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We write with great concern about the impending changes to several DART bus routes and schedules in our communities that stand to impact thousands of residents, students and workers who commute to and from these areas. We are concerned that these changes largely have sprung up unnoticed by members of the public and legislators due to a lack of outreach and communication. As part of that lack of communication, we have not been informed of the urgency of some of these changes, why they are being proposed, or how DART intends to provide funding for them.

We often talk about how critical it is to invest in our future generations, to prepare them so they can pursue productive, successful lives and advance our society as the whole. Access to quality, sometimes lifesaving healthcare for our children is a vital part of that investment. A healthy child is more productive in school, at home and in all aspects of life. Children should not be frivolous pawns in the budget and political negotiation process. Nor should ensuring their health be a partisan issue.

 

Recently, news circulated that the EPA is investigating whether to add a polluted plume of groundwater in Newark to its list of Superfund sites. What might surprise many is that Delaware has had more than 20 Superfund sites throughout the state.

That’s why news that the Trump Administration wants to cut the Superfund program by 30 percent should alarm every Delawarean, regardless of political persuasion.

As an Operation Iraqi Freedom war veteran, I am fully aware of the qualifications a member of the U.S. military must possess in a combat theater. I know what it takes for our American military to be successful in these situations.

Cancer will destroy any adult or child’s immune system. Surgeons do not base a knee replacement on whether the joints belong to a Democrat or Republican.
Medical crises don’t discriminate. Health care coverage shouldn’t either. Health care should be a right, not a privilege.
That’s why we write with great urgency about the American Health Care Act of 2017, which presents a misguided and detrimental attempt to “reform” our health care system. We urge you to continue to fight for the right of every Delawarean to have quality health care, and to oppose any effort that does not make that access a priority.

"We heard loud and clear from legislators, community stakeholders and affected residents about these potential cuts and we understand those sentiments. For that reason, we have asked JFC to take a step back and give legislative leaders the opportunity to meet and see if there is room for compromise to raise additional revenue so that we can balance any cuts we might have to make to the budget."

The U.S. House Republicans’ plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act would worsen health care coverage by being less accessible, while marginalizing people who need affordable care the most, such as low-income older Americans. It is not a serious solution and it would have serious ramifications for Delaware families.

Make no mistake, “right-to-work” legislation is anything but. These laws directly affect our neighbors who work as teachers, police, government employees and construction workers by weakening and removing the ability to bargain collectively for health insurance coverage, safe workplaces and retirement benefits.

We must safeguard our country’s borders and support a thorough vetting process, but this order completely contradicts our country’s founding principles under the guise of “protection.” It neither protects nor preserves national security; frankly, it is un-American and unconstitutional. We call on you to renounce this order on immigration and rescind it immediately. The future of our country could be in jeopardy if we choose to govern by hate and fear instead of inclusion.

Ms. DeVos is wholly unqualified to lead the U.S. Department of Education. She has no public school experience whatsoever – not as a school administrator, not as a teacher, and not as a school board member.

You have heard the troubling statistic before: one in five women will be sexually assaulted while in college. The vast majority of these crimes are never reported. These are statistical facts that we and many others have been trying to change across the country and here in Delaware.

We have seen many changes to the Route 1 corridor in the past few years. We are fortunate that our communities are a destination for millions of visitors each year, but those visitors also create challenges for us. The most obvious is the increase in traffic as we are no longer a secret to the outside world. Since my time as Delaware State Police Troop 7 commander, I have seen the steady increase of traffic along Route 1, and what that’s meant for people walking and biking along the road. The increased traffic not only brings congestion but an increased danger for pedestrians and cyclists traveling along a very busy Route 1.

The University of Delaware has announced that it is adjusting their policy regarding state-funded merit-based scholarships. Beginning with this fall's first-year students, UD will remove the Diamond State Scholarship and the Michael Ferguson Scholarship from their need-based financial aid equation. Rep. Kim Williams has been working with the university since October to resolve the issue after she was contacted by a Delaware family. Please see the full letter below.

We have read with deep disappointment the recent news that the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is requiring that Delaware electricity customers shoulder the bulk of the cost of a power line project on Artificial Island, despite Delaware customers receiving only a small portion of the benefits of said project. The House Democratic Caucus stands united in opposition to the FERC’s decision and urges the FERC to reconsider this ruling.

