On Tuesday, November 4 Delaware voters will go to the polls to determine the winners of the 2014 Delaware General Election races. In the Milford area, Pat Emory and Senator Gary Simpson are running to represent the area as State Senator in the 18th District. Polls are open from 7 am until 8pm on Tuesday, November 4. Voters can find their polling place location online at https://ivote.de.gov.
Pat Emory, Candidate for 18th Senate District, Democratic Party
Occupation: Director of the Office of Community Services for the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control,former Director of the Division of Fish and Wildlife
Family: Judy (spouse) Hunter (son 27) and Janna (daughter 24)
Education: Graduated Milford High School, BS from Salisbury University in Salisbury MD
Currently a member of the Milford School District Board of Education, former Director of the Division of Fish and Wildlife and past President of the Northeast Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies
1. Why are you running for the Delaware State Senate?
My opponent has had 14 years to make Delaware a better place. I think it is time for a fresh start and new ideas. Delawareans are tired of career politicians. I want to work for the people to bring jobs back to our area.
2. What personal or professional background will be critical to performing the duties of State Senate?
I am a lifelong Delawarean. My family has been here for seven generations. My children live here. I was the Director of Fish and Wildlife and have worked as the Director of Community Relations and Legislation for DNREC for the past few years. I have run large organizations and understand how the legislature works. I am ready to start working for our district from day 1.
3. Name a specific example of something the Delaware State Senate has done to improve the quality of life for citizens in Delaware.
Senate Bill 49 is something that I think we all can agree upon. This bill prohibits a former member of the General Assembly from acting as a lobbyist for a period of two years after such person leaves office. Any person who knowingly violates this section shall be guilty of an unclassified misdemeanor.
It is a shame that this is a hard question to answer. Serving the people is the number one function of the legislature. We should strive to eliminate corruption. Political positions aren’t for personal gain. They are about service.
4. Name a specific example of something you would like to change in your first term if you are elected to the Delaware Senate.
I want to push for school equalization funding. Poorer districts like Woodbridge, Lake Forest and Milford are at a disadvantage to wealthier districts because of an archaic code. Kids in Delaware shouldn’t receive a different education because of where they are born. Some districts are buying iPads while others are using 20 year old textbooks. We need to fund these equally.
5. What issues do you feel are important to the residents of Milford, Delaware specifically?
Like everywhere, it is about jobs. We need to invest in our economy because this will solve many of our problems. We don’t create jobs in the legislature. We can only help foster innovation through policy. Tax credits and business-friendly policies will help make Delaware great again. We have so many great workers, leaders, and resources ready for responsible development. We have nearly a million tourists drive through our communities on the way to the beach. We need to let these people know that great things are happening here. Kayak down the Mispillion. Enjoy the state parks. Come to downtown Milford to experience the art and culture. Enjoy a craft brew at Mispillion River Brewing. We can be a tourist destination, too.
6. How will you offer help to the City of Milford’s focus on economic development?
Mayor Shupe and the council have done a great job working with Downtown Milford Inc. redeveloping the Riverwalk. Gary Emory and I have talked quite a bit about the next steps for the Riverwalk. I am ready to support this next phase. My campaign sponsored Eat in the Street in Milford because we believe that when Downtown succeeds we all succeed. I plan to sponsor legislation that offers low interest loans to these areas to foster more development. I also plan to seek more federal funding to continue to develop the waterways in Milford. Adding more businesses, restaurants, and industries to this area will help give our kids great places to work so they stay in Milford.
7. Does the state spend too much money? And if so, where would you specifically cut spending?
Yes. We spend too much money in the wrong places. When we spend money we need to make sure that this leads to positive outcomes. We have an 80 percent recidivism rate in our prisons. If we can spend 10 dollars to save a hundred, that is smart. If we spend thousands with no results, that is a bad investment. Our correction officers do fantastic work, but they need us to step up and offer more support to help rehabilitate nonviolent offenders. This would save millions. Our schools spend way too much money trying to comply with misguided state and federal mandates. We need to empower local districts to solve problems and stop hoping that Common Core or high stakes tests are going to do this. They won’t. Every dollar we spend must have results and when it doesn’t, it needs to be cut.
8. If elected, how will you affect the quality of public education in your district?
Equalization funding is key. We need to fund things properly per district. The state has played a shell game with funding, pushing transportation funding and state mandates onto local districts. Now these districts face tough choices: pass referendums or cut programs and teachers. Wealthy districts pass these. Poor ones don’t. This makes the problem worse. Parents, school boards, and teachers know what to do. Let’s let them teach and tell the federal government to keep their reforms. We have been high stakes testing for over a decade. If this were going to work it would have by now. Schools should help students develop their talents and interests, not measure and weigh them against an artificial standard. This is a cheaper and better solution for our kids.
9. Why should voters choose you on Tuesday, September 9?
My opponent has made his career as a politician. He has been in the senate for 14 years. We all complain that legislators stay in way too long. Here is an opportunity to have a fresh start. I have ideas to improve our community and raise our quality of life. And I will make you this promise: if you don’t like the results, vote me out next time. I don’t plan to be a career politician. I love Delaware and hope I can earn your vote. Our best days are ahead if we make the right decisions now.