Governor Markell Lays out Vision to Position Delaware for Success in Years to Come

Photos from 2016 State of the State Address

Video of the 2016 State of the State Address

Final legislative and policy agenda seeks to leverage skilled workforce, high quality of life to create new opportunities for Delawareans

Dover, DE – In his final State of the State speech, Delaware Governor Jack Markell today proposed an agenda that positions Delaware to leverage its highly trained citizens and welcoming business climate to build opportunities for sustained job creation in an ever-changing economy. SOTS16

“It is our responsibility to provide Delawareans with the bridge to the life they want — workforce training for people who want to upgrade their skills; education that aligns with the knowledge they need in the new economy; affordable and high quality health care, safe communities, and more responsive government that supports their drive to succeed,” Markell said. “We have a lot more to do and new adversities to conquer. But our progress demonstrates that we are up to the challenge.”

“When I first stood before you, we faced a collapsing national economy and a growing deficit at a time of rapidly increasing demand for public services. As a result of the recession, more than five percent of Delaware’s jobs vanished. So we all got to work, improving our business climate and making difficult decisions to balance our budgets just as many Delawareans have had to do for their own. And we’ve done so while protecting the most vulnerable among us.”

“When we reflect on the challenges we have faced, we can be proud that even in the wake of the great recession, we did not settle for a return to the status quo.”

The Governor noted Delaware’s substantial progress over the past seven years:

  • Since the national economy bottomed out, Delaware’s job growth of 13 percent has outpaced all of our neighboring states, adding more than 50,000 jobs. During the past year alone an additional 13,700 Delawareans have found jobs.
  • Thanks to bipartisan compromise, construction workers are being put back on the job through investment of an additional nearly $400 million in roads and bridges over the next decade.
  • More students are graduating from high school – the best improvement of any state.
  • In 2011, only five percent of low-income kids attended the most highly rated early childhood programs. Today, that number has been increased to 59 percent.
  • A $5.6 million state investment in downtown areas in every county is leading to more than $114 million in private investment through the Downtown Development Districts program.
  • More veterans are finding jobs while fewer are living on the streets – during the past year, 284 homeless veterans were helped to get off the street.
  • Delaware ranks first in helping youth receiving social security disability benefits to successfully transition to employment.
  • Delaware’s air is cleaner – Delaware’s carbon dioxide emissions were reduced 16% from 2009 to 2013 – and recreational and cultural opportunities are more plentiful, from 50 miles of new trails to record investments in libraries and the arts community.
  • Prisons are less crowded – the statewide detention population has dropped 18 percent in two years and coordinated programs are helping to reduce recidivism.
  • Historic steps have been taken toward equality for Delaware’s vibrant LGBT community – legislation was enacted to approve marriage equality, prohibit discrimination based on a person’s sexual orientation, and provide transgender Delawareans the same rights to protection from discrimination and violence.

SOTS16Recently, the Governor’s office issued a series of one-page fact sheets that outline progress that has been achieved during the past seven years on a range of areas.  Read those fact sheets HERE.

“Today, the state of our state is stronger than it has been in years.”

Markell urged lawmakers and other leaders to support several program, policy, and legislative initiatives that build upon the state’s progress and meet the shared expectation that more can be done to move the state forward.



Growing Delaware’s economy by increasing access to job training

Last year, Markell announced the Delaware Promise, a partnership among the General Assembly, business community, and Delaware schools and colleges, to help ensure that 65 percent of our workforce will earn a college degree or professional certificate by 2025. Today he celebrated the progress of this initiative and announced its expansion.

“We help grow our economy by improving access to better education and training. Even as employment in our state has reached historic highs, we confront the odd reality that Delaware employers are hiring, but can’t find enough qualified applicants.”

  • Expand the availability of SEED higher education scholarships by expanding their benefits to part-time students and those who must take a break from their studies.
  • Expand the TechHire initiative beyond ZipCode Wilmington and add a new coding program at Delaware Tech, geared toward people who need to work part time while they train
  • Grow the Pathways to Prosperity initiative, which will create training opportunities this fall for 5,000 high school students to receive workplace experience and college credits that position them for careers in key industries. Business partners have agreed to double from 500 to 1000 the number of students who have the opportunity to work directly at a Delaware employer.
  • Increase the number of students studying computer programming to 1,000 by September, up from 80 two years ago.

