Legislative Candidate Interviews

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Delaware State Representative Candidates:

Candidate for 31st District Representative David Anderson

1) What is your position on increasing the minimum wage beyond the increases approved in the last legislative session and why?

“Simply, we have had two increases in the last 4 years, so I do not believe we need any more.  I think these increases will be a disruption to small businesses and to non-profits in particular. I do understand they want to make wages higher to increase the standard of living but I think we need to do that in other ways; for example, by making sure our taxes are in line and that our business environment is good.  We cannot artificially mandate a good business environment.  I would rather create an environment where people can be more prosperous.”  

2) What is your position on “right to work”? Do you believe the state of Delaware would have a competitive advantage if we were a “right to work” state?

“I believe we are at a competitive disadvantage by not being one.  In know it is controversial issue and I respect all points of view.  I am pro-liberty and I believe in the right to associate or not, based on your choice and what benefits you and your family.  Fundamentally I believe a person has the right to work.”  

3) What is your position on predictive scheduling and why?

 “As someone who has to manage labor costs, you have to manage them based on business and the needs you have, and you don’t know that two weeks in advance – sometimes you cannot decide until an hour before who you need.  In short, I think it is absurd.   I am 100% opposed to it.   Do I think a business should try within reason to give a schedule? Yes I do, but do I think it needs to be a matter of law, it is impractical and in some businesses impossible. It could actually destroy businesses like hospitality restaurants, retail and let’s face it that is a lot of our economy.” 

4) Do you support the legalization of marijuana? If yes, what measures would you take to protect businesses? If no, why?

“Yes I do support the legalization of marijuana, again I am pro liberty.  I do not think the state should be in the middle of it.   This is not a hard drug.   I am not for recreational use, but I am not okay with the government being in the middle of the issue.   For businesses, it is their responsibility and their right to set policies to ensure safety in the work environments – you can test for it and have policies for it that the business can enforce.”   

5) Do you support Governor Carney and the Task Force’s Budget Smoothing Plan? And why?

“I support Ken Simpler’s plan that Governor Carney was wise enough to back.  This year they had lots of money, they soaked us from every point.   What did they do with it – they spent it.  The economy works in cycles like everything else does.   It is sometimes slower than others – we have to be prepared for that.   We don’t want to just raise taxes when you need more money.  If you run a deficit in bad times you run a surplus in good times, you have plenty of time to save – kings used to have that philosophy.   We spend when we have more and we wonder why we get into trouble.”

 

Candidate for 28th District Representative William Carson

1) What is your position on increasing the minimum wage beyond the increases approved in the last legislative session and why?

“There is no need to increase the minimum wage for a long time. The last session the minimum wage they wanted was way out of line. They have wanted for a number of years. Some of us were not crazy about that. The 50-cent increase for two years was enough. The economy is going well and starting to build. We do not need to increase it again in the near future.”

2) What is your position on “right to work”? Do you believe the state of Delaware would have a competitive advantage if we were a “right to work” state?

“I do not believe we should be a right to work state. I also do not think there is an advantage to being one.”

3) What is your position on predictive scheduling and why?

“Totally against it. Senator Gerald Hocker, when he was a State Representative, said that the key to Delaware’s economy is small business. I have always agreed with that statement. This would completely damage our businesses. You just can’t pay people for not working. This type of bill just can’t work for the business community.”  

4) Do you support the legalization of marijuana? If yes, what measures would you take to protect businesses? If no, why?

“I have voted no on recreational marijuana. I have voted for medical marijuana and was a sponsor for the Hemp bill. I saw the Hemp as a business bill; it has so many uses. I see recreational marijuana being a very hot topic. I do not think there is any way to determine the vote right now. No one knows what the impact will be. But I think it will be a big issue moving forward.” 

5) Do you support Governor Carney and the Task Force’s Budget Smoothing Plan? And why?

“I am 100% for it. I had previously talked to the Governor and Representative Quinn, as the sponsor, they vetted everything to me and it makes good business sense to do it.”

 

Candidate for 34th District Representative Adewunmi Kuforiji  

1) What is your position on increasing the minimum wage beyond the increases approved in the last legislative session and why?

“Minimum wage is a great conversation to have and I believe we need balance. I think there is an expectation that people can stand up for themselves and they should all be able to take care of sustaining themselves and their basic needs. Again, I think that is what we all expect. To me, the minimum wage conversation should be to get people there so that everyone is a productive member of society. We need to determine what it takes for people to be at that level and not at the poverty level.  We need to determine what that is and work in partnership with businesses to get to that level.”   

2) What is your position on “right to work”? Do you believe the state of Delaware would have a competitive advantage if we were a “right to work” state?

“If I want to be in the union, and I want to get the basic benefits of the union such as collective bargaining than I think I have to pay for it. That is what I see as the issues. I like to be fair and consistent so I believe that if you want the privileges, you need to pay for it. I am opposed to right to work.”   

3) What is your position on predictive scheduling and why?

