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Transparency advocates push for campaign finance reform

From: Delaware Live

With weeks to go before the first votes are cast in Delaware’s 2022 election cycle, advocates for government transparency are pushing for better campaign finance reporting.

Common Cause Delaware, a nonprofit group that lobbies for open, honest and accountable government, has called for more frequent and detailed reporting of campaign funds collected when candidates run for office.

“It’s common knowledge that people work for the person who pays them,” said Claire Snyder-Hall, executive director of Common Cause Delaware. “That’s how it often works in politics as well. Studies show that elected officials are more likely to govern in accordance with what their donors want than with public opinion.”

Under current law, campaigns are only required to file three spending reports: at the end of each year, 30 days prior to an election, and eight days prior to an election. If the candidate has a primary election, they’d file five reports.

Snyder-Hall wants to keep those reports, but also require candidates to file four additional quarterly reports.

“When voters are trying to decide who to vote for, one thing they can do is look at campaign finance reports to see who’s funding the candidate,” she said. “If a candidate receives a lot of money from police unions, for example, or teachers unions, that can say a lot about what they stand for, and voters have a right to know that information.”

Because everyday voters don’t follow campaign finance reports closely, having additional data and more time to disseminate it before an election will go a long way in improving transparency, Snyder-Hall said.

“It’s only 30 days until the election, and so that doesn’t leave a lot of time for people to be able to learn and digest that information,” she said. “Whereas if it was quarterly reporting, they would know earlier.”

Having quarterly reports would also level the playing field between candidates who have primary elections and those who don’t, she said.

For example, in Delaware’s 6th Senate District, there are two Democratic candidates: Jack Bucchioni and Russ Huxtable.

They are required to file their reports 30 days and 8 days before the Sept. 13 primary election, but Republican candidate Rep. Steve Smyk, who doesn’t have a primary challenger, won’t have to file his reports until 30 days and 8 days before the Nov. 8 general election.

“So voters now know who’s funding Russ Huxtable and Jack Bucchioni, but they don’t have any idea who’s funding Steve Smyk, because he doesn’t have a primary opponent,” Snyder-Hall said. “That gives him an advantage.”

Another way to increase transparency in elections is by requiring campaign contributors to reveal their employer and occupation when they donate to a campaign, said John Flaherty, board member with the Delaware Coalition for Open Government.

That would increase transparency in two ways, Flaherty said. First, it would help identify instances where companies ask employees to donate to a particular candidate and reimburse them for their donation. That’s a way for companies to circumvent campaign finance laws that limit the amount one can donate to a campaign.

That’s not unprecedented in Delaware.

In 2011, Christopher Tigani, the former president of a major Delaware beer distributor, pleaded guilty to illegally funneling more than $200,000 in campaign donations by compelling employees, family members and friends to make donations, then reimbursing them.

The other way it would increase transparency, Flaherty said, is by showing donor trends. If a candidate has numerous donations from workers in the fossil fuel industry, for example, one could deduce that those employees feel that candidate is more friendly to fossil fuels.

“The public can then decide for themselves whether, in fact, that donation was meant for the candidate, or whether it was meant to help propel the interests of the company,” Flaherty said. “I think the more disclosure we have, the better it is when it comes to campaign finances here in Delaware.”

Donors are already required to reveal their employer and occupation when they donate to candidates for federal office and in 38 states across the country.

When a bipartisan bill was introduced in Delaware’s General Assembly this year that would have required just that, it died in the House Administration Committee after House Speaker Pete Schwartzkopf, D-Rehoboth Beach, raised objections.

“I don’t support this bill and I’ll tell you why,” Schwartzkopf said. “I don’t know what the problem you’re trying to solve is.”

He said pass-through donations like the ones Tigani pleaded guilty to are already illegal and House Bill 366 wouldn’t have stopped them from happening.

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Eric Morrison, D-Glasgow, disagreed.

“I think it quite possibly could have helped catch that,” Morrison said. “When you’re looking through these reports, you will be able to see that, ‘Hey, this one employer, people from their company are donating over and over again, especially in $600 checks,’ which we don’t often see.”

Schwartzkopf said he also worries that in such a divisive political climate, employers could seek retribution against employees “because they donated to the wrong candidates.”

“There’s no protection for those people,” Schwartzkopf said. “They could be fired the very next day.”

Flaherty, Snyder-Hall and Morrison all say that’s bupkis.

“That doesn’t really make sense because you can already do that,” Snyder-Hall said. “If you were a business owner and you wanted to see who your employees were donating to, you know who they are, so you could just put their names in and search to see if they donated.”

Snyder-Hall said it’s no surprise the bill didn’t make it across the finish line.

“I believe it’s the wealthy interests that want to maintain their advantage and candidates who are receiving big money from certain industries that they don’t want publicized,” she said.

Rep. Danny Short, R-Seaford, agreed with Schwartzkopf.

“There’s a whole host of issues you have to follow up on with regard to the checks so you can make sure you comply with the current situation,” Short said. “I don’t know that it helps the cause of those that are trying to run any election, irrespective of who they are, irrespective of the party, to publish that information.”

Rep. Tim Dukes, R-Laurel, said he thinks it would be intrusive to have donors include their employer information.

“On the other hand, the person who challenges [that donation] could remain anonymous,” Dukes said. “I don’t think you should have it both ways, in my opinion.”

The bill was tabled in committee and never brought back for a vote. Because the legislative session ended June 30, the bill will need to be reintroduced in 2023.

“We’ll have to bring it up again next year,” Flaherty said.

Lockdowns Should Never be Allowed Again

From: Caesar Rodney Institute 

In the early days of COVID-19, Delaware’s Governor John Carney expressed his desire to avoid a legacy of being an example of “What NOT to do.” With New York Governor Andrew Cuomo as his guidestar, he proceeded to do just that. Delaware’s economy has suffered some sectors deeply, particularly its students, small businesses, the healthcare sector, and the hospitality industry.
Delaware’s COVID-19 response began with an Emergency Order on July 24, 2020, fully three months following the peak of COVID-19 deaths, which has since been extended 26 times, some as “modifications.”
Despite there being no emergency, the Governor just renewed the order. Each renewal is time-limited, but no consequence for repetition. For the last year and a half, a “bill” requiring the Governor to get legislative approval to renew the Emergency Order stayed idle. The Legislature still has not considered this “bill.”
The original intent of a lockdown was to limit the spread of disease in order to keep the hospitals from being overwhelmed, in particular, beds and intensive care unit utilization.
Neither problem happened. Neither the mask mandate nor the lockdown decreased the spread of COVID-19, as CRI’s Health Policy Center predicted.
Cloth masks are useless and have become a fashion statement, while paper masks merely collect bacteria from the wearer. Masks are the angstrom particulate equivalent of trying to stop a mosquito with a chain link fence.
Lockdowns to prevent the spread of disease were discredited in the 7th Century with the Justinian Plague. The resurgence of these techniques is simply epidemiologic malpractice. However, the adverse consequences of these policies are undeniable.
For two years, our school-age children were denied an education and the socialization that accompanies in-person schooling.
This disproportionately injures those who cannot read, which would usually be 1st grade and below but in Delaware, that extends up to half of the third graders. Socialization of behavior defaulted to internet games, replete with violence and pornography. Marijuana, alcohol, drug use, and suicide attempts increased shockingly. Parents without childcare at home were relegated to computer babysitters and supervision.
The feared shortage of hospital beds never occurred.
The Christiana Care Center for Advanced Joint Replacement 30 beds specialty unit was commandeered for COVID-19 and never used. The population was terrified to seek medical care in a hospital for fear of contracting COVID-19. This attitude was widely prevalent among the disadvantaged and older population. People deferred routine medical care and are now sicker. The backlog of people waiting for elective treatment has risen.
The economy now broadly suffers from lockdown-induced supply chain issues severely hamstringing building and construction.
Both new and used automobiles are simply not available as inventories of many goods have dried up. When the government picks winners and losers, like you’re “essential” and “non-essential,” things go badly. How do the people feel about being told you’re “non-essential?”
Small businesses closed in droves. The hospitality industry and tourism simply disappeared. Restaurants closed or barely limped along with draconian ineffective regulations about masks, social distancing, and outdoor dining or takeout. Regulations on top of regulations is madness.
In short, there was no justification for a lockdown, and the desired result of slowing the spread and ‘bending the curve’ simply did not happen.
The health experts driving the policies focused on the number of new cases instead of the number of hospitalizations and their disparate impacts on older patients. The proven notion of herd immunity and natural immunity was laughed at. It was and still is an uninformed policy that yielded predictably bad results, however well intended.
Lockdowns should never be allowed again, and a thoughtful Legislature should temper the authoritarian mandate from a chief executive going forward in a timely fashion to prevent ongoing harm.