Building a more affordable and welcoming place to do business

“Our strong workforce is the most important reason employers locate and expand in our state.  But we also know that our employers and entrepreneurs expect Delaware to be an affordable, welcoming place to do business.”

  • Enact legislation that helps Delaware businesses use online platforms to offer a stake in their companies to Delawareans. Much of this investing can be done through what is known as crowdfunding – a way for entrepreneurs to connect with investors.
  • Modernize our tax code to promote job creation through the Delaware Competes Act.

Sustaining responsible state finances

“Because of the work we have done over the last seven years, we are still one of a handful of states with a AAA credit rating. We have reduced headcount in executive branch agencies by nearly 5 percent, saved millions by changing the way we purchase energy, and renegotiated real estate leases. The biggest challenge we face is the sharply accelerating cost of health care.”

  • Build on efforts of the state’s healthcare community to move away from an expensive fee-for-service model and toward a system that emphasizes quality outcomes at an affordable cost.
  • Improve the long-term viability of state employee health plans by: giving employees information and better incentives to choose cost-effective, high quality care, like using urgent care instead of the emergency room or telemedicine instead of an office visit; and creating a new plan for future employees to limit changes for current employees.

Investing in quality education

“We have no better example of how higher expectations – along with significant additional resources, support, and innovation – have resulted in extraordinary progress than in our schools.  Over the past several years, our students, families, teachers, and staff have set and reached loftier goals in almost every possible way. And the more we have asked, the more they have achieved, like record high graduation rates – improving faster than any other state – while earning some of the nation’s best test scores in the early grades.”

  • Better support, retain, and attract high quality teachers by raising starting salaries and introducing opportunities for educators to earn more for taking on leadership responsibilities without leaving the classroom for administrative positions.
  • Provide stipends for educators who aren’t receiving compensation for their National Board Certification.

“As much as any other state, Delaware has committed to our youngest learners.”

  • Provide funding to give more low-income children access to high-quality early learning programs, well-educated teachers, and a healthy start.

Protecting public safety supporting reentry through common-sense criminal justice reforms

“More than 600 inmates are serving mandatory extended sentences because of Delaware’s habitual offender law. Today, a person can receive a mandatory life sentence solely for drug offenses, without any conviction for an act of physical violence. The cost to taxpayers of these automatic sentences and of keeping habitual offenders behind bars for decades is enormous.”

  • Reform sentencing laws to give judges discretion to sentence offenders on a case-by-case basis so that the state can focus limited resources on keeping dangerous offenders off the streets.
  • Amend Delaware law to remove the financial bar to exercising the right to vote. Right now, a person with a felony conviction can vote as soon as his or her sentence is complete, but only if he or she has paid all fines and fees.

Professional Licensing

“One way we must make strides towards a more equal society is by ensuring that everyone has a fair chance to build a better life. Many of our licensing and certification requirements are well-founded, however, some requirements may no longer be necessary and instead prevent many from pursuing professions in which they would thrive, particularly low-income individuals.”

  • Build on recent reforms to barber and cosmetology regulations by instructing executive branch agencies, along with the Chair of the Joint Sunset Committee to conduct a comprehensive analysis of licensing requirements, with input from board representatives and the public.

Increasing access to safe and effective contraception

“Delaware has one of the highest unplanned pregnancy rates in the country – 57 percent. When people become parents accidentally, we know the outcomes for them and their children, may be diminished. There are new methods that are much more effective than the pill – methods preferred by OB-GYNs and endorsed by the Centers for Disease Control – but here in Delaware our healthcare system doesn’t make it easy to choose these new methods.”

  • Launch a partnership with the national nonprofit Upstream USA to train our healthcare providers so that all Delaware women can conveniently access the full range of contraceptive choices at low or no-cost, consistent with federal law, which requires coverage and reimbursement for all contraceptives.

