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State GOP lawmakers call for Reagan Day

February 01, 2011|By ANDREW SCHOTZ | andrews@herald-mail.com
  • Shank
Shank

Two Washington County delegation Republicans are trying to get Maryland to declare "Ronald Reagan Day," part of a national movement to honor the 40th president.

Sunday is the 100th anniversary of Reagan's birth. He died in 2004.

A bill introduced in the Maryland General Assembly would make Feb. 6 Ronald Reagan Day. It wouldn't be an official state holiday, but citizens would observe the day "in a proper manner."

Del. Michael J. Hough, R-Frederick/Washington, filed the bill in the House and Sen. Christopher B. Shank, R-Washington, filed it in the Senate.

Hough said Reagan's accomplishments as president, leading to the end of the Cold War, were remarkable.

Shank called Reagan a strong, fiscally conservative leader who succeeded domestically and internationally — "a beacon of hope in troubled times."

The text of the bill reads that Reagan "worked in a bipartisan manner to enact his bold agenda of restoring accountability and common sense to government, which led to an unprecedented economic expansion and opportunity for millions of Americans."

It praises his commitment to the military and his role in toppling the Soviet Union.

Washington County Republicans Neil C. Parrott and Andrew A. Serafini are among the House co-sponsors.

Hough said he was contacted by the Ronald Reagan Legacy Project, an initiative of Americans for Tax Reform, a nonprofit lobbying organization.

According to a news release posted by the group on Tuesday, 21 out of the 50 governors, including Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, have promised to issue proclamations for Reagan so far this year.

West Virginia is on the list but Pennsylvania is not.

Late Tuesday afternoon, Shaun Adamec, a spokesman for O'Malley, couldn't confirm that the governor planned to issue a Ronald Reagan Day proclamation.

Last year, 27 governors issued proclamations, according to  Nathan Pick, the executive director of the Ronald Reagan Legacy Project.

If O'Malley issues a proclamation declaring Feb. 6 Ronald Reagan Day, the bill pending in the General Assembly essentially would be moot. But Pick said that having the legislature pass a bill in addition to the governor's proclamation would strengthen the message.

In 2008, as a state senator representing Frederick and Washington counties, Republican Alex X. Mooney co-sponsored a bill with the same goal of honoring Reagan. The bill failed in the Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee.

Mooney, who lost his seat to Democrat Ronald N. Young in November, said he was given a roughly life-size statue of Reagan by someone who appreciated that he co-sponsored the bill.

Mooney kept the Reagan statue in his Senate office, then took it with him to the Maryland Republican Party headquarters, also in Annapolis, when he became chairman.

The Maryland Republican Party is holding a "100th birthday ball" to honor Reagan on Saturday in Ellicott City, Md.

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