“That is a difficult issue that is not an easy thing to come to. From what was described, I get the idea of stability for employees, for instance when I had my first job as a casual/seasonal employee for the State, if I worked I got paid but if there was a holiday I did not get paid. Again, I understand the employee need for stability. This is definitely a conversation that needs to be had with the business community. I don’t think legislation should be in place for this type of issue. I don’t see this as being the most beneficial legislation. A discussion with business leaders should take place to try to work out a solution. I believe we should remove obstacles not add to obstacles for businesses.” 

4) Do you support the legalization of marijuana? If yes, what measures would you take to protect businesses? If no, why?

“I don’t smoke. I don’t drink so this does not affect me as a person, but as a candidate I see this as a social issue that from my prospective, I would have to defer to the population to make that decision. I really don’t know, however, I would have to have more information before I can make a real decision. At this moment, I need to figure out where my constituents are on this issue and I would need to do a lot more research. For the businesses, safety and productivity have to be approached and looked at. All factors have to be looked at. All of them.”   

5) Do you support Governor Carney and the Task Force’s Budget Smoothing Plan? And why?

“I am a finance guy so I tend to me much more conservative. My first answer when people at work come to me for money I always tell them think the answer is no. I do believe that this is an interesting concept.  I do not think we should spend everything that comes in. I know we have to spend 98% of what is there. I really feel that we need to manage our expenses. At my job, I work to keep our expenses down and I project revenues at a lower level so we can work within our budget. Any concept that minimizes expenditures I am in support of.”

 

Candidate for 31st District Representative Sean Lynn

1) What is your position on increasing the minimum wage beyond the increases approved in the last legislative session and why?

“Yes, I did not think that the minimum wage increase was sufficient as passed. If you look at Kent County, and the Kent County Comprehensive Land Plan in particular, the average family income is exceedingly low here. Our fastest-growing industry in Kent County is service, and manufacturing represents less than 3% of our industry. As such, we have a huge swath of our population that is dependent upon minimum wage style jobs, and accordingly in order to represent my constituents the city of Dover the average income is about $42,000. Necessary that my constituents have a livable wage. Current is not reflective of that.” 

2) What is your position on “right to work”? Do you believe the state of Delaware would have a competitive advantage if we were a “right to work” state?

“Absolutely not, right to work statutes are being struck down by courts. However, there was a break in that streak with a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling. If you read between the lines, I think you will see that there appears to be a string of anti-union rulings.  Overall, I oppose right to work. I think it is a bad policy. Labor unions are the corner stone of our nation. I will oppose anything that stands in the way of a union’s ability to negotiate for individuals and their right to join a union.”

3) What is your position on predictive scheduling and why?

“I would have to look at the task force report. In candor, I do not recall seeing the draft. I am not conversed enough to really have an opinion one way or the other. When the task force comes across my desk I can form a better opinion.” 

4) Do you support the legalization of marijuana? If yes, what measures would you take to protect businesses? If no, why?

“Yes. So here are my thoughts on the legislation of marijuana: the current state of law after decriminalization is that it is legal to possess 1 ounce of marijuana or less right now. The problem with that is that there is no legal pathway to acquire that ounce or less so one of the problems I raised is that in its current state this Bill is an economic development Bill for drug dealers. On the decriminalization side, the other problem is that there is no way to ensure that the product is not being adulterated in some manner. So, not only is the current law beneficial to drug dealers, which we do not want, but it also presents a major life safety issue in that we can assure that what people are ingesting or breathing is what it is said to be. The other side of this is that marijuana and marijuana crimes has had a substantial and negatively proportionate effect on the minority African American community. You can have people in jail on minor drug offenses that carry the same or equal sentences of a violent crime.  The rationale behind that is that there is a connection between drugs and violent crime. That is a long way of saying that the legalization of marijuana makes sense for a number of reasons: one, it would address the life safety issue; two, it only makes logical sense that if we are going to decriminalize it that we will want to provide people with a legal pathway to acquire it. So that they are not engaged in conspiracy or other crimes related to acquiring it. We want to ensure that the disproportionate effect on the minority community is meliorated by these minor drug offenses. And lastly, I think it is a revenue generator, that is the underpinning of Delaware’s economy. These types of things are the silver bullet type of issues like racinos or escheat or the estate tax that quite frankly with those being so speculative, that we need a money generator like marijuana.  

I think the policies businesses have in place already will be upheld. If you have a no drug policy, it should be upheld. For example, if there is a no alcohol or drug policy at my job than I cannot drink, regardless of the legality of alcohol, so this is already an issue employers are facing. Alcohol is legal but that does not mean I can consume it at work. Similarly, it is the same with marijuana. Frankly people are already doing it. Businesses should have policies in place that should already address it.” 

5) Do you support Governor Carney and the Task Force’s Budget Smoothing Plan? And why?

“No. This is old style balance budget type legislation. I just don’t support it. It is bad policy. It binds the hands of future general assemblies in a negative manner. There is case law about a previous general assembly or municipal legislator about it being precluded from tying the hands of future government bodies. I oppose it.”  

 

Candidate for 34th District Representative William McVay

1) What is your position on increasing the minimum wage beyond the increases approved in the last legislative session and why?

“I am against minimum wage all together. It establishes a price floor that should be set by the market. If I had my say think it should be rolled back.” 