Treating addiction

“We have increased access to substance use treatments by as much as 100 percent, and we’ve made it easier for law enforcement, as well as friends and family, to help victims before it’s too late. These efforts are saving lives. I ask for your continued support in building on our progress.”

  • Fund a team of health care professionals who can serve more than 100 of our highest-need patients to provide the intensive services to end their constant cycle of hospitalization, withdrawal, and treatment.
  • Develop closer coordination between the Department of Health and Social Services and primary care doctors to screen for and identify more cases of substance abuse to reduce overall treatment costs and save more families from the anguish of a long battle with addiction.

The full remarks of Governor Markell’s 2016 State of the State address are posted at:


State of the State Address: Guests of Governor Markell

Dover, DE – Governor Markell delivers his annual State of the State Address today at 2:00 p.m. in Legislative Hall before members of the General Assembly, Cabinet members, and fellow Delawareans.

In addition to looking ahead to priorities for this year, the Governor will reflect on progress the state has made by “expecting more” during challenging times over the past seven years. Our series of one-page fact sheets covering a range of areas can be found here.

Several special guests who represent topics covered in the speech will attend at the invitation of Governor Markell.  These Delawareans serve as examples of those who have secured marketable skills to thrive in the state’s new economy, secured the opportunity for self-sufficiency through state and non-profit services, and represented the best of selfless service to others.  These guests are introduced below.

Members of the media interested in learning more or interviewing these individuals following the Governor’s address should email or Dawn

Dawn Milnamow recently completed a 12-week computer coding course at Zip Code Wilmington through the Delaware TechHire initiative.  Less than six months ago Dawn was struggling to get a full-time job. Last month she was hired by JP Morgan Chase in an information technology position which nearly tripled her annual salary.

-Alex Kotanides with Solar Unlimited, a Lewes-based renewable energy hot water heating system manufacturer that anticipates $1 million in sales to Mexico thanks to the state’s export initiatives.

Liza Bartle with Agilent Technologies represents private sector employers who have joined the Pathways to Prosperity Initiative, which places students with employers to learn valuable job skills that today’s employers need, from manufacturing to computer networking, health care, and culinary arts. Business partners are committing to increase the number of students who gain the opportunity to work directly with employers.

Cheyenne Hinson graduated this past year as a certified nursing assistant through the Generation USA youth employment program, a training program facilitated by the McKinsey Social Initiative that serves unemployed and underemployed youth.  Through this training, Cheyenne has overcome the challenges of unemployment to secure a position in a Wilmington-area healthcare facility, and recently earned a promotion.

Alisson Murillo Navas is among the more than 4,000 students who have received SEED scholarships at Delaware Tech over the past five years.  Alisson, who enrolled at Delaware Tech this past fall as a SEED student majoring in biological sciences, had a successful fall semester but lost her scholarship because she was one credit short of being a full-time student as she tried to juggle her academics with a part-time job.  Alisson remains enrolled in coursework and plans to continue her pre-med education after graduating from Delaware Tech.

Briana Congo participated in Project SEARCH, a workforce development collaboration among state agencies, local public schools, and Christiana Care to prepare people with disabilities for employment.  Briana was placed at Christiana Care as a SEARCH intern, where she received work-based learning experiences that positioned her for employment, and she was subsequently hired by Christiana Care as a Materials Handler. Briana

-During a 24-hour period beginning last Christmas Eve, Newark Police Corporal Marc Difrancesco personally responded to three separate reports of individuals found unresponsive because of an overdose. Through a change in Delaware law that allowed police to carry and administer the overdose-reducing drug naloxone, all three of those individuals were saved.

Chief Warrant Officer Lloyd Massey and Master Sergeant Kevin Reading represent the hundreds of Delaware National Guard servicemembers who have deployed around the world during the past year.  Chief Warrant Officer Massey, a member of the Operational Support Airlift Agency, recently completed a deployment to the Horn of Africa and Master Sergeant Reading was stationed in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Yashika Bailey is an Air Force veteran who had been facing homelessness and unemployment.  She has been able to land back on her feet through housing that she initially received through a local non-profit and an apartment she’s now renting with assistance from a government-sponsored housing program.  Yashika has also secured employment and is serving her state as a member of the Delaware Air National Guard.



