Maryland State Delegate for
Legislative District 12B
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This week was the first full week of my 20th and last legislative session representing Legislative District 12B, Howard County, in the Maryland House of Delegates in Annapolis. It has been many months since my last e-newsletter in September.
Many of you have told me repeatedly that although you appreciate the public policy information in my newsletters, you must confess that you always begin by scrolling down to read the update on Zach, particularly his tweets.
This message will begin with Zach.
Zach's health began a long steep decline shortly after my last message. I could not find words to write and we were not in legislative session, so I wrote nothing.
On the morning of the second day of this legislative session, my daughter, Chris, phoned me in our room in Annapolis. She said, "I have some very sad news. Zach is not going to make it." She had just received the news from his doctors. That was almost two years precisely since she had phoned me in the same place to tell me that Zach's brain cancer had returned after a seven year respite.
Zach has been steadily declining physically for the past several months. He was admitted to Hopkins for observation last week because through several MRIs the doctors had been previously unable to determine the cause due to extreme swelling in Zach's brain. By some technical means they were able to determine that though there is no tumor, cancer cells had spread throughout his brain.
Hospital personnel from aides to nurses to technicians to doctors created a constant flow in and out of Zach's room wanting another chance to see him. Many of his friends from Centennial High visited him as well, some returning late to colleges around the country from winter break in order to be with Zach. They shared stories of their good times together and laughed. When they asked his mom, Chris, if she could arrange some one on one time for each of them with Zach, Hopkins staff made a conference room on the floor available where about ten of them could sit and wait with Chris while one of them had some time alone with Zach in his room.
One time when they were all together in Zach's hospital room Lloyd and I were blessed to be present to see Zach break into a big smile, his shoulders shaking slightly from a silent laugh brought on by one of the guy’s crazy stories. What a beautiful scene to witness the love emanating from these kids.
Zach returned home last Sunday by ambulance and is being cared for in home hospice. He is resting mostly comfortably. Friends and family visit. Lloyd and I love sitting by his bed and talking to him.
I received a report that last night the coaches from Centennial all visited and recounted stories of Zach. We know that Zach hears this.
Everyone in the family continues to take his or her lead from Zach and his indomitable spirit. His mom, dad John, and sister Julia show such complete and beautiful love, devotion, and courage.
Zach receives numerous messages, both electronic and hand written, recounting how he has inspired the author. Many say they are dedicating their lives to him and that he will continue to live on through the lives of the legions he has inspired. I add my name to that list.
What a blessing to be Zach's Grandma.
Love and Peace.
Unjust Distribution of the Wealth in our State, Nation and the World
The column below by Dan Rodricks of the Baltimore Sun about Pope Francis had such an impact on me that I sent in a letter to the editor which appeared in Monday's edition. Several of you contacted me to say you agreed with the message in my letter.
I find this pope to be possibly the most encouraging human being on the world scene at this time, though I clearly don't agree with some Catholic doctrine. Both Dan's column and my letter appear below.
We will have several and possibly numerous opportunities to address this unjust disparity in the distribution of the wealth during this legislative session including mortgage foreclosures, the minimum wage (see article below) and tax breaks for those at the top of the income and profit range.
Affordable Health Care Act
Before including several articles which I found shed clear light on the unfortunate malfunctioning of Maryland's health benefits website, let me say this. I believe very strongly that time will tell that the current health care reforms at both the national and state level are some of the most important just public policies in my lifetime (and I am now 70 years old.) That said, it is important for discovery of what went wrong in implementation to be done with thoroughness and integrity without regard for political consequences.
The Sun Politics trumped prudence in Md. Obamacare exchange [Editorial]
As in every legislative session, a great deal of time will be devoted to reviewing the governor's proposed budget.
This Baltimore Sun article and editorial give a good preview.
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