2) What is your position on “right to work”? Do you believe the state of Delaware would have a competitive advantage if we were a “right to work” state?

“Two minds of that. I am okay with the employer deciding if and who they will have as their union. I do not think the business has the right to then tell the employee that they will belong to the union. The employee should be able to make that choice. Also, to tell an employer they can only hire employees who work in the union is not right.”  

3) What is your position on predictive scheduling and why?

“Great idea but you cannot require it, especially in the construction trade.  If it is raining you cannot work. Personally, I have someone who works for a small restaurant and they get a schedule a week ahead. It is inconvenient at times, but you cannot require an employer to be that predictive and incur those types of additional costs. I think employers wants to do it, but that is up to them. I would love to work with a company that could do that, but it is not reality it is just not possible. I am not in favor of them making it a law.”  

4) Do you support the legalization of marijuana? If yes, what measures would you take to protect businesses? If no, why?

“110% in favor. I know there are questions around how to protect business, however, if you think someone is impaired, the way tests are conducted for cannabis will show if they have used cannabis in the last 30 days. But that does not mean they are under the influence right now which means they may not be under the influence on the job. I think we need to be careful about having bad policies to turn cannabis users away from hiring them. For me, it is not an issue of forcing acceptance. It is an issue of not enforcing criminal law. Freedom and responsible use is what I support.”   

5) Do you support Governor Carney and the Task Force’s Budget Smoothing Plan? And why?

“There was a shortfall in the budget last year and everyone panicked and the result to balance the budget was to increase taxes. The budget smoothing plan sounds like a good idea in its concept. I would have to see the detail – the devil is always in the detail. Because I have not read the proposal I am not sure how it would treat legislation that would decrease taxes.”

 

Candidate for 32nd District Representative Cheryl Precourt

1) What is your position on increasing the minimum wage beyond the increases approved in the last legislative session and why?

“I personally believe that businesses should be able to decide what the wage they pay should be. Only they, the business owner, know what the costs are to them. I also believe most small businesses start employees at a higher than minimum wage rate. I am a small business person, and I feel wages need to  be left to the employer. I also do not think we can keep just raising wages – the cost comes out to the  public. Goods will increase in cost. I think employers will provide a decent wage. It is not the state’s job to tell businesses how or what to pay.”  

2) What is your position on “right to work”? Do you believe the state of Delaware would have a competitive advantage if we were a “right to work” state?

“I am for right to work. I believe that every person has the right to work. It has to be the individuals’ choice to work. Work provides training and apprentice opportunities that build our employment base. I believe we should be a right to work state.”   

3) What is your position on predictive scheduling and why?

“I would not support predictive scheduling for reasons that I think are just obvious as a business person. Not in favor of those types of Bills. Always seems so one sided when they write bills like that. That is a definite overreach.”

4) Do you support the legalization of marijuana? If yes, what measures would you take to protect businesses? If no, why?

“As of now, I am open to listen to all points of view. I work in mental health and I am not in favor of legalization of marijuana. We always seem to put the cart before the horse here in Delaware. If legalized there would be no protection for people at work and even on the road. There is no way to gauge the degree of use of marijuana. Again, being in mental health industry I would not support the legalization – not right now. As businesses, I think it would be a real problem. I understand medicinal use, but do not favor recreational use.” 

5) Do you support Governor Carney and the Task Force’s Budget Smoothing Plan? And why?

“I read parts of it but not all of it, but I would support a budget smoothing plan. When watching last year’s deficit and then a windfall comes this year and they just blow through it, that is not good. I am in education and I think education is what the family needs – what our state needs. Trade jobs are booming, and if the State did the right thing with education we could really be ahead. We could spend money wiser. I think when you are in business, you just think that way.”

 

Candidate for 34th District Representative Lyndon Yearick

    

1) What is your position on increasing the minimum wage beyond the increases approved in the last legislative session and why?

“I am against an increase, and I was against the increase that just happened. Also, the way it happened was not right. For a piece of legislation that is this sensitive you have to be able to have public comment.   And with it coming in at the hour it did there was no opportunity for public input and as a result it was a poor transparency of government. I think the market will dictate what businesses should pay. I also think an increase in the minimum wage hurts small businesses, it hurts our tourism businesses and it hurts our agricultural community. This Bill can take away first time jobs.” 

2) What is your position on “right to work”? Do you believe the state of Delaware would have a competitive advantage if we were a “right to work” state?

“Right to Work puts another tool in the tool box if it happens. I think there are 28 or 29 other states that are right to work. This does not mean you cannot have a union; it just means you have a choice.  

In today’s workforce we are already seeing more automation. As we compete we are at a disadvantage.  When recruiters look to expand or bring a business to an area, not being right to work could keep us off the radar. 

I want to be clear, I am not anti-union, I am just pro-individual. When unions were developed they were needed but the work environment has changed. The 21st century work environment is very different from the work environment of the 1930’s and even the 1970’s. I just think employees need to have the choice.” 

3) What is your position on predictive scheduling and why?