Who’s running, updated: Delaware’s Sept. 13 primary

From: Delaware Live

With Delaware’s primary election just days away and early voting underway, time is running out to answer any questions you might still have.

If you’re unsure who’s running in your district — or even what district you’re in — you’ve come to the right place.

To find your polling location, click here. Scroll down for a list of candidates by district.

The primary election will be held Tuesday, Sept. 13.

The 151st General Assembly comes to an end in November, meaning all 21 Senate seats and 41 House seats are up for grabs. The deadline to file for election has passed.

Three of the state’s executive offices — attorney general, treasurer and auditor of accounts — will also be on the ballot. Each office’s incumbent is running for re-election, including embattled State Auditor Kathy McGuiness, who is the only one with a primary challenger.

RELATED: How to vote in Delaware’s upcoming elections

Six state representatives and senators are not seeking re-election: Sens. Ernie Lopez and Bruce Ennis, and Reps. David Bentz, John Kowalko, Andria Bennett and Steve Smyk, who is running for state Senate.

The House district previously represented by Gerald Brady, who resigned in Feb. 2022, will no longer exist after November. During redistricting, a new district was created in the Long Neck and Oak Orchard area of Sussex County to reflect population growth there.

The general election will be held Tuesday, Nov. 8.

Some candidates have been running for months while others were only nominated by their party last week.

Those include: Justin Brant, R-RD 30, Brent Burge, R-RD 10, Chris Dalton, L-SD 21, Joan Godwin, R-RD 24, Benjamin Gregg, R-RD 12, Alexander Homich, R-RD 5, Ade Kuforiji, D-RD 34, Mark Parks, N-RD 5, Brittany Ramone-Gomez, R-RD 23, Daniel Schmick, R-SD 5, Jason Stewart, R-RD 31, and Shane Stoneman, R-RD 7.

In most cases, those candidates were nominated by their political parties because no other candidate had filed to run.

Below is a list of each statewide seat, Senate and House seat, and county office along with the candidates who have filed and the voter registration totals by political party. Click a candidate’s name to view their campaign website. If you’re not able to click a candidate’s name, they don’t have a campaign website listed with the Department of Elections.

Also listed are voter registration totals by political party. The first figure represents the number of Democrats registered in the district, the second figure shows the number of Republicans and the third figure represents voters belonging to a third party or no party.

An asterisk (*) indicates a candidate is an incumbent. If there is more than one candidate listed for a given party, there will be a primary election for that seat. If there isn’t, that candidate will advance directly to the general election. Voter registration totals are not available for county races.

Not sure what district you’re in? Click here to find out.

Statewide candidates


Primary election delaware

United States Representative (At-Large)

  • Democratic candidate: Lisa Blunt Rochester*
  • Republican candidate: Lee Murphy
  • Libertarian candidate: Cody McNutt
  • Nonpartisan candidate: David Rogers
  • Declared write-in candidate: Edward Shlikas (unaffiliated)
  • Statewide voter breakdown: D – 362,002 / R – 209,358 / other – 189,428

Attorney General

  • Democratic candidate: Kathy Jennings*
  • Republican candidate: Julianne Murray
  • Statewide voter breakdown: D – 362,002 / R – 209,358 / other – 189,428

State Treasurer

  • Democratic candidate: Colleen Davis*
  • Republican candidate: Greg Coverdale
  • Statewide voter breakdown: D – 362,002 / R – 209,358 / other – 189,428

Auditor of Accounts

State Senate filed candidates


State Senate Candidates

CHARLIE MEGGINSON/DELAWARE LIVE

Senate District 1

  • Areas Served: Wilmington North, Carrcroft
  • Democratic candidate: Sarah McBride*
  • Republican candidate: No candidate filed
  • Voter breakdown: D – 22,116 / R – 7,376 / other – 8,662

Senate District 2

  • Areas Served: Wilmington Manor, Southbridge
  • Democratic candidate: Darius Brown*
  • Republican candidate: No candidate filed
  • Voter breakdown: D – 24,210 / R – 3,273 / other – 5,990

Senate District 3

  • Areas Served: Wilmington
  • Democratic candidate: Elizabeth “Tizzy” Lockman*
  • Republican candidate: No candidate filed
  • Voter breakdown: D – 21,876 / R – 3,143 / other – 6,237

Senate District 4

  • Areas Served: Hockessin, Greenville
  • Democratic candidate: Laura Sturgeon*
  • Republican candidate: Ted Kittila
  • Voter breakdown: D – 15,066 / R – 11,656 / other – 10,113

Senate District 5

  • Areas Served: Brandywine Hundred
  • Democratic candidate: Kyle Evans Gay*
  • Republican candidate: Daniel R. Schmick
  • Voter breakdown: D – 17,693 / R – 9,292 / other – 8,838

Senate District 6

  • Areas Served: Rehoboth, Lewes, Milton, Dewey
  • Democratic candidates: Jack BucchioniRuss Huxtable
  • Republican candidate: Steve Smyk
  • Nonpartisan candidate: Gwendolyn “Wendy” Jones
  • Voter breakdown: D – 18,686 / R – 15,593 / other – 11,342

Senate District 7

Senate District 8

  • Areas Served: Newark
  • Democratic candidate: Dave Sokola*
  • Republican candidate: Victor Setting II
  • Voter breakdown: D – 12,958 / R – 7,569 / other – 7,975

Senate District 9

  • Areas Served: Christiana, Brookside
  • Democratic candidate: Jack Walsh*
  • Republican candidate: Brenda Mennella
  • Voter breakdown: D – 16,330 / R – 7,109 / other – 8,886

Senate District 10

  • Areas Served: Middletown, Odessa, Glasgow
  • Democratic candidate: Stephanie Hansen
  • Republican candidate: No candidate filed
  • Voter breakdown: D – 18,102 / R – 9,721 / other – 9,671