It is past time for us to simply pay lip service to the importance of a healthy family and to actually do something about it, and with that in mind, now is the time for Delaware to “Lead on Leave.” Right now, our state is in a prime position to become one of only a handful of states that offer its public employees paid maternity and paternity leave when they become parents.

We write to encourage you to urge your colleagues and President Obama to provide Puerto Rico with the tools to create a pathway to economic recovery. In June 2015, Puerto Rico’s Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla declared the Commonwealth’s $72 billion debt “not payable” and the government effectively ran out of cash to continue operating.

It has come to my attention that there is a serious loophole in federal law regarding background checks and preventing prohibited persons from purchasing firearms. Federal regulations allow a Federal Firearm Licensed dealer (FFL) to proceed with a firearm transaction if a requested background check has not been processed by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) within three business days.

Every year, the Food Bank of Delaware does tremendous work soliciting donations and distributing millions of pounds of food to Delawareans in need. We are fortunate to have such an organization in our state, but the Food Bank needs help from all of us.

Nearly a year ago, Delaware Republicans made a big overture about helping the city I call home. Republicans acknowledged that Wilmington was in crisis and pledged to reach across party lines to help Delaware’s largest city.

Last year, we were approached by hundreds of Wilmingtonians who believe we all have a responsibility to address violent crime throughout Delaware. Wilmington has its own Mayor, City Council, and Police Department, but this does not absolve state legislators of our duty to our shared constituents who reside in the city. 

When a crime is committed in our community that results in a needless death, we think about our safety and that of our children, but the pain is always deepest for the family and loved ones closest to the victim. Sometimes, when the case for justice goes cold, their suffering can last for years or decades.

Earlier this year, I was proud to join my fellow Democrats in the General Assembly in leading the effort to boost investment in Delaware’s roads, bridges and highways. Soon, we will start seeing the real results of this action up and down the state, on major roads as well as local streets. Over the coming months and years, we can look forward to a safer transportation network, more good-paying, reliable middle-class jobs and the economic growth that’s been proven to accompany public investments in infrastructure.

I want to thank the Delaware Health Care Commission for its recent creation of a new work group to explore the establishment of a Delaware End of Life Advisory Council, serving what I believe will be an essential function given Delaware’s rapidly changing demographics. As a member of the work group, I look forward to productive public meetings and the work group’s recommendations, which are due to the General Assembly by the end of March.

Several months ago, women legislators from both parties and many of our male colleagues stood together and announced an ambitious package of 11 bills to address a host of issues that impact Delaware women every day in their workplaces, doctors’ offices, homes and schools. It’s easy to roll out a series of bills with the best intentions, but the real challenge is getting the measures across the finish line and signed into law.


It’s not every day in Delaware that a lobbying effort garners so much attention, but that’s what happened last week when the Delaware Business Roundtable released a report that was critical of the way Delaware has managed its finances.

The report warns against a hypothetical doomsday scenario, where Delaware does nothing, spends recklessly, and ends up with a catastrophic structural deficit of more than $600 million in 2025. It’s a breathless, sky-isfalling view into the future, but not a realistic one. For one thing, doing nothing has never been an option in Delaware, as is evidenced by the balanced budgets we’ve consistently passed. 

The financing behind the U.S. 301 toll road project is conservative, innovative and geared to return money to Delaware’s Highway Trust Fund rather than take from it. The road will also pay uncounted dividends to Delaware in the form of a safer, less congested highway and the economic opportunities it will create.

The issue of firearms and efforts to reduce gun violence is something that polarizes our society. Lawmakers have made honest efforts to do this while respecting and protecting everyone’s Second Amendment rights. With this right comes a corresponding responsibility to make sure that a person’s weapon is secured. Guns are not toys – they are lethal instruments – which is why we must prevent them from falling into the hands of a youth or a person prohibited.

The following are prepared remarks that House Speaker Pete Schwartzkopf delivered today at the ceremony at Legislative Hall to honor former Attorney General Beau Biden, who passed away last week: 

To the rest of the world, you are the Vice President of the United States.

To the people in this room, you are just Joe, you’re our Joe.

Based on what we’ve seen, the project could bring as many as 5,000 jobs to Delaware, add needed improvements to our transportation system, and create opportunities for entrepreneurs and local start-ups to realize their visions.

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