“The government should focus on public safety. They need to stay out of the private employment realm. We have to understand that one law or regulation cannot address the needs of all businesses. A piece of legislation like this could make us more uncompetitive. I would be against it.” 

4) Do you support the legalization of marijuana? If yes, what measures would you take to protect businesses? If no, why?

“I am against the legalization of marijuana. I voted no, and I will continue to vote no. Look at Colorado, the numbers do not lie; they have so many more issues than they anticipated: more young users, more car violations, increase in homelessness; and they have seen an increase in the black market. The criminal element is up, not down as expected. I think those costs far out-weigh the benefits. I also think this leaves our businesses wide open to more liability which they do not need. There are too many challenges for businesses. Because there are no tests refined enough to determine when the substance was used last and what amount you have in your system I don’t think it would be good for us to legalize it. 

Many people have brought up a 2016 survey done by University of Delaware. I challenge that they are looking at one survey with 900 registered voters and for that reason I question the validity of the survey. You need to give pros and cons of questions to give any survey validity.” 

5) Do you support Governor Carney and the Task Force’s Budget Smoothing Plan? And why?

“I did and I do. I was disappointed about the process in that the plan never came to the floor for a vote. I think Treasurer Simpler did a great job on this plan. The Governor put his name behind it. To have it defeated by a few individuals was disappointing. In full disclosure, I wish we did not have to have it, but we have proven that we do need a plan. Regarding future generations, this certainly will have an impact on them, however, it is good governance, and it had bi-partisan support.” 

 

Delaware State Senate Candidates:

Candidate for 17th Senate District Justin King

1) What is your position on increasing the minimum wage beyond the increases approved in the last legislative session and why?

“I believe no. Simple facts: farmers such as Papens and Fifers who I have had a great relationship with for years as both Vice Mayor and Mayor of Camden, are hit hard by the minimum wage increase. I talked with them frequently and the increases take away both profit and their ability to be competitive. I understand that Senator Bushweller abstained from voting last year. However, I think in the 17th District, which is my community, farmers and small businesses are majorly impacted by an increase in minimum wage. In our oil business for instance, our profits have decreased and the percentages are dropping, and fuel cost are going up. We cannot pass on that increase to our customers. Many businesses cannot. Minimum wage was really created for college and high school workers; it was not designed to be a livable wage. Once minimum wage increases so do all your other wages. Minimum wage needs to be designed for what it was meant to be; to motivate people to improve their skills and to increase their experience to get better jobs or to move up in the organization they are in. We need to motivate people to better themselves.” 

2) What is your position on “right to work”? Do you believe the state of Delaware would have a competitive advantage if we were a “right to work” state?

“Yes, I cannot say I am against unions, because when I was a police officer I respected their negotiation abilities. I have no disrespect to them. However, I also feel that no one should be held hostage to them.   Seaford was the first one to try it and I give them credit for that. I also have an issue with the prevailing wage rates in our State. The money we pay for some things is not helping us with our state budget.”

3) What is your position on predictive scheduling and why?

“From hearing what you just explained – I would be dead against it. If you look at say a landscaping business, if there is bad weather, they cannot do the work they were scheduled to do that day, so it gets pushed to the next available day, and you may need extra people to get it done. Also, in our world where trucks cannot be on the road when weather is bad, we have to pull them. I cannot predict that – no business person can. Again, I have to say seasonal businesses are my biggest experience to draw from, and to me this bill would be a huge impediment to doing business. I also worry that this type of bill will keep people from wanting to be in business. If they start over-regulating businesses, you take away the motivation to open a business. I believe that the government needs to stay out of the household and out of businesses.”

4) Do you support the legalization of marijuana? If yes, what measures would you take to protect businesses? If no, why?

“I have taken a beating on this since I started to run for office, but I have to stick to my experience. As a police officer I did a lot of work with drug issues. Due to my experience, I see marijuana as a gateway to other drug use. I support medical marijuana, but I have a real problem with recreational marijuana.   Another issue with recreational marijuana is that there is no real field sobriety test for it. You do not get an accurate picture of the level of intoxication with marijuana. People under the influence of alcohol, for example, take a long time for police officers to process. By the time the officer gets all the paper work needed and processed and you get the tests done and the results back, they will more than likely be under the legal limit by then. So, the time that the officer could have been assisting other people in their community they were held up dealing with one person, one issue.    

Some people say this will not affect businesses because it is federal law, however, I feel differently. In my business we have random drug tests. In short, I just think the liability is too big for businesses right now.”  

5) Do you support Governor Carney and the Task Force’s Budget Smoothing Plan? And why?

“Yes, I am in support of it. It is interesting that we are sitting this heavy during an election year. How can we be so much in the black compared to last year? I have heard that a great deal while I am campaigning. In Camden we have a balanced budget and have for 7 years.  We created a rainy day fund for the City. Our goal is to have one year of operation money in the account.  We are almost at 8 months. It has taken us 7 years, but we are doing it. I realize our town budget is much smaller, but a budget is a budget.”

 

Candidate for 17th Senate District Trey Paradee

 

1) What is your position on increasing the minimum wage beyond the increases approved in the last legislative session and why?