Governor Announces Grants to 15 High Schools to Support Delaware Students in Key Fields

Nearly $500,000 provided to support Pathways to Prosperity initiative to prepare students to excel in today’s economy

Dover, DE – With the support of grants announced by Governor Markell today, 15 Delaware high schools, spread across the state, will launch intensive programs in the fall to prepare students to excel in key fields that offer good job opportunities in the new economy. The grants, totaling nearly $500,000, are part of the Governor’s Pathways to Prosperity initiative, initially previewed in his State of the State address.

“Every Delaware student must have access to an education that best prepares him or her for our changing world – a world in which it is more important than ever for our citizens to have the right skills,” said Markell. ” Pathways to Prosperity is establishing the necessary partnerships with Delaware employers, universities, and school districts to prepare students for a bright future in high-demand fields and careers.”PathwaystoProsperity

Grant funds will be used by school districts to implement career and technical education programs in Biomedical Science, Computer Science, Culinary Arts & Hospitality Management, and Engineering beginning in the 2015 – 2016 school year. Through this effort, students will take hundreds of hours of specialized instruction and hands-on training. They will have the opportunity to graduate with workplace experience and college credits for courses that are most relevant to those industries, giving them a head start on getting a job and earning a degree.

Each program was developed in partnership with Delaware employers and institutions of higher education. The Department of Education is providing curriculum support for each pathway as well as training for teachers to successfully implement the coursework. In addition, the Department is working on agreements with Delaware colleges to ensure that students who complete a program will be eligible for college credit at one or more institutions of higher education in the state.

“We are proud to support our school systems as they implement rigorous career and technical programs, and create opportunities for all children to find success after high school,” said Secretary of Education Mark Murphy, who is leading the state’s investment of its federal career & technical education funding to defray the cost of providing these programs.

An additional $500,000 will be made available in the fall of 2015 to fund programs for the following school year.  Districts will be able to use that funding in a variety of ways to support students and staff, and to provide the services and materials required to offer courses and hands-on training opportunities.  More information on each program and the list of school districts that received grants is available on the Department of Education’s website at

“The turnaround time on developing a plan and applying for the grant was incredibly short, so I am extremely impressed with the districts that have shown the determination to provide these opportunities to their students as soon as possible, and that rose to the occasion to get pathways off the ground so quickly,” said Markell. “Students across our state can benefit from workplace learning and high-quality training in growth industries and all of us will benefit from having our students ready for college and a career in the new economy.”

Building on Success

The new pathways build on the accelerated career path program the state launched in manufacturing this school year when Colonial and New Castle County Vo-tech School Districts partnered with Delaware Tech and the Delaware Manufacturing Association. More than 30 juniors in New Castle County are spending part of each week at Delaware Tech. They learn math and other skills most important for that industry and work with equipment, aiming to earn industry-recognized credentials and college credit before they graduate. This summer, they will receive paid internships at Delaware companies like Agilent Technologies, PPG, Kuehne, and Siemens.

Grant Recipients

Appoquinimink School District

Appoquinimink High School – Computer Science and Engineering

Middletown High School – Engineering

Brandywine School District

Brandywine High School – Culinary Arts & Hospitality Management

Mount Pleasant High School – Culinary Arts & Hospitality Management

Caesar Rodney School District

Caesar Rodney High School – Culinary Arts & Hospitality Management

Christina School District

Glasgow High School – Biomedical Sciences

Colonial School District

William Penn High School – Culinary Arts & Hospitality Management

Laurel School District

Laurel High School – Biomedical Sciences and Culinary Arts & Hospitality Management

