I believe all Delawareans should have access to Health, Safety and Opportunity in their daily lives. As your senator from the fourth district I will fight to uphold these values.
We must commit ourselves to fighting climate change and protecting Delaware’s environment. I fully support Governor Carney’s decision to continue to honor the Paris Accords, but we must go further. I will support legislation to protect our clean water sources and infrastructure, and encourage the development and use of green energy in our state.
District 4 in particular is home to many beautiful natural resources that deserve protection, from Hoopes Reservoir to Brandywine Creek State Park. Additionally, many residents decided to move here decades ago to live next to the green fields of golf courses like Three Little Bakers and Dupont Country Club. I believe these open spaces make up the identity of our district, and I will fight to preserve them for future generations to enjoy.
Opioid addiction is one of the largest public health crises in our state’s history, and we must act vigorously to counteract it. I will only support legislation treating addiction as a disease, not a crime. Our solutions to this problem have to include expanding the treatment options in our state, and continuing to support our first responders on the front lines of combating overdoses with all of the training and resources they need.
I applaud the legislature’s efforts in passing SB 5, which codified Roe v. Wade into Delaware law. In the state senate I will fight to protect reproductive freedoms and affordable access to the many safe birth control methods available today. I will also support efforts to follow the example of our neighbors in New Jersey and pass paid family leave in Delaware.
The problem of violence in our state has many causes, but common sense gun legislation must be part of the solution. Our legislature has already taken steps to make gun ownership safer in Delaware, but we should go further. I will support efforts to ban assault weapons, limit the maximum magazine size available in Delaware, and require a state permit to purchase and own firearms. I applaud the bipartisan effort to ban bump stocks, and trust that amendments will be introduced to address the concerns of current owners of these devices.
Delaware is home to some of the best trained and most well-respected police officers in the country. However there are still structural inequities in the way we approach criminal justice in our state. I support community policing programs which integrate officers into the neighborhoods they protect. I also believe we must once and for all repeal criminal statutes which are applied unequally, including the death penalty, mandatory minimum sentencing, and three-strikes laws. While criminal offenders are in prison we must give them better rehabilitation and job training opportunities so that they can succeed upon reentering society. I support exploring ways we can use restorative justice and trauma-informed practices to cut down on the recidivism rate and bring healing and closure to victims.
Traditional Public Schools
My compassion for each and every one of my students and their families compels me to be a strong voice in support of robust public school funding that includes an array of services to address more than just the students’ academic needs. When public schools are well-funded we can do more than educate children: we can feed them, provide them with physical and psychological wellness services, direct them to programs that can help them purchase eye-glasses, counsel them on their career and higher education options, and provide a safe, quiet place to study that is equipped with the computers and software they need to do their homework and conduct research. Many of our students do not get all this at home. When we provide all these services at school, we increase the chances these students will leave us and become productive citizens.
Charter Schools can provide an important alternative for students whose needs are not met in traditional public schools, and Delaware has some excellent Charter Schools that have become an integral part of their communities. To the extent that Charter Schools are accessible to students of all socio-economic backgrounds, meet the needs of their students, including those with learning differences, and are accountable to the tax-payers who fund them, I support them.
Delaware’s six vocational high schools are exemplary models of how we can prepare young people to enter the workforce with a skill that gives them access to well-paid jobs straight out of high school. Skilled workers are always in demand, and for this reason the Vo-Tech schools in Delaware have forged strong partnerships with businesses that employ their graduates. Vo-tech HS students have the most options upon graduation: they can work in the trade they learned while in school, they can go to college, or they can work and continue their education at the same time. Many of them enter apprenticeship programs where they continue their education and gain invaluable experience under the tutelage of master tradespeople.
The Middle Class
All strong economies have a large, vibrant middle class. Because of their positive impact on middle class families I support the following:
- Progressive taxation
- Affordable health care
- Women's access to reproductive health services
- Well-funded public education
- The right of workers to collectively bargain for fair wages and safe working conditions, and to charge a fee to anyone benefiting from employment contracts that unions have negotiated
I do not support the failed trickle-down economic policies of the past, and will work to make sure the working people of Delaware are not over-burdened by shouldering the bulk of the cost of state programs.
Incentivizing large companies to come to Delaware through “corporate welfare” is less than ideal, but carefully drafted legislation could reduce the risk of this practice and increase the reward while keeping us competitive with other markets vying for the same employers. We should only provide incentives in exchange for guaranteed investment in our communities, and if the promised jobs and tax revenue do not materialize, any company receiving incentives should have to pay the state back. We must look at ways to attract and support small and medium-sized businesses rather than overly relying on one or two large employers who harm the community when they close or leave the area.
Small and Medium-Sized Businesses
Recently Delaware saw the closures of the General Motors plant in Newport, the Claymont Steel Mill, the Nylon plant in Seaford, and the Chrysler factory in Newark as well as down-sizing at AstraZeneca and DuPont. A vibrant economy consists of a mixture of large, small, and medium-sized businesses that provide stability and a diversified suite of high paying jobs.
In order to provide a thriving economy of the future, I would support innovation and technology start-ups by enabling an environment that provides access to early-stage capital and business leadership skills to grow and retain their businesses within Delaware.
Fostering a Business-friendly Environment
We must improve living and working conditions in our city center so that businesses want to locate here. Reducing crime, improving infrastructure, and restoring blighted areas will attract employers. . Revitalizing abandoned sites, improving our infrastructure, and increasing workforce development so we are prepared for the 21st Century economy will give Delaware families access to quality, good-paying jobs.
Marrying Job Creation with Environmental Protection
We need to create jobs and invest in our public infrastructure in new ways. Performance contracting should be used to improve energy efficiency in our public buildings, especially our aging schools. Not only will this create jobs for electricians, plumbers, insulators and many other building trades, it will also reduce our carbon footprint and save money. All of this can be done with no upfront cost to our state and local governments -- financing is provided through private sources, and is repaid by dramatically lower utility bills. This is done in many other states and should be used much more widely in Delaware.
Balancing Commerce, Entertainment, and Nature
We can continue to make Wilmington, Delaware a Live-Work-Play community by balancing development with the preservation and restoration of our green spaces and natural habitats, so that our city and its surrounds offer the right mix of commerce, entertainment and nature. I would support legislation that enables development of mixed-use properties to provide accommodation and business offices for Wilmington. I would also support entertainment and restaurant venues that can attract residents and visitors to spend time downtown outside of business hours. We must also cultivate open spaces, preserve parks, and create outdoor recreation opportunities.
The right to vote is the cornerstone of our democracy, but our state lacks fundamental measures that could increase access to the ballot for our citizens. These include making election day a state holiday, no-excuse absentee voting and a 10-day early voting period. We should also encourage turnout and reduce costs by holding our presidential and statewide primaries on the same day.
There should be no discrimination in our state of any kind, on the basis of gender, age, race, religion, citizenship, medical history, or sexual orientation.