“I think the minimum wage issue is settled for the next two years. At least in mind. It is an issue that has been discussed every year and it has taken up a lot of time and space. It has been fought over and over.  I think it is time to let it rest for a few years. We will see what happens with inflation and if we see a need or reason we can have a worthy conversation in a few years.”  

2) What is your position on “right to work”? Do you believe the state of Delaware would have a competitive advantage if we were a “right to work” state?

“If you look at the states that are Right to Work, I don’t think they have the kind of economies we want to emulate. I do not support it. I think workers should have the right to band together for better pay and benefits. We need to be attracting higher paying jobs here in Delaware, and I also feel that Right to Work would depress wages in lower Delaware.” 

3) What is your position on predictive scheduling and why?

“I would not support a Bill like that. Certainly in the restaurant industry alone their business is very unpredictable. Small businesses have enough variables to deal with. I do not see any benefit to this type of Bill.”

4) Do you support the legalization of marijuana? If yes, what measures would you take to protect businesses? If no, why?

“I do support it because I believe it is inevitable. The October 2016 pool shows 61% of people want it. I think people are starting to understand the benefits of medicinal marijuana, and I also believe that it may not be as harmful as we had once thought it to be: reports show it is less harmful than alcohol. I think it could be good for the state because I do believe it will create new jobs, new industries, and I also think the estimates on tax revenue are low. As a parent, I have concerns that we do it right. We have to have policies and regulations that keep it out of the hands of children. And we have questions about how do we handle DUI’s? We have to be able to prosecute. Regarding how it affects businesses – businesses need to continue to implement their own policies and procedures, especially those handling hazardous waste products. Employers need to have the ability to fire employees who are not abiding by the company’s policy. Businesses have to be mindful of safety, not just their products, but also their people. I also believe that if a business has a No Tolerance Policy, they need to be able to enforce it.”  

5) Do you support Governor Carney and the Task Force’s Budget Smoothing Plan? And why?

“I do. I think if you just look at the history of our Delaware budget writing history over the last 30 years you can see the need. In 90’s, when we were flush with cash, the government expanded dramatically with programs, and as we all know once they are in place it is difficult to get rid of them. Our state has shown year to year that we will spend what dollars are available. This year, for example when we saw in early spring that there was more money coming in it was amazing how many groups and organizations came forward. I think we have to do a better job of controlling our spending in times of boom, so we are in a better financial situation when our economy falters again.”

 

Kent County Levy Court Commissioner Candidates: 

Candidate for Kent County Levy Court Commissioner James Callaway

1) What is the single biggest issue facing Kent County?

“Failing infrastructure. In Kent County the largest revenue generators are sewer and waste water treatment. Our systems are of the 70’s vintage. They are failing and they are costing us money with fines from DNREC.  Another issue is we have out grown our infrastructure. If we want good economic growth, we need good infrastructure. Our systems are undersized; for instance in Leipsic the pipe is not big enough to support growth. There are 2.8 miles of forced main under Rt. 13 that is degrading and that actually started back in 2014. An estimate to fix the forced main is $6M. This project runs in front of DSU and it is going to be evasive and costly. Our systems at the waste water treatment plant are redundant. It will continue to grow in cost if we do not get to it soon.” 

2) What do you believe are Kent County’s priorities for economic development, especially now that the Kent Economic Partnership has more funding and new leadership?

“One of the things I have discussed with people while out campaigning is we need to put ourselves in the situation that not every student that leaves high school is bound for college. One thing we need to do is get ourselves back to jobs that people do not need to go to college to be employed. Manufacturing jobs used to be those jobs. Kraft is one company that still has them. We need to keep our young people in the county. We need to bring in businesses that focus less on computer-oriented and more vocationally-oriented. We need more trade-oriented.  There are always demands for trades. Contractors that cannot find help. They are going out of state to find help. We also need to remove roadblocks for small businesses both at the county level and state. We need to look at some of our regulations to see what we can do once a business starts to cut them a break to let them succeed.”  

3) How do you see the County dealing with budget shifts from the state to local budgets?

“First off Kent County has been blessed with a pretty healthy budget. I do see them having to pick up the ball like in the past; they are going to have to do more for example with our EMS and fire companies.  State has looked at different proposals and a good number of them remove funding from their grant in aid programs that help fund these types of services. The county will have to get involved in covering those expenses.  

I also think changes to the budget need to be made. Some of their spending is in a manner that has been development on a risk level, for instance, DE Turf. There have been lots of money laid out, little infrastructure to support it such as hotels, etc. When visitors to the Turf come from NC to play in a tournament then drive to Dover or Lewes for hotels, we could be more accommodating. We run a risk with this venture.  We also have to be aware that Sussex County and Virginia are looking to also build these types of facilities.  We need to be prepared for that competition. As far as funding, we may need to revert some of the monies from our community grants and put those dollars back into infrastructure.”

4) What is your number one project you will be supporting in Kent County during your term as commissioner?

“For me it would be the repair and improvement of infrastructure development. There is some money already in the budget for infrastructure improvements and it has to be done in stages.  Not everything is failing.  We just have to make a plan.”

 

Candidate for Kent County Levy Court Commissioner Jeff Hall   

1) What is the single biggest issue facing Kent County?

