Monday, April 12, 2010

Saluting Bill Bronrott

By Aaron Kaufman.

It was with mixed emotions that I read of my dear friend and mentor Bill Bronrott‘s (D-16) decision to resign from the House of Delegates after an amazing 12 year run. Bill has taken a great job at the US Department of Transportation. I am confident through Bill‘s efforts our roads will be safer. However he leaves a huge void because one does not find a legislator of Bill’s caliber and decency everyday.

Countless important laws bear his name. Bill fought for what he believed regardless of the political consequences. He took on a powerful Chairmen and lobbyists in an attempt to increase the state’s alcohol tax and toughen drunk driving laws and vehicle safety. He was not swayed by powerful lobbyists but by the concerns of the people he served. This decision on his part may not have made him a favorite of State Circle insiders but he was beloved by his constituents.

Bill is a true environmental champion but what I will remember most fondly about his time in the legislature was his passionate advocacy for people with disabilities. The Developmental Disabilities community had few better friends in the House of Delegates than Bill Bronrott. As a result of Bill’s tireless advocacy, I believe the momentum has shifted and we will soon overcome the alcohol lobby and their legislative supporters to pass an increase in the state’s alcohol tax.

For the past four years, Bill, Rich Madaleno and I have on worked on a bill to extend the age that the insurance companies must pay for vital therapies for individuals with Autism and Cerebral Palsy. Bill agreed to be the lead sponsor of this legislation for me even though I am not his constituent, because he knew the cause was just. The General Assembly will be losing a principled progressive who ran for office to fight on behalf of those who need an advocate the most. In closing, I thank Bill’s amazing wife Alberta and wonderful stepdaughter Megan for all the sacrifices they made so Bill could make Maryland a better place.

I will greatly miss this mensch (true gentleman) of a man!