Senate District 11

  • Areas Served: Glasgow, Newark
  • Democratic candidate: Bryan Townsend*
  • Republican candidate: No candidate filed
  • Voter breakdown: D – 19,993 / R – 6,164 / other – 8,766

Senate District 12

  • Areas Served: Delaware City, New Castle, St. Georges
  • Democratic candidate: Nicole Poore*
  • Republican candidate: Bill Alexander
  • Voter breakdown: D – 20,497 / R – 8,553 / other – 9,513

Senate District 13

  • Areas Served: Bear
  • Democratic candidate: Marie Pinkney*
  • Republican candidate: No candidate filed
  • Voter breakdown: D – 22,058 / R – 5,291 / other – 7,907

Senate District 14

Senate District 15

  • Areas Served: Harrington, Hartley, Kenton
  • Democratic candidate: No candidate filed
  • Republican candidate: Dave Lawson*
  • Voter breakdown: D – 11,728 / R – 13,943 / other – 10,128

Senate District 16

  • Areas Served: Dover, Frederica, Bowers Beach
  • Democratic candidate: No candidate filed
  • Republican candidates: Colin Bonini*Eric BucksonKim Petters
  • Voter breakdown: D – 14,231 / R – 11,614 / other – 9,857

Senate District 17

  • Areas Served: Dover, Camden, Wyoming
  • Democratic candidate: Trey Paradee*
  • Republican candidate: Ed Ruyter
  • Voter breakdown: D – 18,346 / R – 7,252 / other – 8,652

Senate District 18

  • Areas Served: Milford, Lincoln, Bridgeville
  • Democratic candidate: Billy Devary
  • Republican candidate: Dave Wilson*
  • Voter breakdown: D – 12,799 / R – 14,064 / other – 9,344

Senate District 19

  • Areas Served: Georgetown, Long Neck
  • Democratic candidate: No candidate filed
  • Republican candidate: Brian Pettyjohn*
  • Voter breakdown: D – 13,716 / R – 15,409 / other – 9,382

Senate District 20

  • Areas Served: Ocean View, Millsboro, Bethany, Fenwick Island
  • Democratic candidate: No candidate filed
  • Republican candidate: Gerald Hocker*
  • Voter breakdown: D – 14,234 / R – 19,367 / other – 10,134

Senate District 21

  • Areas Served: Laurel, Seaford, Gumboro
  • Democratic candidate: No candidate filed
  • Republican candidate: Bryant Richardson*
  • Libertarian candidate: Chris Dalton
  • Nonpartisan candidate: Sonja Mehaffey
  • Voter breakdown: D – 11,851 / R – 14,999 / other – 8,402

State House filed candidates


House of Representatives Candidates

(CHARLIE MEGGINSON/DELAWARE LIVE)

Representative District 1

Representative District 2

  • Areas Served: Wilmington
  • Democratic candidates: Stephanie Bolden*, James Taylor
  • Republican candidate: No candidate filed
  • Voter breakdown: D – 12,398 / R – 1,509 / other – 3,431

Representative District 3

  • Areas Served: Wilmington
  • Democratic candidate: Sherry Dorsey Walker*
  • Republican candidate: No candidate filed
  • Voter breakdown: D – 12,081 / R – 1,586 / other – 3,143

Representative District 4

  • Areas Served: Millsboro, Long Neck, Oak Orchard, Angola
  • Democratic candidate: Keegan Worley
  • Republican candidates: Bradley LayfieldJeff Hilovsky
  • Independent Party candidate: Amy Fresh
  • Notes: District will move from Wilmington to Long Neck in November.
  • Voter breakdown: D – 7,596 / R – 8,744 / other – 5,309

Representative District 5

  • Areas Served: Bear
  • Democratic candidate: Kendra Johnson*
  • Republican candidate: Alexander Homich
  • Nonpartisan candidate: Mark Parks
  • Voter breakdown: D – 11,544 / R – 2,070 / other – 3,501

Representative District 6

Representative District 7

  • Areas Served: Claymont, Arden
  • Democratic candidate: Larry Lambert*
  • Republican candidate: Shane Stoneman
  • Voter breakdown: D – 9,532 / R – 3,589 / other – 4,014

Representative District 8

  • Areas Served: Middletown
  • Democratic candidate: Sherae’a Moore*
  • Republican candidate: David Thomas
  • Voter breakdown: D – 10,120 / R – 4,828 / other – 5,009

Representative District 9

  • Areas Served: Odessa
  • Democratic candidate: Terrell Williams
  • Republican candidate: Kevin Hensley*
  • Voter breakdown: D – 9,625 / R – 5,756 / other – 5,098

Representative District 10

  • Areas Served: Brandywine Hundred
  • Democratic candidate: Sean Matthews
  • Republican candidate: Brent Burge
  • Voter breakdown: D – 8,490 / R – 5,576 / other – 4,735

Representative District 11

  • Areas Served: Townsend, Kenton, Hartley
  • Democratic candidate: No candidate filed
  • Republican candidate: Jeff Spiegelman*
  • Voter breakdown: D – 6,546 / R – 6,436 / other – 5,162

Representative District 12

  • Areas Served: Greenville
  • Democratic candidate: Krista Griffith*
  • Republican candidate: R. Benjamin Gregg
  • Voter breakdown: D – 9,768 / R – 6,732 / other – 5,601

Representative District 13

  • Areas Served: Elsmere
  • Democratic candidates: Larry Mitchell*, DeShanna Neal
  • Republican candidate: Carlucci Coelho
  • Voter breakdown: D – 9,528 / R – 3,258 / other – 4,656

Representative District 14

  • Areas Served: Rehoboth Beach, Dewey Beach
  • Democratic candidate: Pete Schwartzkopf*
  • Republican candidate: Carl Phelps
  • Voter breakdown: D – 9,573 / R – 7,046 / other – 5,314

Representative District 15

  • Areas Served: Red Lion, St. Georges
  • Democratic candidate: Valerie Longhurst*
  • Republican candidate: Michael Higgin
  • Voter breakdown: D – 11,055 / R – 3,842 / other – 4,759

Representative District 16

  • Areas Served: New Castle, Minquadale
  • Democratic candidate: Franklin Cooke*
  • Republican candidate: No candidate filed
  • Voter breakdown: D – 12,377 / R – 2,201 / other – 3,644

Representative District 17

  • Areas Served: Delaware City, Wilmington Manor
  • Democratic candidate: Melissa Minor-Brown*
  • Republican candidate: No candidate filed
  • Voter breakdown: D – 11,070 / R – 3,056 / other – 4,414

Representative District 18

  • Areas Served: Christiana
  • Democratic candidates: Martin Willis, Sophie Phillips
  • Republican candidates: Gloria Hope Payne
  • Voter breakdown: D – 9,905 / R – 3,107 / other – 4,289

Representative District 19

  • Areas Served: Stanton, Newport
  • Democratic candidate: Kim Williams*
  • Republican candidate: No candidate filed
  • Voter breakdown: D – 8,799 / R – 4,231 / other 5,238

Representative District 20

  • Areas Served: Milton, Lewes
  • Democratic candidate: Stell Parker Selby
  • Republican candidate: Dallas Wingate
  • Voter breakdown: D – 8,308 / R – 7,630 / other – 5,377

Representative District 21

  • Areas Served: Pike Creek
  • Democratic candidate: Frank Burns
  • Republican candidate: Mike Ramone*
  • Voter breakdown: D – 8,498 / R – 5,123 / other – 5,395