“It is economic development. I joined the Coast Guard out of high school because I did not see a lot of opportunity here. I was gone for 15 years and during that time I got to see a lot of places and got to see what they did for economic development. I also worked in D.C. When I retired from my position in D.C., I started working at DTCC. I have seen Sussex and New Castle counties rebound from recession but did not see that in Kent County. It is my number one concern. You have lots of players in the economic development world – you have the state, municipalities and the county. I think we could all be much more effective.”   

2) What do you believe are Kent County’s priorities for economic development, especially now that the Kent Economic Partnership has more funding and new leadership?

“I think the timing is great. I know there is a study that has been done by the Greater Kent Committee. The study has laid out challenges and opportunities as well as the factors leading into that. I think private, public partnerships are the away to go. I always say – business knows business best. I think as a county we need to deliver the infrastructure. Rather that infrastructure be roads or broadband it has to be a part of the business plan. The district I am running in cuts right through Dover. I have heard from people in that district that they do not feel represented. They don’t feel like they are a part of the plan. I know the county meets with municipalities on a quarterly basis; I think we need to take that information being shared and work together to make sure businesses succeed. I heard a story from a business owner about a sink they needed to install. It took months and I really feel that if something that small could not be done quickly what are we doing wrong.”   

3) How do you see the County dealing with budget shifts from the state to local budgets?

“One thing I discovered is that we, as a county, cannot do what I call a home rule – what I mean by that is the county’s budget reacts to the state’s budget. The county finalizes their budget first, then the state finalizes their budget, therefore, they, as a county, have to react to that. Maybe there is no better way, but I would like to explore the possibilities of making a change there. Anticipating what the state may do is very difficult. It just seems like a crazy way to work. You can’t just cut services in half. The process seems, to me, to just put the county in a tough spot. We need to be able to look at big projects to improve businesses to come here, we also need to invest in infrastructure – the question is – do we have the funds to do that? We have to be proactive to show companies we are working toward getting them here – we are working for business. I also have to say that I have a lot of confidence in the staff of Kent County Levy Court. If government is going to get involved they have to be ready to move – they have to act quickly.”     

4) What is your number one project you will be supporting in Kent County during your term as commissioner?

“I think it would be the success of the new KEP. If economic development is our number issue, which I believe it is, the county has made a big investment. Not only in a new director, but a paradigm shift by partnering with the public sector and in this case that is the GKC. The partnership is good and I think it gives a lot of benefit – I also like that it puts business in charge or at least gives them a real voice in the process. I also believe there has to be public accountability. The KEP is new now, and I get that, but we need to start seeing some activity.”

 

Candidate for Kent County Levy Court Commissioner James Hosfelt  

1) What is the single biggest issue facing Kent County?

“We need jobs. We need well-paying jobs. We have to look at retaining the businesses we have now and working to help them expand. We also have to make a plan for what we can do to bring in new and/or different businesses into Kent County. My background is not a business background it is military and law enforcement. I am now in the private sector so I am learning more every day.  When I have questions regarding business issues I reach out to the Kent Economic Partnership for information. I also sit on the CDCC Board as the representative for Kent County. I receive a lot of information from these organizations. I want to be an advocate for residents and the business community especially in regard to the comprehensive land plan. I want to be able to represent and speak for the people of Kent County. We have economic development organizations and I think the job of the commissioners is to support them.” 

2) What do you believe are Kent County’s priorities for economic development, especially now that the Kent Economic Partnership has more funding and new leadership?

“I was a proponent of the change from the beginning. I spoke with those on the KEP Board about what changes needed to be made to move things forward. We absolutely need someone in the economic development position at the county level who can understand what business needs and what the county needs. Those changes have been made. We are moving economic development forward. The nice thing about the county is that we all try to do the right thing for the right reason. We all work for the greater good.” 

3) How do you see the County dealing with budget shifts from the state to local budgets?

“It is tough and frustrating. Last year when I ran in the special election it was very frustrating to me to see that the when the state is having a budget problem they shift the expense. For instance, the funding for the paramedics, and that is fine because we absolutely need those services. Now the state needs to take away some of the regulation and it will work better. I will say we are very fortunate to have the finance team we have in the County. They plan well and I really believe we are doing the right thing. The state does not manage their money appropriately and now they want the county to reassess property to fill the gaps and that will cost the county millions to do. That is an issue; maybe the state should provide some of the funding to do it.”   

4) What is your number one project you will be supporting in Kent County during your term as commissioner?

“I would say the comprehensive land plan is the big project that we need to finalize. My question is, where is the one area where we can put an amazon type business if they want to come in? Do we have the infrastructure to support it? If we are going to support large scale businesses, we have to make sure we have the infrastructure needed to support it and that we have the funding in place.”

 

Candidate for Kent County Levy Court Commissioner Terry Pepper   

1) What is the single biggest issue facing Kent County?

