THE HILL 06/18/13
By Judy Kurtz
Don’t be surprised if you happen to spot Abraham Lincoln walking the halls of the Capitol on Tuesday.
A former staffer for Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.) will be donning Honest Abe’s signature top hat and beard to teach school kids about the 16th president and how lawmakers manage moolah.
Michael Shank, who works as the director of foreign policy for the Friends Committee on National Legislation, will play presidential host to 40 third graders in the House Budget Committee room Tuesday morning.
The former communications director and senior policy adviser to Honda says he’ll have the kiddos imagine they’re on the Budget Committee and help decide how the federal budget should be spent. Using pennies (which bear the profile of Lincoln, natch) the students from Oyster-Adams Bilingual School will divvy up the federal budget into areas they’d like to fund. The daughter of Honda’s chief of staff attends the Washington school. After the penny pinching is done, Shank plans on showing the group exactly how federal tax dollars are spent.
It’s not the first time Shank will be stepping into the role of the esteemed commander in chief. He used to play the president back in his home state of Ohio, and he also stepped into Lincoln’s shoes for a House Appropriations subcommittee performance for kindergartners back in 2010.
He tells ITK since it’s been a few years since he’s done the Lincoln lesson for the elementary schoolers, he’s always looking for new ways to engage and educate the youngsters: “I have to scratch my Lincolnian beard for more ideas.