Representative District 22

  • Areas Served: Hockessin
  • Democratic candidate: No candidate filed
  • Republican candidate: Mike Smith*
  • Voter breakdown: D – 8,456 / R – 6,866 / other: 6,050

Representative District 23

  • Areas Served: Newark
  • Democratic candidate: Paul Baumbach*
  • Republican candidate: Brittany Ramone Gomez
  • Voter breakdown: D – 7,353 / R – 4,294 / other – 4,450

Representative District 24

  • Areas Served: Newark
  • Democratic candidate: Ed Osienski*
  • Republican candidate: Joan Godwin
  • Voter breakdown: D – 9,342 / R – 3,438 / other – 4,705

Representative District 25

  • Areas Served: Newark
  • Democratic candidates: Cyndie RomerEdward Klima
  • Republican candidate: Lynn Mey
  • Voter breakdown: D – 7,285 / R – 3,270 / other – 4,169

Representative District 26

Representative District 27

Representative District 28

  • Areas Served: Smyrna, Leipsic
  • Democratic candidate: Bill Carson*
  • Republican candidate: No candidate filed
  • Voter breakdown: D – 9,159 / R – 4,332 / other – 4,710

Representative District 29

  • Areas Served: Cheswold
  • Democratic candidate: William “Bill” Bush*
  • Republican candidate: Marc Wienner
  • Voter breakdown: D – 9,438 / R – 5,317 / other – 4,859

Representative District 30

  • Areas Served: Harrington, Felton
  • Democratic candidate: No candidate filed
  • Republican candidate: Shannon Morris*
  • Libertarian candidate: Justin Brant
  • Voter breakdown: D – 5,827 / R – 7,658 / other – 5,326

Representative District 31

  • Areas Served: Dover
  • Democratic candidate: Sean Lynn*
  • Republican candidate: Jason Stewart
  • Voter breakdown: D – 9,090 / R – 3,236 / other – 4,046

Representative District 32

Representative District 33 

  • Areas Served: Frederica, Milford, Magnolia
  • Democratic candidate: No candidate filed
  • Republican candidate: Charlie Postles*
  • Voter breakdown: D – 6,492 / R – 6,616 / other – 5,088

Representative District 34

  • Areas Served: Camden, Wyoming, Woodside
  • Democratic candidate: Ade Kuforiji
  • Republican candidate: Lyndon Yearick*
  • Nonpartisan candidate: William McVay
  • Voter breakdown: D – 8,104 / R – 6,114 / other – 5,297

Representative District 35

  • Areas Served: Bridgeville, Greenwood
  • Democratic candidate: No candidate filed
  • Republican candidate: Jesse Vanderwende*
  • Voter breakdown: D – 5,951 / R – 7,202 / other – 4,224

Representative District 36

  • Areas Served: Milford, Slaughter Beach
  • Democratic candidate: No candidate filed
  • Republican candidates: Bryan Shupe*Patrick Smith
  • Voter breakdown: D – 6,436 / R – 6,481 / other – 4,683

Representative District 37

  • Areas Served: Georgetown
  • Democratic candidate: No candidate filed
  • Republican candidate: Ruth Briggs King*
  • Voter breakdown: D – 5,625 / R – 6,130 / other – 3,838

Representative District 38

  • Areas Served: Bethany, Millville, Fenwick Island
  • Democratic candidate: No candidate filed
  • Republican candidate: Ron Gray*
  • Voter breakdown: D – 7,675 / R – 11,505 / other – 5,780

Representative District 39

  • Areas Served: Seaford, Blades
  • Democratic candidate: Susan Clifford
  • Republican candidate: Danny Short*
  • Voter breakdown: D – 6,040 / R – 6,502 / other – 3,908

Representative District 40

  • Areas Served: Laurel, Delmar
  • Democratic candidate: No candidate filed
  • Republican candidate: Tim Dukes*
  • Voter breakdown: D – 5,596 / R – 7,773 / other – 4,234

Representative District 41

  • Areas Served: Millsboro, Dagsboro, Frankford, Selbyville, Gumboro
  • Democratic candidate: No candidate filed
  • Republican candidate: Rich Collins*
  • Nonpartisan candidate: Joseph DiPasquale
  • Voter breakdown: D – 6,657 / R – 8,607 / other – 4,601

Countywide candidates


County Candidates

New Castle County 


County Council District 1
County Council District 2
  • Democratic candidate: Dee Durham*
  • Republican candidate: Jamie Collins
County Council District 3
  • Republican candidate: Janet Kilpatrick*
County Council District 4
  • Democratic candidate: Penrose Hollins*
County Council District 5
  • Democratic candidate: Valerie George
County Council District 6
  • Democratic candidate: David Carter*
Register of Wills
  • Democratic candidate: Ciro Poppiti III
Recorder of Deeds
  • Democratic candidate: Michael E. Kozikowski Sr.
Sheriff
  • Democratic candidate: Scott Phillips*
  • Nonpartisan candidate: John Machurek

Kent County


Levy Court District 2
  • Democratic candidate: Jeffrey Hall*
  • Republican candidate: Anthony Egipciaco
Levy Court District 4 
  • Democratic candidate: Dennis Norwood
  • Republican candidates: Morgan Hudson, Robert Scott
Levy Court District 6
  • Republican candidates: Mitch Denham, Paul Hertz
Levy Court At-Large
  • Democratic candidate: Terry L. Pepper*
  • Republican candidate: Jason Bonner
Sheriff
  • Democratic candidate: Brian E. Lewis*
  • Republican candidate: Norman R. Barlow
  • Nonpartisan candidate: Aarika Nelson
Recorder of Deeds

Sussex County


County Council District 4
  • Republican candidate: Doug Hudson*
  • Democratic candidate: Nathan Mitchell
County Council District 5
Sheriff
  • Republican candidate: Robert T. Lee*
  • Nonpartisan candidate: James Brittingham
Register of Wills
  • Republican candidates: Greg Fuller, Ellen Magee*, Candice Green Wilkinson
Recorder of Deeds
  • Republican candidates: Alexandra Reed Baker, Scott Dailey*

* Indicates the candidate is the incumbent

This report will be updated following the Sept. 13 primary election. 

 

Delaware schools need 500 teachers. Here’s where

From: Townsquare Live!

As the academic year gears up, Delaware schools still have more than 500 teacher vacancies to fill.

“We think about it as a perfect storm of conditions,” said Stephanie Ingram, president of the Delaware State Education Association.

Schools expected to have a higher than normal number of retirements, partly because of the stresses of dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.

This year, that’s been coupled with an increase in student enrollment of more than 7%, Ingram said.

At the same time, “We have fewer graduates from the educator programs than our surrounding states, which leads to the teacher shortage in our schools,” she said.

Some education officials believe that schools themselves — and even the media — are to blame for the teacher shortage.

Bradley Layfield, principal of Sussex Central High School, said school leadership plays a role in attracting and retaining teachers.

“As an administrator, I think that we bear some of this in how we treat our teachers and how we support our teachers to then support students,” he said.

Kendall Massett, executive director of Delaware Charter Schools Network, said more attention should be paid to the teachers who do decide to work in the First State.

“While of course we need to get more teachers in and we want to bring more teachers to Delaware … I really wish we weren’t talking about that,” she said. “We need to talk about the fact that we have so many amazing educators that are staying. We are not talking about them.”

