On Tuesday, November 8, local voters will be deciding which candidate they want to represent the 35th State House of Representative seat in the upcoming general election. The 35th District represents Sussex County including parts of Milford, Greenwood, Bridgeville and Georgetown. Democrat Gary Wolfe is challenging incumbent Representative David Wilson.
A 1981 graduate of Milford High School, currently residing on Abbotts Pond Rd with his wife of 31 years, Jackie. They have three sons, Gary II, Christopher, and Scott who are currently attending colleges in Texas, Mass., and Newark. From 2002 to 2012, served 10 years on the Milford school Board, also serving 5 years on the Board of Directors of the Delaware School Board Association. Community involvement also included 16 years as a member of the Carlisle Fire Company, 13 years as a Boy Scout Leader and currently a member of the Harrington Loyal Order of Moose. When not working or spending time with their boys, Mr. Wolfe likes to work on cars, ride motorcycles, and spend time with his beagle pups.
Mr. Wolfe is currently employed since Feb 2016 as an Operations Manager at a Propane/Welding materials supplier in Salisbury, MD. Prior to that he worked as an Operations Manager for an Environmental consultant, and 25 years with Merck Animal Health in Millsboro, De. Mr. Wolfe looks to use his 25+ years in business and his school board service to work to ensure that today’s students have the skills necessary to succeed in the job market of tomorrow, and to see the state and local communities work together to see there are jobs paying a living wage, here in Sussex County for the next generation.
1. What is your opinion of Delaware’s overall financial health and what can be done to strengthen it?
Delaware’s financial health is best described as fair to poor as we continue to “kick the can down the road” rather than truly balance the state’s budget. Both parties have their ideas of how to balance but the truth is neither cutting alone nor taxing more is going to solve the budget picture. The state needs to find new revenue streams and that means putting its citizens to work in jobs that pay livable wages. To this end the legislature and local governments need to work on what issues are preventing companies from moving to Delaware including things like regulations, infrastructure, and worker education/training.
2.. Do you believe Delaware’s economy is getting better, worse or stagnant and what can legislators do to help build a strong economy?
I believe I answered part of this question, but to clarify the economy is showing growth along our coastline, but inland areas continue to struggle to support their citizenship. Balancing these two involves realizing that tourism alone cannot balance the financials, and that some industries being relied on have consequences that involve the state’s environmental health.
3.. What current challenges are present with Delaware’s infrastructure and roadways and how can these challenges be met? What role will you play?
The largest infrastructure issue is the lower half of the state continues to struggle with high speed communication tools that today’s businesses need to succeed. Working with local governments and providers is the first step legislators take to start addressing this issue. The next issue is roadways as we’ve worked hard to move tourist down to the beaches, but many areas still provide challenges to businesses moving materials from manufacturing to market.
4. With many public school districts struggling to meet operating expenses and overcrowding, what are your ideas to meet these challenges?
The first issue needing to be addressed is equalization funding for districts as many districts where poverty is highest don’t have the funding seen in other districts along our coastline. The way to address this involves an antiquated funding formula that many see as political suicide because it involves reassessing the property values in the counties that have not been done in 10+ years. Funding should be based on need not where a student resides.
5. As health care costs continue to rise, what can be done to ensure that families can afford quality coverage? The first is giving them a livable wage that allows them to provide for their families without having to decide what they have to do without. Then continue to support those agencies that assist with providing health care based on need and not ability to pay, such as LaRed and others like them.
6. If voted into office, how will you communicate with constituents and ensure public transparency during your term?
I have been using tools such as social media and electronic communications to reach those who will listen since I joined the school board back in 2002. I see sitting down regularly with community groups as another tool and to ensuring the citizens of the 35th can reach me if they have questions or concerns.
7. Why should residents vote for you on Tuesday, November 8?
Delaware continues to struggle and I’ve talked with many who believe it’s time for change, and new ideas are needed in Dover to address the concerns for jobs and wages that leave many hanging on not realizing the dream. I see our best and brightest leaving our state, including my own sons, in droves as we push them to go to college yet we offer them no options for employment in our state that involve the STEM education of the 21st century we are struggling to provide. The state has a history based on the tourism and agricultural industries, but to grow Delaware needs to look at bringing in industries paying higher livable wages.
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