Minnick to retire from House
Wednesday, 28 August 2013 13:04

Announcement marks end of long political presence for family

by Bill Gates

There has been a Minnick representing the Dundalk area in Annapolis for all but nine years since 1966.
    That era will come to an end in 2014 after Del. Joseph “Sonny” Minnick announced his intention to not seek re-election on Monday.
    “After 23 years, I think it’s time for me to step down, let someone else do the job,” Minnick said. “Maybe someone younger, with different ideas.”
    Minnick was first selected to the House of Delegates in 1988 to replace Robert Staab, who had resigned to take a position with Baltimore County Recreation and Parks.
    He lost his first re-election attempt in 1990 by six votes, but won election in 1994.
    He has served ever since, being re-elected in 1998, 2002, 2006 and 2010.
    “I’m proud of what I’ve done,” he said. “I’ve always  championed veteran’s causes.
    “I’ve helped vote down a lot of bad legislation, and I’ve voted against what I thought was bad legislation.”
    Sonny’s older brother, Daniel Minnick Jr., was elected to the House of Delegates in 1966 and served until 1982.
    Daniel left office after being appointed assistant secretary of the Maryland Department of Licensing and Regulation by then-Gov. Harry Hughes.
    And there are no other family members to pick up the torch.
    “This will end the Minnick era in Annapolis,” Sonny said.
    His only son, Christopher, lives in New York, “and I really doubt he’ll ever want to return to Maryland and run for office,” Sonny said.
    Minnick has been a member of the Economic Matters committee since 1999 and a member of the Joint Committee on Workers’ Compensation Benefit and Insurance Oversight since 2003.
    He served as the Deputy Majority Whip from 1995 to 1998, and was chairman of the Baltimore County House Delegation from 1995 to 2006.
    He celebrated his 80th birthday earlier this year.
    “I’ve still got plenty to do with myself right now,” he  said. “My wife keeps me busy.”
    In addition to his son, Minnick has two daughters — Danielle and Barbara — who live in Virginia.
    He has six grandchildren, four in Virginia and two in New York.
    “Six grandchildren I don’t see enough of,” he said. “Hopefully, I’ll get to see them more often now.
    “I also have golf to keep me busy.”
    Minnick hopes to use his last legislation session to get a bill passed he has been working on for 14 years: exempting the pensions of retired veterans from being taxed by the state.
    “It’s about time we gave our veterans a break; we shouldn’t tax their retirement income,” Minnick said. “I look forward to getting that bill passed in my last session.”
    The bill has repeatedly failed to get out of the Economic Matters Committee due to opposition from chairwoman Del. Sheila Hixson (Montgomery County).
    “I’ve asked her to let the bill get to the House floor for a vote,” Minnick said. “There’s a lot of support on the floor of the House.
    “Let the governor make the decision. If he doesn’t like it, he can veto it. But let him make the decision, not us here in the committee.”
    Minnick was also part of the memorable 2001-02 battle against then-Gov. Parris Glendening’s legislative redistricting proposal.
    The map, as initially approved, would have carved up Dundalk-Edgemere among four separate districts, with the local portion being a minority in each district.
    It would have made it very unlikely that Greater Dundalk would have any local representatives in Annapolis.
    Minnick, along with then-delegates Jake Mohorovic and John Arnick and Sen. Norman R. Stone, filed lawsuits against the new map, which was eventually overturned by a court.
    “It was a team effort, not just me,” Minnick said. “All three of us led the charge in the House.
    “We were very proud of that. Overturning a new legislative districts map doesn’t happen that often.”
    With Del. John Olszewski Jr. having announced he will be running for the state Senate, Del. Michael Weir Jr. is the only incumbent seeking re-election in the 6th District in 2014.
    Only one challenger, Eric Washington, has announced his intent to run in the Democratic House primary. Six Republicans have declared their candidacies.
    Minnick had no opinion on whether or not his announcement will inspire others to enter the race for the Democratic nominations.
    “Who will take my place? I have no idea,” he said.