Massett said the perception that there is a teacher shortage is caused, in large part, by how the media talks about it.

“When you focus on the bad and when you focus on the challenges, that’s what you’re going to get,” she said.

The situation frustrates districts in many ways.

“As a superintendent, we’re promising and guaranteeing that children are getting a quality education, and you’re doing everything you can to provide the best quality education you can,” said Jeff Menzer, superintendent of Colonial School District.

“The more you string out these vacancies and the longer these vacancies appear and occur, the harder it is to say that to the public,” he said. “That’s really going to be the struggle over the next several years.”

Delaware isn’t alone in grappling with a teacher shortage. States across the country are experiencing the same thing.

The teacher shortage has been building for a decade, Menzer said.

“There’s really not a lot of teachers that are coming out of school with those certification areas or that are out there working right now in those fields,” he said.

A list of Delaware’s vacancies shows that teachers are needed for every grade level, particularly in math, science, special education and world languages.

Charter schools aren’t experiencing as many vacancies as district schools, Massett said, in part because charters have more flexibility and fewer layers of bureaucracy than traditional public schools.

For example, she said, some charters have a co-teaching model where two teachers are present in the classroom, which allows charters to make a flex schedule and have some of the co-teachers cover other classes.

Districts are coping with the shortages in different ways, Menzer said.

A shortage doesn’t necessarily have to result in teachers taking on additional students, he said.

The state has in recent years increased the number of grow-your-own teacher residency programs and alternative routes to certification to help prospective teachers get experience at a young age or obtain their certifications in a nontraditional way.

The state has also established a 15-member Education Compensation Committee to look at how teachers are paid, partly because surrounding states are significantly increasing teacher pay, and Delaware doesn’t want its teachers poached.

In 2020, Delaware teachers earned a mean salary of $64,853, which ranked 20th in the nation.

The average starting salary for a Delaware teacher with a bachelor’s degree is $43,092. In Pennsylvania, that number is $44,674, in Maryland it’s $47,961 and in New Jersey, it’s $44,258.

The compensation committee and the teacher academy pathways programs are an important step toward solving the problem, Layfield said.

But “there are many things we can do and it’s not all about pay,” he said. “It’s about making teachers feel supported.”

Layfield said many teachers have told him they choose where to work based on the level of administrative support.

Menzer said a major challenge for superintendents is finding creative ways to meet the demand without burdening teachers with more students.

Some districts with vacancies distribute students to different teachers while they wait to fill positions, but Menzer said Colonial didn’t want to do that.

“You leave those classes in the schedule, and as a superintendent, you find creative ways to fill the positions and get students in front of qualified educators in a qualified educational program,” Menzer said, “and the class size won’t change a bit.”

The majority of Colonial’s vacancies are at William Penn High School.

However, Colonial’s “bench” is all dried up, Menzer said. It doesn’t have the normal pool of candidates waiting months or years for a spot to open up to get into the district.

Layfield and Menzer said more teachers are earning their certifications in nontraditional ways in recent years.

“We’ve gotten some very good teachers in the last couple of years that have come to us from the private business world that can bring that real world experience,” Layfield said.

“Now we need people in those programs,” Menzer said.

Massett said charters are able to offer a variety of teacher residency programs and also can be flexible with employees’ availability.

“Sometimes you have somebody that doesn’t want to work full time,” she said. “Schools can flex the schedule to allow that person to be part-time and they fill in the gaps in other ways.”

DSEA’s Ingram said there are lower retention rates for educators in urban schools, “which is a huge contributing factor to some of the shortages we’re seeing.”

The real impact of the unfilled positions will be felt by other teachers, she said.

“If we had the adequate staff then we can have smaller class sizes which we know is a definite leading factor in the success of our students,” she said. “We also know that it’s very difficult for an individual teacher who has a larger class to make sure that they’re providing the individual attention each student needs.”

Having additional students in every class means a teacher will need to spend more time grading papers and tests, coming up with lesson plan materials, spending individual time with students who need academic or emotional help, and other daily responsibilities.

“It is a trickle-down effect into every aspect of the school system,” Ingram said. “When you have these vacancies, everyone has to do more, which puts more on their plate, which overloads a system that’s already stressed out.”

In addition to a teacher shortage, many schools still need a deeper pool of substitute teachers.

Red Clay, for example, said it needs an additional 18, the most of any district.

Many people might be qualified to substitute and just don’t know it, Menzer said.

Menzer suggested that concerned citizens approach their local district and see if they have, or can earn, the certifications to teach.

All open positions in Delaware schools can be found through a portal published on the state’s website, which is updated daily.

Here is a roundup of vacancies in Delaware school districts and charter schools. Each district classifies their needs differently. Some filter the openings by grade level, some do it by subject, and some do a combination of the two.

District Schools

Appoquinimink, 62 openings 

Appo’s vacancies include two math teachers, an English teacher, two social studies teachers, three science teachers, four psychologists, a world language teacher, and seven special education workers.

Brandywine, 25 openings 

Brandywine’s openings include six student supporters, two elementary school teachers, a middle and high school teacher, four subs, and two paraeducators.

Caesar Rodney, 63 openings 

Caesar Rodney needs 14 elementary school teachers, seven middle school teachers, five student support workers, 23 athletic coaches, and three paraprofessionals.

Cape Henlopen, 58 openings 

Cape Henlopen’s vacancies include an elementary school teacher, two paraeducators, nine substitute teachers, and three special support workers.

Capital, 131 openings

Capital’s openings include 20 elementary school teachers, 21 middle school teachers, 23 high school teachers, 27 student support workers, and 20 paraeducators.

Christina, 120 openings

Christina’s vacancies include 18 elementary school teachers, 15 middle school teachers, 23 high school teachers, 27 student support workers, seven school nutrition workers, and six paraeducators.

Colonial, 38 openings

Colonial needs three elementary school teachers, five middle school teachers, nine high school teachers, seven paraprofessionals, and four student service workers.

Delmar, 28 openings

Delmar’s vacancies include seven middle school teachers, 10 high school teachers, seven substitute teachers, and two school nutrition workers.

Indian River, 37 openings

Indian River’s openings include one elementary school teacher, two middle school teachers, two high school teachers, four paraeducators, nine special support workers, and five substitutes.

Lake Forest, 38 openings

Lake forest needs six early childhood workers, three middle school teachers, eight high school teachers, five student support workers, and a substitute teacher.

Laurel, 72 openings

Laurel needs four elementary school teachers, seven middle school teachers, eight high school teachers, 11 student support workers, and six substitutes.

Milford, 19 openings

Milford’s vacancies include four elementary school teachers, three high school teachers, three subs, and five student support workers.

New Castle VoTech, 12 openings

New Castle VoTech needs a sub, a school nutrition workers, three paraeducators, six high school teachers, and a custodian.

POLYTECH, 7 openings

POLYTECH needs a high school teacher, a substitute teacher, a child nutrition workers, an administrative supervisor, an athletic trainer, a custodian, and a tech worker.

Red Clay, 84 openings

Red Clay needs 11 elementary school teachers, 15 middle school teachers, 10 high school teachers, 11 student support workers, 18 subs, and a bus driver.

Seaford, 36 openings

Seaford’s vacancies include three elementary school teachers, three middle school teachers, nine high school teachers, four paraeducators, six subs, and a school constable.