New Castle County Vo-Tech School District

Paul M. Hodgson Vo-Tech High School – Engineering

Newark Charter High School – Computer Science and Engineering

Polytech School District

Polytech High School – Engineering

Red Clay School District

McKean High School – Culinary Arts & Hospitality Management

Seaford School District

Seaford High School – Culinary Arts & Hospitality Management

Smyrna School District

Smyrna High School – Engineering

Sussex Academy – Engineering

Four Pathways

Biomedical Sciences and Engineering Pathways

Curriculum and assessments are developed in partnership with business and industry, and higher education, with course specific professional development offered to teachers by higher education partners. The Biomedical capstone course requires students to conduct scientific research with industry partners.  The Engineering capstone course requires students to design an invention in partnership with an industry panel.

Key partners include: the University of Delaware, Delaware State University, Delaware Tech, and Project Lead The Way.

Computer Science Pathway

The computer science pathway includes two advanced placement courses, a curriculum developed in partnership with business, industry, and higher education, and course-specific professional development offered for teachers by higher education partners. Both AP courses require students to engage with business and industry partners to design websites and applications, and develop methods for data collection and disaggregation.

Key partners include: the University of Delaware, Delaware State University, Delaware Tech,, and The College Board.

Culinary Arts & Hospitality Management

Students benefit from an industry-focused mentorship, a curriculum developed in partnership with business and industry and higher education, and course-specific professional development for teachers. They will have the chance to earn the ProStart Certificate of Achievement, which signifies a strong foundation in management and culinary skill that includes both technical knowledge and 400 hours of mentored work-based learning experience.

Key partners include: the University of Delaware, Delaware Tech, the National Restaurant Association, and the Delaware Restaurant Association, which will help arrange mentors and work-based learning opportunities.


Governor Launches Pathways to Prosperity Initiative for Delaware Students

Photos from today’s event

More than $1 million in grant funding to support schools offering intensive training and credentials in key industries

Newark, DE – School districts will have access to programs that prepare high school students to thrive in growing industries under a statewide effort announced by Governor Markell today. Initially previewed in the Governor’s State of the State address, the Pathways to Prosperity initiative will establish partnerships with Delaware employers, universities, and school districts to prepare students for a bright future in high-demand fields and careers. Markell said the state is dedicating more than $1 million of its federal career and technical education funding over the next year to offer school districts grants to defray the cost of providing these programs.

Through this effort, students will take hundreds of hours of specialized instruction and hands-on training. They will have the opportunity to graduate with industry-recognized certificates and with college credits for courses that are most relevant to those industries, giving them a head start on getting a job and earning a degree.PathwaystoProsperity

“Today, we take an important step toward ensuring that Delaware will be one of those places where students of today and of generations to come will enter the workforce fully armed with the skills to compete for good jobs, develop new innovations, and make the most of their extraordinary talents,” said Markell, who thanked business leaders, including Delaware Workforce Investment Board Chair and Delmarva Power President Gary Stockbridge, for their commitment to offering Delaware students the most relevant training.

The Governor spoke at the Delmarva Power Conference Center where leaders from the business and education community gathered at a Pathways to Prosperity Conference. School district representatives had the opportunity to ask questions of industry leaders, college representatives, and government officials about the process of starting these programs.

The co-leader of the national Pathways to Prosperity Network at Harvard University, Bob Schwartz, also spoke about national and state workforce needs and the importance of more opportunities like these for students to find a path to a successful career in industries with many available jobs.

“We have long known that educational attainment is tied to career success,” said Schwartz. “What’s different now is that it’s no longer simply about how much education you get, but specifically whether you are learning the right skills. The types of career and technical education programs we’re discussing today are increasingly valuable.”

Program Details

This fall, the state will launch pathways statewide in information technology and computer science in partnership with, as well as in the culinary arts and hospitality industries in partnership with the Delaware Restaurant Association. The following year, the Department of Education will expand the network to include two more of the state’s fastest growing industries – financial services and healthcare.PathwaystoProsperity

Markell said the state is already seeing that this model can work when employers work with education leaders to develop the programs. He cited the manufacturing pathway started last fall when Colonial and New Castle County Vo-tech School Districts partnered with Delaware Tech and the Delaware Manufacturing Association. More than 30 juniors in New Castle County are spending part of each week at Delaware Tech. They learn math and other skills most important for that industry and work with equipment. Those students are already making great progress and, this summer, they’ll get paid internships at Delaware companies like Agilent Technologies, PPG, Kuehne and Siemens.

