Emory, Simpson Face Off In General Election

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LtoR: Candidate Pat Emory (D), State Senator F. Gary Simpson (R).

On Tuesday, September 9, Democrat Pat Emory was elected by voters in the Delaware Primary Election. Mr. Emory now faces long-time incumbent Senator Gary Simpson in the General Election on November 4, 2014. Mr. Emory is the Director of the Office of Community Services for the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control. Mr. Emory also serves on the Milford School District Board of Education.

“I want this campaign to focus on the issues,” Mr. Emory said. “Mr. Simpson is a good family man whose character is above reproach. However there are some issues on which my opponent and I disagree.”

Mr. Emory said that in a recent interview, Senator Simpson said there aren’t any real issues with the state of education that concern him, yet Mr. Emory, as an active member of the Milford Board of Education, said that he does not believe that is true. Mr. Emory pointed out that there have been three different high-stakes tests in the past four years required for public education students. He said that the state has spent millions on the testing process, but has not gained the results expected.

“This year we will give assessments to third graders that will last nearly six hours,” Mr. Emory said. “Our students and teachers deserve better. We also have a moral obligation to provide equal educational opportunities to our students in this state. Equalization funding for schools will go a long way to doing that. Until then, we will have neighboring schools where one group of students all have iPads and another where textbooks are thirty years old. This isn’t right for Delaware.”

Mr. Emory says that he and Senator Simpson disagree on capital punishment. He believes that law and order are key components to a just society and that the state should have all options including the death penalty in some cases, such as the death of a child. Mr. Emory also supports term limits for elected officials.

“As I go door-to-door and meet constituents in the 18th district, I hear the same thing over and over,” Mr. Emory said. “We need high paying jobs for our district. My opponent has proposed ‘right-to-work’ zones as a way to stimulate the economy. While these may lead to more jobs, they would be lower-paying, not higher-paying jobs. To help Milford succeed we need to develop our town’s assets like the Riverwalk and downtown. Working with organizations like Downtown Milford Inc. will help us continue to revitalize our downtown area.”

Mr. Emory says that he would like to emphasize ecotourism, the art community, restaurants and businesses in Milford to promote economic development. One way that Mr. Emory hopes to improve the economic development in Milford is through tax incentives and lower electric rates to businesses that pay well in the community. He believes that by offering tax incentives, businesses would be encouraged to expand and other companies to relocate to the Milford area. Mr. Emory says that his campaign staff is working toward a feasibility study regarding a university campus in Milford which would provide jobs that are often recession-proof and would allow children to get the training and education they need to make the community a better place to live and work.

“Fourteen years is a long time, it is time for a fresh start,” Mr. Emory said when asked why voters should choose him at the voting booth on November 4 over Senator Simpson. “If you want new ideas that will improve our economy and make towns like Milford, Harrington and Greenwood better places to live and work, vote for me. My opponent is going to spend a lot of money talking about his ideas over the next two months. He has the backing of a lot of wealthy donors and the advantage of already being in power. Ask yourself this simple question – if Mr. Simpson has ideas to improve our economy, then why haven’t they happened yet? Fourteen years is a long time to get things done. I am prepared to work with Democrats and Republicans to craft common sense legislation to move our district forward.”

Senator F. Gary Simpson works in the Alumni and University Relations Department of the University of Delaware and was first elected to the Senate in 1998. He is currently the Senate Minority Leader. Senator Simpson says that he will focus much of his campaign in three major areas – economic development, balancing the budget without raising taxes and restoring trust in state government.

“Much of what happens in Dover reflects on local government, some good and some not so good,” Senator Simpson said. “One of those negative areas pertain to restrictive government policies and regulations that stifle economic development and/or hurt our local, already established businesses. Legislators need to be constantly aware and in touch with their local business community to make sure that the policies created in an office somewhere in Dover does not negatively affect their individual business here.”

Senator Simpson says that one of his major areas of concern is the policy established by the Department of Transportation which uses a priority system for upgrades to roads throughout the state. Senator Simpson pointed out that the safety issues that exist for residents of Woods Haven as well as young student drivers and school buses demonstrate the importance of creating safe intersections on Route 1. Senator Simpson feels that the state cannot wait for another fatality to make the overpass at that intersection a reality.

Senator Simpson also believes that school equalization funding must be addressed at the state level in order to make funding fair to all districts throughout the state.

“I believe that voters should choose me as their state senator based on these points,” Senator Simpson said when asked why voters should choose him. “I have an enthusiastic commitment to solving constituent issues regardless of party affiliation. I have extensive leadership experience in both the private and public sector. I have the ability and desire to decide issues based on what’s right and moral, rather than what’s politically correct and popular. And finally, I have the problem-solving ability to bring people together on issues of tough public policy and still leave as friends.”

MilfordlIVE.com will conduct full interview with both candidates as the General Election in November approaches. Stay tuned to MilfordLIVE.com online and on Facebook for updates on the campaigns.