Peterman, Robbins Face Off In General Election

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LtoR: Representative Harold "Jack" Peterman (R), Candidate Kein Robbins (D).
LtoR: Representative Harold “Jack” Peterman (R), Candidate Kein Robbins (D).

By Terry Rogers

On September 9, Delaware voters selected long-time Representative Harold “Jack” Peterman to run against Democrat John Kevin Robbins in the 33rd Representative District Primary Election. Representative Peterman defeated Milford resident, Charles Postles.

John Kevin Robbins is a farmer and milk hauler from Frederica. He is married to Kim Zeitler Robbins and they have two children, Joseph Thomas and Mary Elizabeth. He is a member of the Felton Fire Company, Harrington Lions Club, The Farm Bureau, The Harrington Rotary Club and the Viola V.C.F. Ruritan Club. Mr. Robbins says his main concerns are with the economy, environment and the educational system.

“The good people of this district deserve clear and focused representation in Dover,” Mr. Robbins said. “I am an average, hard-working man who thinks it’s time for sensible, down-to-earth people to be heard in Dover instead of career politicians like my opponent. I believe most of our problems need a common sense approach to solve them.” Mr. Robbins says that his background in the agricultural business would be beneficial as the industry builds a strong work ethic. He says that as a farmer he has felt the pain of putting significant amounts of work into a crop only to see it destroyed by outside forces.

Mr. Robbins said that just like in farming, working in the legislature requires a proactive stance rather than a reactive one. He says that complaining about the situation will not correct the educational or transportation system, nor will it fix the economy or the environment. Instead, he hopes to work harder for a better Delaware. Mr. Robbins said that the passage of a higher minimum wage and the capital budget are both legislative items that he supported in the past legislative session.

“I will work with all legislators to bring more businesses and industry to lower Delaware,” Mr. Robbins said regarding the economic development of the Milford area. “As a small business owner, I understand exactly how difficult it is to get a business up and running. One thing I would not be in favor of is to charge newly formed businesses state gross receipts taxes for the first three years of business. I would also be in favor of tax credits for small businesses who hire Delawareans who are currently on the unemployment roster.”

Mr. Robbins hopes to work with Delaware economic development resources to promote small businesses and bring more businesses in with tax reduction incentives. He says he would advocate for someone from the Office of Economic Development to be assigned directly to Milford and other small municipalities to work solely for economic growth in the 33rd district.

“I am not a career politician. I’m someone who thinks it is time for a change,” Mr. Robbins said when asked why voters should choose him in November. “No fault of his own, but my opponent has been ill. He has not been able to be effective in his role as our state legislator. I will commit to being at Legislative Hall, at committee meetings and to meet with any of my constituents if they request. I don’t look like or talk like a typical politician. I think it is time for a fresh approach.”

Harold “Jack Peterman is a retired farmer who now works as a full-time legislator. He was married to his late wife, Sandy, for 46 years and has two sons, Barry and Scott. He has been a State Representative since 2010 and was a former Levy Court Commissioner and President.

“I expect my campaign during the general election to be very similar to what we did in the primary election,” Representative Peterman said. “I am a strong supporter of veterans and their families. In fact, two of my grandsons have just joined the service. Eric has entered the Air Force and Keith has joined the Army. I don’t believe in taking money away from them as they don’t make that much to begin with. I am also a believer that the Delaware Constitution is of critical importance, and I don’t like that people want to change parts of it. It must be viewed as a whole. I am also a strong advocate of gun ownership rights.”

During the primary campaign, Representative Peterman said that he had been born, raised, attended school and raised his family in the area. He cared deeply about what happened in the 33rd district and has always had a desire to give back to the community that has given so much to him. Mr. Peterman said that as the next to youngest of 14 children, he understands what it is like to struggle.

“A lot of the things I believe in today are because of the way I was raised,” Representative Peterman said. “I thank my mother and father every day for what they did for all of us. I think family is very important and it sometimes hurts me deeply that we don’t pay enough attention to our children and grandchildren.” Representative Peterman served on the board of the Milford Free Public Library, saying that he works to improve areas of Milford that will help generations to come, not just for today. He says that he tries to focus on long term solutions.

During the primary, Representative Peterman said that the Kent County Sports Complex was important to the economic growth of Milford, but the project was delayed due to the need for an interchange on Route 1 to service the complex. He also said that the interchange at Northeast Front Street was important to serve the community of Woods Haven and that both of these projects were extremely important to Milford residents.

Representative Peterman also felt that land use decisions are made by local government. In his opinion, land use and economic development are often connected. Unfortunately, local government can occasional derail economic development due to concerns of area residents, and he feels it is the duty of state legislature to facilitate such projects so that constituents understand the project and local officials can succeed in bringing more economic development to their areas.

“I have a track record of proven service to this community, both at the state and county level,” Mr. Peterman said during the primary when asked why voters should choose him. “My voting record was recently rated by one advocacy organization as being among the most consistently conservative in the General Assembly. In short, I think I have effectively represented our district’s traditional values in voting on a wide range of controversial public policy issues. I hope the people I’ve been privileged to represent continue to place their faith in me and allow me the honor of acting as their voice in the House of Representatives.”