by Terry Rogers
Last month, Billy DeVary, a lifelong resident of Milford, announced his plan to file as a candidate for the 18th District Senate seat. The seat became open when Senator Gary Simpson announced his plans to retire earlier this year. Mr. DeVary says he will file close to the July 4th deadline as he feels the state does not need his $1,811 filing fee anytime soon.
“My dad had a baseball card shop in the Airpark Plaza, Field of Dreams, and my parents have a paper route delivering in this area for 30 years. Can’t say too many people know this area better! I got to meet many famous players, like Mantle and DiMaggio, and was hoping to go professional myself til an injury cost me my arm. In 2004, I ripped my bicep in half. I have since been in all the systems we know are not working.”
DeVary says that he is technically disabled and receives $79 per month for his disability. He has also received EBT benefits but while receiving benefits is only able to work or volunteer 20 hours per week. If he works 40 hours per week, he loses his medical and other benefits, something he hopes to change if he is elected. Mr. DeVary has worked as a certified medical assistant and has been a patient, so he has seen both sides of the medical care issue.
“There are a lot of people struggling in pain and in bad health,” DeVary said. “The healthcare system needs changes to address the opioid problems. I fought, and am still fighting, for federal disability, which is a deny, deny, deny-only process. I have a pinched nerve in my brachial plexus, a winged scapula, all seven vertebrae in my neck are damaged, and, from being in chronic pain for so long, my heart is damaged.”
In addition to his medical issues, DeVary has dealt with custody and schooling issues for his son. He has been dealing with the custody issue and feels that somewhere along the way, common sense has been lost. When he injured his arm, he was a criminal justice major, but his main focus was baseball. After the arm injury, he decided to switch his major to medical assistant, but then found that the positions he could obtain with the degree paid approximately $10 an hour.
“That is what McDonald’s pays,” DeVary said. “It is a slap in the face. I always loved the law. I am now in college studying to be a paralegal. It will be a while before I am a lawyer, but I’ve had many of my own trials over my disabled condition and my son. Everything is set up for the money, not truth or justice.” Mr. DeVary said that the state provided him with a test that was to help him find a job and the results indicated he should become an anthropologist. His concern was how much taxpayer money is wasted on such “tests” that provide little benefit.
It is DeVary’s opinion that Milford could lead the way by establishing an environmental hub. He would like to see the town investigating wind turbine energy as well as salt-to-fresh water conversion, something he claims is now being tested in other parts of Delaware as well as Maryland. DeVary would also like to see more solar panels installed in the area.
“I believe we need to get away from “the man,” persay, and live off the land,” DeVary said. “Our produced energy could be sold which would make us all richer. There are two options for jobs here in Milford, chicken or shells, and that isn’t anywhere near enough. Currently, we just are a place you go past to get to the beach in the summers. We have fishing ponds that can, perhaps, be restocked. Boaters could pay to fish using a decal. A kid is bored casting and fishing, but catching fish, they will be more likely to pass on the sport and have respect for nature. There is no greater entertainment here.”
DeVary owns rental properties in Milford and says that the economic condition of the town discourages people from moving here. He decided to run for office because he wants to represent the people, something he thinks is currently lacking in state government. He says his decision to run is not based on obtaining power, but about changing systems that are clearly broken. DeVary also said that although the new Bayhealth campus is a great step toward Milford’s future, there is more that needs to be done. He feels that a green energy hub would truly change the town.
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