Smyrna, 15 openings

Smyrna needs two elementary school teachers, four high school teachers, four subs, a school nutrition worker, a secretary, and three custodians

Sussex Tech, 7 openings

Sussex Tech needs a custodian, a tech worker, three substitute teachers, a student support worker, and a high school teacher.

Woodbridge, 30 openings

Woodbridge’s openings include two elementary school teachers, four middle school teachers, eight high school teachers, three paraeducators, three school nutrition workers, and a substitute teacher.

Charter Schools

Academia Antonia Alonso, 11 openings 

Academia Antonia Alonso’s vacancies include two elementary school teachers, two middle school teachers, two school nutrition workers, a custodian, and a bus driver.

Academy of Dover, 4 openings

Academy of Dover Charter School needs a paraprofessional, a middle school teacher, an elementary school teacher, and a cafeteria worker.

Campus Community, 9 openings

Campus Community needs two elementary school teachers, two middle school teachers, a sub, three paraeducators, and a custodian.

Charter School of New Castle, 12 openings

Charter School of New Castle needs three elementary school teachers, seven middle school teachers, a sub, and a student support worker.

Charter School of Wilmington, 8 openings

Charter School of Wilmington needs three high school teachers, a substitute, a secretary, a girls volleyball coach, and two administrative workers.

Delaware Military Academy, 3 openings

Delaware Military Academy needs a boys lacrosse coach, an ROTC instructor, and a science substitute teacher.

Early College High School at Delaware State University, 1 opening

Early College High School at Delaware State University needs a high school math teacher.

EastSide Charter, 13 openings

East Side Charter is fully staffed but is looking to deepen their workforce by hiring five elementary school teachers and eight middle school teachers.

First State Military Academy, 2 openings

First State Military Academy needs a boys soccer coach and a math teacher.

First State Montessori Academy, 1 opening

First State Montessori Academy needs an elementary school teacher

Freire Charter School Wilmington, 2 openings

Freire Charter School Wilmington needs a high school Spanish and high school special education

Gateway Lab School, 2 openings

Gateway Lab School needs a paraprofessional and a substitute teacher.

Great Oaks, 9 openings

Great Oaks needs four high school teachers, two middle school teachers, a paraeducator, a student support worker, and an administrative worker.

Kuumba Academy, 11 openings

Kuumba Academy needs six elementary school teachers, four middle school teachers, and a student support worker.

Las Americas Aspira Academy, 3 openings

Las Americas Aspira Academy needs two special education paraprofessionals and a high school nurse.

MOT Charter, 11 openings

MOT Charter needs one middle school teacher, two high school teachers, four subs, a school nutrition worker, and three athletic coaches.

Newark Charter, 4 openings

Newark Charter needs three long-term subs and a school psychologist.

Odyssey Charter, 17 openings

Odyssey’s vacancies include an elementary school teacher, two high school teachers, three subs, three school nutrition workers, and a custodian.

Positive Outcomes Charter, 0 openings

Providence Creek Academy, 15 openings

Providence Creek Academy’s openings include two elementary school teachers, a middle school teacher, and two subs.

Sussex Academy, 7 openings

Sussex Academy needs a high school teacher, two subs, and four athletic coaches.

Sussex Montessori, 7 openings

Sussex Montessori needs four elementary school teachers, a paraeducator, a student support worker, and a reading specialist.

Thomas A. Edison Charter, 9 openings

Thomas A. Edison Charter needs six elementary school teachers, two middle school teachers, and a student support worker.

Why Wilmington’s Climate Change Plan is Bad for the City – Part I

From: Kathleen Rutherford, Executive Director, A Better Delaware

WILMINGTON, Del.-Recently, the City of Wilmington and the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) announced the release of a report on how Wilmington will prepare for tomorrow’s climate risks.  This follows several years after DNREC issued a similar report for the State.

The report focuses on how Wilmington will experience resilient economic growth through the development of innovative green solutions, update the City’s transportation system to be more environmentally friendly, and protect the City’s infrastructure and connect residents to resources that will protect them from climate change.  This plan is bad for the City of Wilmington owing to a number of reasons.

First, Wilmington has many other issues that are more pressing than climate change.  When adjusted for technological developments, we have experienced no significant increase in the events that kill the most people and adversely affect our lives—heat waves, cold spells, floods, droughts, hurricanes, and tornadoes, for example.  Changes in land use and a rising population, rather than increases in greenhouse gases, are most responsible for the occurrence of heat waves, floods, and droughts in Delaware.

The biggest climate-related scare posed by this report is sea level rise.  While sea level is indeed rising, it is rising for two primary reasons, neither of which are related to greenhouse gases.  Globally, sea level has been rising at a relatively constant rate of about 7 inches per century, with no observed increase due to carbon dioxide.

Indeed, we are still emerging from the last Ice Age and sea levels will continue to rise until virtually all of the polar ice caps are melted—or until we descend into another Ice Age.  But Delaware lies at the margin of the Laurentide Ice Sheet, which reached its maximum extent 21,000 years ago.  Isostacy caused the Earth’s crust to depress beneath the ice and to rise at the perimeter of the ice sheet during the glacial period.  Now that we are in an interglacial period, the station at Reedy Point is descending at a rate faster than anywhere on the East Coast.  Thus, rising sea levels in Delaware are due to melting ice from the demise of the last Ice Age and from isostacy due to the loss of the ice sheet—not from increasing greenhouse gases.

Moreover, Delaware is down more than 50% in per capita carbon dioxide emission over the last half century and is the fourth lowest state in carbon dioxide emissions overall.  Thomas Wigley, an alarmist scientist from the US National Center for Atmospheric Research, argued that if every nation on the planet followed the Kyoto Protocol, the global change in temperature would be only 0.13°F by 2050.  This would come at enormous cost but would be undetectable.  Thus, the impact of Delaware reducing its carbon footprint further would be all cost and no benefit.

But the “green remedy” to climate change in Delaware is potentially more disastrous than the supposed effects of climate change.  The proposal will make energy more expensive (so people will use less of it) and develops technology such as wind- and solar-energy programs and electric vehicles, all of which are still experimental.  Someone has to pay for this expensive technology because this so-called “renewable” energy either causes utility bills to rise drastically, or, with government subsidies, taxes rise drastically.  Businesses will suffer harm because the added cost of energy is a business expense that would either be (1) passed on to the consumer or (2) alleviated by moving to another state or country (if they can) which will cost Delaware jobs.

It is always suggested that the ‘green revolution’ will create jobs; in fact, it never does.  Bloom Energy was sold to the State legislature because it would create 900 jobs (a pittance, compared to the jobs lost by the exit of Chrysler and GM) but it has never created as many as 400, despite the cost of more than $325M to Delmarva Power ratepayers and a total take of almost $500M by Bloom Energy.  Consider Spain, where the concept of green energy has failed miserably.  After spending more than 100B€ in subsidies, their power is inconsistent at best and must be matched by energy from fossil fuel sources to keep from experiencing blackouts.  The price for energy has spiraled out of control as it has more than doubled in just the last year.

Furthermore, the argument that wind and solar can meet our energy needs would “require an outsized amount of land or offshore areas for wind and solar farms.”  Efforts in Delaware are pushing the legislature to approve wind turbines off the coast of Bethany Beach (which require a significant right-of-way to connect the energy to the grid) and an extensive buyout of farmland in Kent and Sussex counties is underway to install large arrays of solar panels.  We are trading food for energy and consequently, the cost of both will skyrocket.  Delaware is poised to become the next Spain, with respect to energy.