“Right now, we need more commercial development, especially in the Frederica area to support the sports complex. The sports complex is a fabulous facility, however, we need some more rooms to support it. We cannot continue to not have enough rooms for people to stay in; if we continue to have that problem it will affect the complex – people won’t come back. That will also help us create jobs which is another problem we have in Kent County. We need jobs! I have to admit, I am scared to death about what will happen at Dover Downs with the new buy-out. I am just not certain what the plans are.”    

2) What do you believe are Kent County’s priorities for economic development, especially now that the Kent Economic Partnership has more funding and new leadership?

“I am concerned also that we don’t always have a heads-up when businesses are leaving. So I have spoken with Linda Parkowski, the new KEP Director to ask her to be more proactive; to go into the major employers to keep them in the loop and get their input. We started that 8 years ago and it just went by the way side. We need to know how we can help them. We need to have better communication with the KEP Director and the County Administrator. I also want her working with the Chamber to address needs of the businesses and find answers. We need to know what is going on in the outlying areas also – Harrington, Milford, and Smyrna for instance. We have to keep informed of what they are doing. We do meet with them on a quarterly basis and I think with Linda we can be more effective.” 

3) How do you see the County dealing with budget shifts from the state to local budgets?

“That is something that really puts the county at a disadvantage especially when our budget cycles do not align. Our budget starts in April and their new budget is July. They cannot continue to shift things like dog control to the counties. When that happened, we had to do a tax increase to cover that. Same thing happened last year with paramedics. It is a necessary service, and it is costly to maintain. We, at the county level, have to plan for shifts as best we can, but the state needs to do what they have to do and stop pushing things to the municipalities and county. The Delaware Association of Counties has lobbyists that keep us informed and we do lobby against some of the things the state does, but as we all know it is difficult to get ahead of some issues.”    

4) What is your number one project you will be supporting in Kent County during your term as commissioner?

“As the chair of the public safety committee, public safety and the sub-station west of Dover will have my focus for my next term, if elected. These last 4 years, I worked on getting paramedics in the lower part of Kent County. Sussex County paramedics used to cover Kent, but that was difficult. I saw the need and we now have another station for paramedics which is located in the Frederica Fire Hall. We are now focusing on the sub-station development to house paramedics to help us meet the needs of residents in the west area of the county. This all aligns with what I do in my career as the Home Land Security Advisor for State of Delaware.”

 

Delaware State Auditor Candidates:

Candidate for Auditor Kathy McGuiness

1) Why are you running for the office of Auditor?

“I believe the Auditor of Accounts must be more than just someone crunching numbers. For nearly two decades, I have served as a Rehoboth Beach Commissioner. During my tenure, I have worked closely with members of the General Assembly, multiple state Agencies (DelDOT, DNREC, DEDO), and served on the Board of Trustees for Delaware State University. Recently, my oversight of the new Rehoboth City Hall construction project saved taxpayers thousands of dollars. Consistently as a Commissioner, I have fought waste, fraud and abuse and continuously advocate for efficiency, transparency and good government.”  

2) What do you see as the primary role of the Auditor?

“The Auditor must assure taxpayers and elected officials that hard-earned tax dollars are spent as budgeted and money allocated serves its intended purpose. The Auditor sets policy, hires professional staff and contracts for the services of accountants who conduct the audits. Just as the director of a water authority does not need to know how to build a water plant or lay pipes because he or she does not do either, the State Auditor does not personally conduct audits. Each has to set policy, hire the best and the brightest to see that the work is properly done and have a working relationship with the multiple people whose interests are served.”

3) Why are you the best candidate for this office?

“Born and raised in Delaware, I am a six-term elected Rehoboth Beach Commissioner, who has fought for small business growth and worked to improve customer service to make government more efficient. I owned an independent pharmacy and was the founding president of the national award-winning Rehoboth Beach Main Street nonprofit. I am a Certified Fraud Examiner and have the managerial experience to lead the Office. Plus, serving on countless nonprofit boards, committees and commissions including the city Budget and Finance Committee, I know what it means to hold people accountable, create and stick to a budget, and manage people.”

4) What is the biggest issue facing the State of Delaware?
“The State Budget. There are too many variables that affect Delaware’s budget. I will not only combat waste, fraud, and abuse, but also bring a common-sense approach to find missed opportunities and ways our State can operate smarter, more efficiently and more effectively. Using best practices, state of the art technology and accounting techniques to improve efficiency and results, I plan to be on the front lines of State spending issues. This means I will fight for adequate staffing levels for the Auditor’s Office and regularly report about how tax dollars are being spent.”

 

Delaware State Treasurer Candidates:

Candidate for Treasurer Ken Simpler

1) Why are you running for the office of Treasurer?

“Finance matters. The way we govern our finances impacts every Delaware family, business and non-profit. As your State Treasurer, I’ve worked across state government, and across political aisles, with a focus on improving the value of what we get for what we spend. I have seen first-hand that we can fix the systems that we use to plan, prioritize and measure improvement in everything we do in state government — education, healthcare, safety and infrastructure. Getting better at everything without spending more is both fiscally responsible and politically possible. We can do it – together.”

2) What do you see as the primary role of the Treasurer position? 