“The manufacturing program has demonstrated the power of partnering our business community and college with school districts to create a curriculum that engages students in learning skills most valued in the economy,” said Delaware Tech President Mark Brainard. “Delaware Tech has an important role in these efforts given our work with industry to shape our course offerings. We look forward to taking part in other pathways so that students in more fields receive the most beneficial classroom instruction and hands-on training opportunities to prepare them for jobs in growing industries.”

Markell announced today that the Department of Education is making available more than $500,000 this spring to support school districts that adopt these programs. An additional $500,000 will be make available in the fall to fund programs for the following school year. Districts will be able to use that funding in a variety of ways to support students and staff, and to provide the services and materials required to offer courses and hands-on training opportunities.

The Department is providing curriculum support for each pathway program and has secured articulation agreements with Delaware colleges to ensure that students who complete a program will be eligible for college credit at one or more institutions of higher education.

The second half of today’s conference is focused on giving school district representatives the opportunity to ask questions and learn more about the individual programs. More information on each program and funding applications for districts are available on the Department of Education’s website at

“As our world is transformed by new technology, jobs of the past are now outsourced to other countries or handled by machines. However, incredible opportunities exist for those who can use that technology and for those whose abilities fit with the changing needs of growing industries,” said Markell. “Every Delaware student must have access to an education that best prepares him or her for this new era. That’s why we are here today.”


Governor Markell Presents Vision for Delaware to Thrive in a New Era

Photos from today’s event

Video of the State of the State remarks

Full remarks as prepared for delivery

State of the State agenda would create opportunities for Delawareans to embrace a bright future amidst a changing economy

Dover, DE – Governor Markell set his agenda for 2015 today, laying out a vision for Delaware to meet the challenges of the new economy and thrive in an era of technological innovation as the state builds on significant economic progress of the past few years.SOTS

Saying the state continues to grow stronger, the Governor pointed to job growth that consistently outpaced the national average over the past 24 months. It has been the fourth fastest in the country over the past year.

“Six years ago, we faced an economy in freefall and a budget deficit that was skyrocketing,” said Markell as he delivered his annual State of the State address. “Tens of thousands of our friends and neighbors would lose their jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars of tough decisions needed to be made to keep our state afloat and serving its citizens. Dark times. But we knew if we worked together, we could help move our state to a brighter future. Which is why it gives me so much pleasure to be able to start today with this fact: There are more people working in Delaware now than at any time in our state’s history.”

In highlighting recent stories of job growth across the state, Markell announced today that Perdue is following up on its commitment by moving its agribusiness headquarters to Sussex County, adding 150 Delaware jobs.

“We have made great progress, but our rapidly changing economy poses significant challenges,” said Markell. “We can overcome these challenges if we embrace our future and seize the opportunities of a new era.”

Markell urged lawmakers and other state leaders to recognize that globalization and digital technology have transformed the economy. He said these forces threaten to leave many people behind as jobs are outsourced to other countries or new technology, but they also offer extraordinary opportunities if the state trains a skilled workforce, makes smart investments in innovation and infrastructure, and gives everyone a chance to reach their potential.

Embracing A Bright future for Delawareans in the New Economy

Announcing the Delaware Promise

“I ask the General Assembly, our schools, our colleges, and our businesses to join me in committing to the Delaware Promise… By 2025, 65 percent of our workforce will earn a college degree or professional certificate. Everyone will earn at least a high school diploma.”

Markell announced three parts of the strategy to fulfill this promise.