One of the most devastating “solutions” proposed by proponents is to have the State legislature limit utility increases.  Price controls always result in scarcity because if we force a business to charge less than the cost of manufacturing plus a reasonable profit, they won’t produce.  Green energy is an expensive proposition and can be facilitated only by large subsidies. But what is forgotten in this discussion is that wind and solar are not dispatchable and require backup energy (usually from fossil fuels) when the wind stops blowing and the sun stops shining.  Delaware presently pays $100M per year to keep the coal-fired power plant in Millsboro available to cover for the intermittency of wind and solar energy.  In 2021, the plant was dispatched for only 20 hours.  The additional expense (over that returned by selling the electricity) is paid by Delaware’s energy ratepayers.

The reliance on these intermittent energy sources to run our grid makes energy more expensive, less dependable, and will hurt beach towns, small coastal municipalities, restaurants, hotels and all other businesses and citizens who need to use energy.  So, if the plans set forth by Resilient Wilmington and the State of Delaware to address the impacts of sea level rise by focusing on limiting carbon dioxide emissions is scientifically useless and bad environmental policy, what should our coastal communities be doing?  Stay tuned for Part II to find out!

Youngkin admin seeks to withdraw Virginia from RGGI without new legislation

From:13NewsNow

NORFOLK, Va. — Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s administration is aiming to withdraw the state from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) by the end of 2023 without legislative action from state lawmakers.

Travis Voyles, the acting Virginia secretary of natural and historic resources, presented the withdrawal plans to the Virginia Air Pollution Control Board during its Wednesday meeting.

If it goes through, the state would no longer be part of the auction-based carbon emissions reduction program alongside 10 other East Coast states.

Voyles’ presentation lines up with Youngkin’s ninth executive order, which ordered administration officials to propose a regulation that would repeal the state’s participation in RGGI.

“RGGI is a bad deal for Virginia,” Voyles told board members. “Whether you agree with the framework and principles of the cap and trade system, the way RGGI has been implemented in Virginia does not work as an effective means for greenhouse gas reductions.”

Voyles opened his presentation by arguing that RGGI passes costs onto Virginia consumers “as a tax” without incentivizing any change in behavior from electricity providers because of the way it was set up.

He also claimed that Virginia’s participation allows northeastern states to dictate the state’s energy policies, as opposed to Virginians and elected officials.

Voyles concluded his opening argument by saying Virginians don’t need “a regressive energy tax through RGGI” to fund programs that address climate resiliency and energy efficiency.

After explaining where the administration stands on RGGI, Voyles said officials will soon introduce a notice of intended regulatory action repealing the state’s participation.

Under Virginia law, those notices should describe the planned regulation and allow at least 30 days for the public to comment.

Voyles said the regulation would allow the state to leave RGGI by the end of 2023, coinciding with the end of the program’s three-year compliance period and contract with the organization that manages the program. He added that waiting to withdraw would provide regulatory certainty.

Despite these steps, it’s legally ambiguous if Virginia can leave the program without new legislation because of provisions in the Clean Energy and Community Flood Preparedness Act.

The 2020 law directed the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to incorporate regulations that created the carbon dioxide cap and trade program and authorized the department director to create and manage a program “consistent with the RGGI program.”

Following Voyles’ presentation, the Southern Environmental Law Center said the action taken by the Youngkin administration wasn’t legal, and the program is beneficial for Virginians.

“RGGI has already proven it reduces pollution at the same time that it brings in desperately needed resources,” SELC Senior Attorney Nate Benforado said in a statement. “But instead of supporting this popular program to reduce carbon pollution, the Youngkin administration has consistently sought to take unlawful action to end Virginia’s participation in RGGI — despite the fact that neither the governor nor regulators have the authority to do so.”

Benforado attended the presentation and spoke to the board following Voyles’ presentation, saying it doesn’t matter what he, board members or Youngkin think about RGGI.

“The General Assembly decided this policy for us in 2020,” Benforado told board members. “They wrote a law that mandates we participate in RGGI.”

RGGI is comprised of Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont and Virginia. These states have a regional cap that limits carbon dioxide emissions from power plants, a limit that will get stricter over time.

Within the program, regulated power plants have to acquire carbon dioxide emission allowances for every short ton they emit, which are distributed at quarterly actions.

The idea behind a cap-and-trade program, such as RGGI, is to encourage power plants to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change and invest in clean energy production.

Voyles’ presentation to the Virginia Air Pollution Control Board came the same day that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released the 2021 State of the Climate report, which found greenhouse gas concentrations, global sea levels and ocean heat levels all hit record highs last year.

CRI Announces New Video Released: Visual of Wind Turbines off the Coast of Delaware Beaches

From: The Caesar Rodney Institute NEWARK, DE – The Caesar Rodney Institute (CRI), with its Energy Expert David T. Stevenson, has spearheaded the fight against offshore wind turbines since 2017 to protect Delaware Beaches. Today, CRI announces the release of a shocking video that depicts and uncovers the truth behind how the wind turbines will look off Delaware beaches after construction, who will benefit (not Delawareans), and the marine life it will forever harm.

 “There are better clean energy solutions than placing a highly visible industrial park off our Delaware beaches. Offshore wind costs four times more than other options, causes great environmental damage, and threatens our beach economy.” -David T. Stevenson, Director Center for Energy & Environmental Policy

 The short & shocking video of what the wind turbines will look like (once constructed) can be viewed by CLICKING HERE.

 “The video details why visible wind turbines pose many serious and avoidable risks. Ocean turbines are not needed to reach renewable energy goals, which are better and safer met by land-based turbines.” -John Toedtman, Executive Director

 In 2018 Save Our Beach View (www.SaveOurBeachView.com) was formed to educate Delaware beach property residents about the state of Maryland’s plans to construct offshore wind turbines off the coast of Delaware beaches, but the energy produced by these wind turbines is for Maryland residents and not Delaware. Save our Beach View is a project of the Caesar Rodney Institute and is a member of the American Coalition for Ocean Protection (ACOP).

Concerns raised as Ørsted, U.S. Wind projects progress off coast of Delmarva

From: WMDT 

DELMARVA – Just days ago, the world’s largest offshore wind farm became fully operational off the coast of Yorkshire, England. Meanwhile, Ørsted and U.S. Wind are preparing to build offshore wind farms here at home, near Ocean City, Maryland and Delaware’s coastal beaches.

Ørsted plans to build their Skipjack Wind project, which includes approximately 70 wind turbines. At its closest point, Skipjack Wind will be 15.5 miles from shore, says Ørsted. U.S. Wind is working on two offshore wind projects: its MarWind and Momentum Wind projects.

However, some are raising concerns about various issues relating to the projects: how they will impact local tourism, wildlife, and job creation. The Caesar Rodney Institute (CRI), a non-profit affiliate of the State Policy Network of conservative and libertarian think tanks, say the projects will only negatively impact Delmarva.

Tourists and the Turbines

David Stevenson, Director of CRI’s Center for Energy and Environment, cites a study out of North Carolina State University when it comes to potential impacts on tourism. The study asked respondents how likely they would be to visit beach towns if there were wind turbines visibly towering over the water.

