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Governor Jack Markell, Senator Chris Coons, Ambassador of Ireland to the U.S. Anne Anderson, Delaware Economic Development Office Director Bernice Whaley, Rep. Helene Keeley, Rep. Mike Ramone, and myself with company executives at AB Group Packaging welcoming them to the 24th District and celebrating the official Grand Opening of their first U.S. plant in Delaware.

AB Group Packaging, a 30-year-old Irish manufacturer of paper bags and flexible packaging products, also operates plants in Ireland, Spain and the United Kingdom. CEO Dermot Brady, who founded the company with his father in 1985, promises 87 new manufacturing jobs at the plant by 2017, and anticipates additional growth in the future.

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I loved participating in Read Across America Day at the University of Delaware Early Learning Center in Newark. I was joined by Senator Bethany Hall-Long, Director of the ELC Peg Bradley and volunteers from United Way, WL Gore, Burris Logistics and Dow Chemical.

I read my favorite Dr. Seuss book One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish to a class of toddlers. I was two years old when the book was published and I still think it’s a classic.

“You’re never too old, too wacky, too wild, to pick up a book and read to a child. – Dr. Seuss

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In May, Governor Markell signed into law SB 130, sponsored by me and Sen. Harris McDowell. This legislation allows communities and local governments to partner with Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) to establish Complete Community Enterprise Districts and foster walkable, bikeable and transit-friendly development planning.

Thanks to Bike Delaware and all the other great organizations that supported this bill and helped us make it a law.

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HB 408 Expands School Breakfast Programs

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Although the school year is over, I wanted to focus on what we can do to help Delaware students. That is why I introduced HB 408, which expands school breakfast programs in Delaware schools. Hunger is a major detriment to our children learning in school (12% of school-aged kids skip breakfast).

While schools typically serve breakfast before school starts, many students may miss this opportunity to eat breakfast for a variety of reasons, such as tight morning arrival times and the social stigma attached to the traditional school breakfast program. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, as many as 12 percent of school-aged children skip breakfast.

House Bill 408 directs Delaware schools to adopt proven “Alternative Service Models” that have been shown to increase the number of students who eat breakfast at school, which in turn leads to better attendance rates, a reduction in disciplinary problems, and improved test scores, research has shown.

This legislation is supported by the Food Bank of Delaware, the DSEA and the state Delaware Department of Education (DDOE) and was passed by the General Assembly on July 1st. I look forward to Governor Markell signing the bill into law.

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Newark Senior Center Celebrates 50 Years

This year, the Newark Senior Center has been celebrating its 50th Anniversary. I hope you will join me in supporting an organization that is important in our community. The Newark Senior Center provides a long list of educational programs, social services, and physical fitness programs designed to improve the quality of life for seniors in the Newark area. The Center also runs a vital Meals on Wheels program, which allows seniors who are unable to provide for themselves receive the nutritious meals they need to remain in their homes.

Please visit http://www.newarkseniorcenter.com/ for more information on how you can help out this wonderful organization

 

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On June 24th, Governor Markell signed into law legislation that I sponsored with Representative Val Longhurst that would close a serious federal loophole that annually allows thousands of prohibited persons to purchase firearms without passing a background check.

Under HB 325, a person purchasing a firearm would need to pass a background check before a transaction could be completed. This would not impact the vast majority of gun transactions in Delaware, as 92% of background checks are completed in a matter of minutes, or at most, hours. This would eliminate the “delayed transactions” (also known as “default proceeds”) of guns being turned over because a background check takes longer than three business days.

As amended, HB 325 allows 25 days for a background check to be completed before a firearm could be transferred.

According to the FBI – Federal Bureau of Investigation, from 2010-14, gun dealers completed 15,729 gun sales to ineligible people due to the delayed transaction provision.

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“148 in the 148th” Food Drive

This spring, the 148th General Assembly participated in the 148 in the 148th food drive, which brought together organizations and donors across the state to raise 148,000 pounds of donations for the Food Bank of Delaware.

Spearheaded by Rep. Lyndon Yearick of Camden, Delaware, and myself, the food drive shattered its goal and brought in more than 173,000 pounds of food items that will be distributed to needy families across Delaware.

Special thanks go out to Delaware Technical Community College for mobilizing the college community to participate, and to the Delaware Food Industry Council, which gathered 75,00 pounds of donations from its local supermarket members.

For more information about donating to the Food Bank of Delaware, please visit www.fbd.org 13227821_1392352794114506_7339309315522969138_o

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The Importance of Labor Day

This week, the House Democratic Caucus put together a video with myself and my fellow union brother Rep. JJ Johnson talking about the importance of this holiday weekend and the real meaning of “Labor” in Labor Day. Please take a minute and watch.

The Importance of Labor Day

 

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Reminder: First Fridays

My “First Friday” constituent meetings take place on the first Friday of every month from 9 a.m. – 10 a.m. at the Newark Senior Center. These are great opportunities for us to talk about the issues facing the 24th District. Hope to see you there!

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Michael Botticelli, director of the National Drug Control Policy, announced last Monday at Christiana Hospital that Delaware will receive a portion of federal funding to combine law enforcement and public health efforts to reduce trafficking, distribution and use of heroin.

The $2.5 million will fund the “Heroin Response Strategy,” which will create public health and public safety partnerships across 15 states to fight drug use in five high-intensity drug-trafficking regions including Appalachia, New England, Philadelphia/Camden, New York/New Jersey and Washington/Baltimore. This strategy will concentrate on prevention and data collection, rather than punishment.

The money will fund a new drug intelligence officer and public health analyst in each of the 15 states to help share information across state lines to regionally report where drug overdoses are occurring and increase awareness and education to prevent addiction.

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HB 133 Bill Signing

On August 6th, at the Aetna Hose, Hook & Ladder station on Rt. 273, Governor Jack Markell signed HB 133, which will give homebuyers crucial information about lifesaving residential sprinkler systems when they have a new home built.

Residential sprinklers have an upfront cost, but they are proven lifesavers in putting out fires and can lower homeowners’ insurance costs. By making sure homebuyers have this information in hand, they can make informed decisions about something they might otherwise not consider.

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