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As elected officials, we hear from our constituents about criminal and quality of life issues that affect them and their families. We take these calls seriously and work with local law enforcement to tackle these problems and make our communities safer and better places to live.

Democracy works best when everyone gets involved. That might sound cliché, but it’s an undeniable truth. And we as elected officials should do everything in our power to encourage and make it as easy as possible for everyone to participate in our democracy.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

The proposed Division of Motor Vehicles fee increases would raise $23.9 million that would fund infrastructure projects throughout Delaware. Many of the fees identified have not been increased in more than 20 years.

The additional funds will help address a backlog of projects and keep our roads safer, create good-paying jobs and better economic development opportunities for businesses. The proposal is endorsed by the state and New Castle County chambers of commerce, the Committee of 100, AAA Mid-Atlantic and several business, construction and engineering groups.

Rep. Kim Williams has been appointed to the Community Advisory Council of the University of Delaware’s Center for Disabilities Studies. 

A bipartisan group of 18 Representatives and Senators sent a letter to DNREC officials Wednesday opposing a composting plant in Wilmington that has amassed several violations in recent years.

HB 309 does not ban e-cigarettes. We have seen this in comments and posts about the bill, and it needs to be stated clearly that in no way does HB 309 affect the sale of e-cigarettes. It only limits where they can be used in public. Right now, someone can pull out an e-cigarette in a crowded restaurant and puff away.

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