“38% of those renters would not come back to a beach with visible turbines during the daylight. Even worse, when they saw visualizations of what it looks like at night with the red flashing lights, 54% wouldn’t come back,” said Stevenson. “If we see that kind of economic damage to our beach communities, it means jobs, it means the payroll that you get – you may get a smaller paycheck. It means property values may fall.”

U.S. Wind and Ørsted cite a different study, refuting that wind turbines drive away tourists and their dollars. The study, out of the University of Rhode Island, looked at vacation rental numbers on Block Island, Rhode Island after a wind farm was constructed just three miles from the coast. Despite the visible wind turbines, tourism numbers spiked.

“There is a curiosity effect to offshore wind development. People want to see these majestic machines out on the horizon that are creating massive amounts of clean energy,” said Nancy Sopko, Senior Director of External Affairs for U.S. Wind. “People wanted to rent houses and other vacation rentals, condos, etc. to see these turbines.”

Worries Over Wildlife

Meanwhile, Stevenson says tourists and locals don’t want wind turbines built near their homes, and neither does the local wildlife.

“Each one of these turbines, if you look at the blades, sweep out an area of eight to ten football fields,” said Stevenson. “The wingtips of the blades are moving at 180 miles per hour and higher. They are definitely going to kill migratory birds, such as the Red Knot, which is an endangered species.”

Stevenson also worries about any potential impact on horseshoe crabs, which feed the Red Knots when they stop during their migration on Delaware’s beaches. He says not enough information is available yet to tell if the animals will be safe from harm.

“The federal agencies that have approved this say they don’t have the data. In our view, get the data first before these things. Don’t build them and then figure out what the damage is,” said Stevenson.

U.S. Wind also refutes these claims. Sopko says U.S. Wind has done their due diligence in planning for any environmental impact.

“We are seeking to avoid any impact. What we cannot avoid, we are significantly minimizing, and also mitigating any impact to the environment,” said Sopko. “U.S. Wind, as with all offshore wind developers, have to go through a multiyear process with several federal agencies and state agencies that are really digging into the contents of our permitting applications and our plans.”

Ørsted adds that National Audubon Society studies indicate that the areas where the wind farms will be constructed are far enough offshore that they will not affect the birds. Plus, Ørsted says impact on horseshoe crabs and other marine animals will be minimal. The company says that’s because if animals like a whale, for example, are detected during construction, work will stop. And, construction will take place outside of horseshoe crab breeding season. Ørsted says horseshoe crabs might even use the base of the wind turbines as a habitat.

Job Creation, Local Investments

U.S. Wind has been touting how many local, permanent jobs will be created through their projects. Sopko says the company is working with the Sparrow Point steel mill in Baltimore, Maryland. She says workers there will be responsible for building the monopile foundations that secure the wind turbines into the earth.

Sopko says the MarWin project is estimated to create 1,500 jobs, the Momentum Wind project will employ 3,500 people, and the Sparrow Point collaboration will create 500 jobs. Operations and maintenance on the coast will bring 100 jobs, says Sopko.

“You put all that together, and that’s thousands and thousands of jobs for our first two projects,” said Sopko. “What we have said has been backed up by the independent consultants that have looked at these job numbers, that applications that we have put forward to the states.”

Ørsted is also pledging to boost job creation on Delmarva. The company has committed to creating 780 permanent local jobs, plus thousands of local construction jobs during its Skipjack Wind project. The company also claims it will invest a minimum of $735 million in capital spending over 30 years in the region as it builds Skipjack Wind.

CRI, however, isn’t confident that all of those jobs will go to locals.

“There’s definitely going to be some jobs created during the 12 to 18 months when they construct these things. But, a lot of those jobs will go to folks in Europe,” said Stevenson. “The turbines are built in Europe, the crews that bring them over here are European vessels with European installation crews. So, even though there’s some jobs created, they may not be in the U.S.”

Looking Ahead

Despite the opposition, Ørsted and U.S. Wind are on track to continue with their respective projects. Sopko says the work is crucial, given the worsening climate crisis.

“Offshore wind in general can bring massive amounts of clean energy to the grid at a time when it is most needed. We see the world burning and drowning all at the same time,” said Sopko. “We are very excited about the opportunities that exist for Marylanders, for Delaware, and we want everyone to be a part of it that wants to be a part of it.”

Stevenson hopes that the companies will consider moving their projects further offshore, or out of the region altogether.

“If you’re worried about climate change, this isn’t going to solve it. It’s just replacing other things that work better, have less environmental damage, and have less threats to our economy,” said Stevenson. “People have got to wake up to what’s going on here, and we do have a way to stop these or get changes made.”

CON Laws Keep Tennesseans from Being Able to Access Healthcare Services. That Needs to Change.

From: Beacon Center of Tennessee 

Since its establishment, TriStar Horizon Medical Center in Dickson, Tennessee has acquired a less-than-favorable reputation in the minds of Dickson County residents. According to a 2018 study reported by the Tennessean, 60 percent of potential patients in Dickson County are leaving the area for medical care provided in Davidson County. For any serious health incident or concern, the hospital is often bypassed in favor of more respected healthcare facilities in Nashville (looking at you, Vanderbilt). The lack of available services and equipment at hospitals such as the TriStar Horizon Medical Center has become a real problem for those seeking the necessary medical attention.

Luckily, TriStar Horizon Medical Center has begun to implement over 30 million dollars worth of expansion and renovation projects over the last few years. Most importantly, they began construction of a brand-new 17 million dollar intensive care unit, which should be finished by the end of this year. With the addition of an ICU and a newly renovated cardiac catheterization unit, along with the expansion of their oncology office and imaging services, access to top-of-the-line healthcare services will no longer cost residents of Dickson a trip out of the county. These improvements come only after thousands of dollars in filing fees and countless hours spent submitting Certificate of Need applications to the Tennessee Health Services and Development Agency.

Unfortunately, this ‘happy ending’ is often not the case for many Tennessee citizens. This is where certificates of need come into play. Certificate of Need (CON) laws require healthcare providers to seek permission and prove there is a shortage of some medical services in the area in order to change, add, or reduce the services they provide. Intended to regulate healthcare costs and competition, the unintended consequences of CONs often make it difficult for Tennesseans to access adequate healthcare services. Currently, 22 counties in the state of Tennessee do not have hospitals, and 17 counties do not have emergency departments. Research shows that states that have CON requirements have fewer rural hospitals and rural ambulatory surgical centers. Eliminating these onerous regulations would make it easier for more providers like TriStar to further invest in underserved communities.

Tennessee has made progress in repealing and reforming its CON requirements. For example, legislation enacted in 2021 now exempts healthcare services and facilities from CON requirements in economically distressed counties without an existing hospital and allows previously licensed hospitals to open up opioid addiction treatment centers without obtaining an additional CON. However, there is still much work to be done. CON laws in Tennessee are still much more stringent compared to other states. Tennessee still requires a CON for nearly 20 different services by the state, while 15 states don’t require a CON at all and many other states’ CON regulations can at least be counted on one hand.

Tennessee must continue to take action to ensure that every citizen can access and receive the medical care that they deserve by continuing to reform and repeal CON laws. While those in Dickson County are fortunate enough to benefit from an approved Certificate of Need application, there are still many Tennesseeans that deserve increased access to healthcare and further investments in their health. This is unlikely without additional CON reform that permits more straightforward implementation of necessary healthcare services.