The 149th General Assembly began on January 10th 2017 and I am honored to represent the 24th District. This session, I have the privilege to again serve as the Chairman of the House Transportation/Land Use & Infrastructure Committee and Vice Chairman of the House Labor Committee. My other committee assignments include the House Education, Health & Human Development, Public Safety & Homeland Security, and Veterans Affairs Committees.
To keep up with the latest legislation I sponsor, roll call votes, and other details of the General Assembly, visit my legislator page here
Many residents of Chestnut Hill Estates have contacted me about the severe drainage issues facing a number of properties in the neighborhood. Over the past year, with the help of the New Castle Conservation District, I was able to secure funding for a project that will mitigate the problems when it rains.
Part of the project requires the installation of nearly 275 feet of high density polyethylene pipe, 3 lawn inlets, and a catch basin.
Additionally, approximately 600 feet of a rock-lined channel 2-3 feet wide is being installed. This project is just one example of the our infrastructure dollars at work for the middle class. Nearly a dozen homes will see relief and I’m thrilled this project is fully underway!
On Friday, October 28th, I was thrilled to volunteer at the table of baked goods for the Newark Senior Center Fall Flea Market. A great sales team joined me and the bake goods were flying off the table. Please visit www.newarkseniorcenter.com to learn how you can help this wonderful organization that does so much for our community!
On October 20, the Food Bank of Delaware held a “groundbreaking” ceremony to announce its new 80,000-square-foot facility that will double the capacity of the existing storage warehouse and enable the group to do more programming for the community.
The facility, off Route 896 in Glasgow, is expected to be open next fall. I was able to tour the facility and tout the good work the Food Bank does feeding thousands of Delawareans in need.
I’m sad to see the Food Bank of Delaware leave the 24th district, but they’re not going to lose me so easily. The Food Bank does incredible work to serve Delaware residents, and this new facility will allow them to better serve the community. Congratulations Food Bank and thank you for everything you do.
Please join me on Monday, October 24th for a Fall Fundraiser in support of my re-election campaign! The event will be held at the Olive Tree Cafe, a wonderful small business located in the heart of the 24th, from 6pm-8pm. Food and drink will be served and Congressman John Carney will be in attendance as a guest speaker. Residents of the 24th pay just $25. Please see the invitation below for more information.
Since I was elected state representative in 2010, my focus has always been on fixing Delaware’s infrastructure, improving public safety, enriching public education, expanding services for those affected by the nation’s drug epidemic, creating a tax policy that is fair and just to Delaware’s workers and elderly population living on a fixed income, and offering first-rate constituent services. The residents of the 24th district want someone visible in their communities fighting for them and their best interests. For six years, I have returned emails and phone calls daily and will continue to have my door open for every one of my neighbors in the 24th district.
On September 14th, Governor Jack Markell signed HB 408 that will ensure that Delaware schoolchildren receive breakfast each morning.
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% of school-aged children skip breakfast.
The “Breakfast After the Bell” law will require that public and charter schools adopt proven “alternative service models” to provide breakfast to children at no cost. The program will take effect beginning with the 2017-18 school year, though some schools, such as Jones (Albert H.) Elementary School, already offer the service.
Alternatives to the traditional school breakfast service include “Breakfast in the Classroom” and “Second Chance Breakfast,” which give students the opportunity to obtain breakfast for a period of time after school starts, and “Grab and Go Breakfast,” in which breakfast items are made available at carts or kiosks in other areas of the school apart from the cafeteria.
Research has shown that students who eat breakfast at school have better attendance rates, a reduction in disciplinary problems, and improved test scores. The program is supported by Food Bank of Delaware and DSEA.
Breakfast may be available in every Delaware school, but we know that many kids who need that healthy meal to start the day still aren’t getting it – and we’re not just talking about students from needy families. We’ve seen how successful school breakfast programs can be when schools and policymakers think outside the box, and we want that success in our state. I’m looking forward to seeing other schools throughout Delaware implement a Breakfast After the Bell program to make sure that no child goes hungry.
I was thrilled to join Senator Bryan Townsend and Brookside President Vic Enos for the re-opening of the completely refurbished basketball court in Brookside at the corner of Rt 4 & Rt 72. This will give kids and adults somewhere safe to play within walking distance of their homes. Good job Brookside Community Inc!
In early August, I was thrilled to take part in the ribbon cutting for RI International recovery response center near Newark, a facility that will provide clients with a first step to recovery when they’re experiencing a substance abuse or mental health crisis.
The Newark Post reported that the center, which can accommodate 16 people at a time, operates on what CEO David Covington calls a “living room model.” The main area of the clinic looks much like a living room, with cushy chairs arranged in clusters and a television set and computers available for use. Private rooms contain recliners, not beds.
Clients – who center officials refer to as “guests” instead of “patients” – can check themselves in, be referred there by medical professionals or be dropped by police officers. The center keeps people for up to 23 hours of observation before on-duty psychologists, nurses and peer specialists determine the best next course of action.
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.
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