  • Create opportunities for high school students to graduate prepared for a bright future in key industries, with industry-recognized certificates and college credits. This Pathways to Prosperity initiative, which involves school districts, colleges, and employers working together with the state, will begin this fall with programs in the IT, manufacturing, and hospitality industries. Health care and financial services will be added next year.
  • Accelerate training of entry-level health care workers by Delaware Tech, which, through a partnership with a national organization, will offer opportunities to youth who have completed the Jobs for Delaware Graduates program for the most at-risk students.
  • Address shortage of qualified IT professionals by connecting major employers with accelerated education programs and a “coding school” launching this fall, both of which will help train a new cohort of skilled programmers in months rather than years.

Strengthening Delaware Schools

  • Attract and retain top teachers by improving the educator compensation system with higher starting salaries and opportunities for educators to earn more by taking on leadership responsibilities while remaining in the classroom. A detailed proposal will be offered this spring by a committee formed by the Governor and General Assembly.
  • Examine ways to spur more innovation in schools and address inequities for high-need students through a school funding task force.

Increasing Job Opportunities for People with Disabilities

SOTS“Everyone can contribute to our state when given the chance, but efforts to expand our workforce have traditionally excluded people with disabilities. They miss out on the fulfillment of gainful employment, and employers miss out on the talents of so many.”

  • Launch two programs through the Department of Health and Social Services to support youth with disabilities in planning careers and provide specialized employment supports for adults with mental health needs and substance use disorders.

Spurring Business Innovation and Growth

“Just as every student – every current and future worker – deserves a fair chance to adapt to the new economy, we must ensure that Delaware businesses can embrace the future and make the most of their opportunities.”

  • Eliminate red tape through regular review of old regulations and by requiring regulatory impact statements for new regulations.

Investing in Infrastructure

“The condition of our roads and bridges will deteriorate without more investment. It’s that simple.  On the other hand, investing in our infrastructure will promote long-term economic activity, while reducing commute times and improving road safety. And in the short term, we can put thousands of people to work.”

  • Following up on the investment proposal the Governor offered last year, he told legislators: “Bring me your ideas on how to fund our infrastructure responsibly, and I will work with you to pass and sign legislation to accomplish this important goal.”

Embracing a Bright Future for Wilmington

“Over the past several months, I have been approached by hundreds of Wilmingtonians who love their city. They believe, as I do, that state officials have a profound responsibility to address violent crime. I’m confident that solutions exist… We need to do more to ensure that we take the most effective approach to fighting crime. And we need to do it now.”

  • Conduct a rapid, fact-based, intensive examination of public safety strategies in the City through a commission to be established by a Joint Resolution. Working with an outside expert, Public Safety Secretary Lew Schiliro and New Castle County Public Safety Director Joe Bryant will lead the group, which will make recommendations that can be acted on by the City and by the General Assembly this session if necessary.

Embracing the Future of Criminal Justice and Rehabilitation

“We know that one of the best ways we can build a safer city and state is to improve the chance that those who were involved with our criminal justice system can get a job when they return to their communities.”

  • Eliminate automatic suspension of driver’s licenses for Delawareans who have difficulty paying fines and fees, but don’t pose a traffic safety hazard, as they work to put their lives on track.
  • Expand job training programs at correctional facilities, including auto mechanics and culinary arts, the second of which would be named the Matt Haley Culinary Art Program in memory of the noted Delaware restaurateur and philanthropist who credited culinary training in prison with turning his life around.SOTS

Treating Addiction

“I would guess everyone in this chamber knows someone who has been touched by substance use disorder. And the problem is growing. Heroin incidents more than doubled in 2012 alone. Last year, Delaware saw a death from an overdose an average of every other day. That means someone’s father, mother, or child died yesterday, and tomorrow we’ll lose another father, mother, or child.”

  • Make substantial investment in a more flexible treatment system that meets the needs of individuals challenged by addiction where they are, as opposed to relying on a “one size fits all” model, while supporting education, prevention, and early intervention.

Ending Veteran Homelessness

“Recognizing our special obligation to veterans, nothing should disturb us more than the high rate of homelessness among former service members.”

  • End veteran homelessness in Delaware by the end of 2015 through a plan to be released by the State Housing Authority and the Department of Health and Social Services.