislation they found interesting, or about what they would do if they were to be a senator for a day.
Simonaire opened the contest to all four middle schools in District 31: Brooklyn Park, Chesapeake Bay, George Fox and Marley. He selected one winner from each school.
The students’ essays targeted big issues facing Maryland: helping the environment, with harsher penalties for companies actively polluting while offering incentives for companies to go green; addressing the opioid epidemic; and conservation of Maryland’s oyster and crab populations.
As a member of the Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee, Simonaire plays an active role in the legislature with matters affecting the environment.
He was thoroughly impressed, not only with the students’ essays but also with their interest in the legislature and knowledge about current events impacting Maryland.
Bridgette, Josalin and Regan all toured buildings in the legislative complex, were seated on the Senate floor during session, and briefly attended the Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee bill hearings.
Simonaire started this essay contest several years ago as a way to encourage local students to play an active role in government, and he believes that goal is being accomplished.
“I was so impressed with these students and their grasp of the legislative process,” Simonaire said. “Maryland has a bright future as evidenced by these knowledgeable and passionate students.”