“Good finance is good government. As the State’s highest-elected financial officer, the Treasurer is uniquely positioned to look after and ensure our long term prosperity as a people. Over the past four years as your Treasurer, I have focused on creating value for Delawareans by fostering financial excellence in all of the State’s fiscal operations. That has meant putting in place the systems that allow us to stretch every dollar to its maximum, while at the same time ensuring practices that guarantee we are not penny-wise and pound foolish.”

3) Why are you the best candidate for this office?

“Our state needs and our citizens deserve a true finance professional managing our finances. In the case of the State Treasurer’s Office, that means having the knowledge, experience and professionalism to oversee the financial operations of a government that spends $10 billion, carries $2 billion in debt, invests $2 billion in taxpayer money and oversees plans with $2 billion of savings. The four years I have served as State Treasurer follow a 20-year career as an investment manager for a $25 billion global investment firm and the CFO of a local property and hotel management company.”

4) What is the biggest issue facing the State of Delaware?

“The biggest challenge and the biggest opportunity for Delaware is to get our state government to focus on creating value for our citizens. We are privileged as Delawareans to spend more on public services per person than all but a handful of other states while having non-Delawareans foot nearly half the bill. That is an incredible deal, but our higher spending is not resulting in superior outcomes in education, healthcare, safety and infrastructure. Improving what we get for what we spend is both fiscally responsible and politically feasible but it requires rethinking and re-engineering our financial systems.”     

 

U.S. Congress Candidates:

Candidate for U.S. Congress Lisa Blunt Rochester

 1) Do you feel the Federal Government should decriminalize marijuana?

“Yes. For businesses and former offenders, low-level drug offenses create life-long barriers to hiring qualified workers and earning a good living. According to the Center for American Progress, barriers to employment caused by drug records cost our economy as much as $87 billion per year. That’s why I’ve introduced the Clean Slate Act, a first-in-the-nation bill to seal the records of nonviolent marijuana offenders who remain crime-free after paying their debts to society. By decriminalizing marijuana and passing legislation like the Clean Slate Act, we can boost our economy, improve our criminal justice system, and create a more just society.”

2) Would you support streamlining and/or expanding the H2B Immigration Program to aid businesses and industries that are in need of more qualified employees than they are otherwise able to find?

“I am supportive of simplifying and expanding the H2B visa process. States like Delaware and Maryland are heavily reliant on these visas, particularly for the seasonal work to support our beach resorts and our seafood industry. Unfortunately, the Trump Administration earlier this year changed the process of how H2B visas are awarded causing a dramatic reduction of these visas. For example, on the Eastern Shore, the changes to the H2B visa program have left about a third of crab-picking jobs unfilled and we are hearing similar stories in our farming communities as well.”

3) Give us your top 3 priorities?

“My top priorities in Congress are strengthening the economy, providing Americans with quality, affordable health care, and creating a more equitable criminal justice system. I’m working hard every day in Congress to ensure our businesses have the resources and environment they need to thrive and our workforce is trained and equipped for the jobs of the future. I’ve co-sponsored bills that will help expand access to affordable, high-quality health care options as well as introduced legislation to ensure low-level drug offenders, who’ve served their time have the opportunity to secure a job, education, and housing.”

4) Do you support increasing the federal minimum wage? If yes, to what pay level and why?

“I support a gradual increase of the federal minimum wage. It has been nearly 10 years since Congress last passed legislation to increase the minimum wage. I am a cosponsor of the Raise the Wage Act. This legislation would gradually raise the minimum wage nationwide from $7.25 an hour to $15.00 an hour phased in over the next seven years. The seven-year time frame gives businesses surety and time to adjust, while ensuring an adequate wage for workers. It is estimated that this would give more than 41 million low-wage workers an increase in wages.”

 

Candidate for U.S. Congress Scott Walker

 

 

1) Do you feel the Federal Government should decriminalize marijuana?

“At this time no, with the proviso that it should be criminal but the fines for possession and sale should be very low – similar to parking ticket level fine. Unclassified misdemeanor. When I read from an expert that it is not dangerous or toxic then I can consider that.”

2) Would you support streamlining &/or expanding the H2B Immigration Program to aid businesses and industries that are in need of more qualified employees than they are otherwise able to find?

“We need to do something. We have a lot of undocumented people here working.  We need to streamline the process because we need to do something. We have jobs that need to be done, but Americans are not healthy enough to do. It is hurting our GOP. Our greatest expansion was when we opened our borders and allowed Europeans to come in to help us build our nation. These workers made us number 1 we could produce work.”

3) As a (new) Congressman/Senator for the State of Delaware give us your top 3 priorities.

“1st is economy – we need jobs, we need business development, we need to improve our standard of living; 2nd health care – we are an unhealthy nation eating bad food not exercising the way we should; we need to educate better, we have a lot of addictions in our nation and we need to address that issue.  3rd Prolife – very strong on this issue. We have contraception before intercourse, after intercourse, no real reason for abortion unless there is a life-threatening issue.”  

4) Do you support increasing the federal minimum wage? If yes, to what pay level and why?

“Absolutely not. We need to get rid of it. It is another dis-incentive to work. Minimum wage is a terrible concept.”

 

 

REMEMBER TO VOTE NOVEMBER 6!