I fundamentally believe that the quality of an education determines a child’s future success. We have some great schools in our district with dedicated teachers, new buildings, modern equipment, and a strong tax base. These are building blocks for student success.
For too long Administrators within our District have micro-managed our schools. Many of these administrators have not taught in a classroom. The shortfall in experiential knowledge within our school administration has been a major deterrent to progress within our school system.
I believe that teachers should be given more autonomy in their classrooms. Teachers should be able to focus more on the natural pace within each class rather than “teaching to the test”. Principals in conjunction with their faculty should have total authority over their school.
In our District, taxpayers spend $51,196,000 on our schools, this excludes Federal and State funding. Don’t you agree that with these resources we should have a better result? I believe that if we allocate more of our resources directly into the classroom and shift decision-making authority back to our educators, we will see a better performing school system for all our children.
Our district has seen a lot of growth over the last numbers of years – and much of it is from folks just like me and our family coming here to find a life that meets our needs. But things have gotten turned upside down.
Home prices for modest homes were already starting to climb before the virus hit, making affordability a huge issue for lots of families. Now – jobs have been lost, hours reduced, layoffs – the middle class has been hurt.
Because a lot of my private sector work is directly related to real estate, one variable to housing affordability is the State’s Transfer Tax at 4%. This is the highest state tax in the land. It adds thousands to the settlement sheet, and none of these monies can be financed – it all has to be paid up front by the buyer. Also, something else to say about his tax, when the economy takes a hit, guess where you feel it first, housing. Delaware’s economy is taking a huge hit from the virus, and housing across the state has slowed dramatically. This means less revenue coming into Dover – and that means they are going to raise taxes to make up the difference.Let me also be clear – Delaware does not have a revenue problem – not now, not ever – we have a spending problem. I will not raise taxes, and I will continue to support the Budget Smoothing process to make sure that when hard times come our way, we have money set aside.
Safety and Police
As a former Police Officer in NYC, I was part of the community policing team, specializing in CPR (Courtesy, Professionalism and Respect). I think it worked well.
Today - we have a serious disconnect between Law Enforcement and the Community. We need to work with our Police Departments by increasing some state support of programs that re-introduce our officers to those they serve. Having experienced this as a policeman, without the trust and confidence from the public, we really cannot do our jobs.
One last issue: While everyone has the right to speak, even to protest, but you don’t have the right to destroy their private property. My whole life I was taught you didn’t call people names and you did not smash windows. You can disagree but you do not steal.As your State Representative, I will always do my best to uphold the laws of our state and will not accept riots or looting as simply an opportunity for them to “get it off their chest.” If we are not a state of laws, and expectations for behavior, we will soon not have a state.
New Senior living communities are being built to accommodate our aging population, yet we are not looking out for their money. Specifically, a bill passed by our General Assembly has lowered the tax credit from $500 to $400 for our seniors. Coupled with rising general property tax increases of at least $100 per year. Seniors on fixed incomes that face a $100 loss are forced to make difficult decisions that can compromise their health and well-being. As I have said before – we cannot tax our way out of our problems and using Seniors, or any of our citizens, as a “piggy bank” to raid when you need more money – that is bad all the way around.
Substance Use Disorder is “The Public Health Crisis of the 21st Century”. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) statistics indicate that over 600,000 Americans have died from overdose since 2002. This figure includes 73,000 who died in 2017 alone. Based on these figures, The New York Times has stated that death due to opiate/heroin overdose is now the leading cause of death for Americans under the age of fifty (55) years old.
Delaware is no exception to this public health crisis. We continue to lose lives at a double-digit increase.
- In 2014 we lost 186 Delawareans to opioid/heroin overdose.
- In 2015 we lost 228Delawareans to opioid/heroin overdose.
- In 2016 we lost 308 Delawareans to opioid/heroin overdose.
- In 2017 we lost 345 Delawareans to opioid/heroin overdose.
- In 2018 we lost 400 Delawareans to opioid/heroin overdose.
The figures may have been even higher had we not passed community and police access to the life-saving medication naloxone. There were 82 documented lives saved by the community and police in the first full year (2015) these laws were implemented.
All is not hopeless here in Delaware. As a state we have been an early adapter in making significant changes to policy. We now have a 911 Good Samaritan Law that allows 911 be called if someone is in medical distress. The call can be made without fear of arrest, charge or prosecution for the caller and individual in distress. This also applies to instances of underage drinking. Naloxone has now become increasingly available to volunteer fire companies, by community training, over the counter in pharmacies without a prescription.