Governor’s Weekly Message Transcript: Growing the Economy by Strengthening Our Downtowns

We recognize that much of our economy’s future growth must be driven by the vibrancy of our downtowns. More Americans are seeking dynamic and exciting urban environments and our ability to continue to create opportunities for Delawareans will depend, in large part, on whether we meet these demands. That’s the motivation behind the Downtown Development District program, which celebrated the designation of its first three districts this week.

After receiving impressive proposals from cities and towns across the state, we selected Seaford, Dover and Wilmington to have their downtowns and surrounding areas designated for economic development incentives. Each city’s plans demonstrates the impact that development incentives can have and the tremendous potential of downtown revitalization. While Seaford has many abandoned properties, it has shovel-ready projects waiting for just a little extra financial boost to get started.Dover has lined up an impressive array of partners: developers, realtors, not-for-profits, a sustainable utility, and banks, as well as affordable housing and social service providers to support their efforts. And Wilmington’s plan would effectively build on downtown revitalization efforts underway, not only through projects proposed for the Market Street Corridor, but also by investing in neighborhoods on the east and west sides.

We remain focused on ways to give our cities the best chance to thrive and we see Downtown Development Districts as a key part of the solution. With the support of leadership in each of these districts, along the residents, businesses, and not-for-profit communities who live and work there, we can generate a surge of real estate, cultural and business activity to jumpstart progress in areas that have long been overlooked. And that will keep Delaware moving forward.

Governor’s Weekly Message: Growing the Economy by Strengthening Our Downtowns

Governor’s Weekly Message Transcript: Ensuring Economic Opportunity For All Delawareans

We can only reach our potential as a state if we maximize the potential of our people. At the core of that mission is our responsibility to ensure economic opportunity is available for all Delawareans. While our work toward that goal never ends, we can be proud of the progress made toward that goal during the legislative season that ended this week.

We supported our job creators by reducing workers compensation rates to bring down the cost of doing business, while increasing tax credits for small businesses and investing in innovative research and development. We have improved access to the education and training Delawareans need by giving students the chance to receive exposure to college courses or earn professional manufacturing credentials before they graduate. Much of our state’s untapped potential lies in our cities, and the Downtown Development Districts program we started will provide incentives that encourage development in urban areas.

Any successful society needs great schools and great schools require great teachers. That’s why we established a plan to attract new teachers with higher starting salaries and to keep great teachers in the classroom by giving them the chance to earn more through leadership roles. And we are reforming our criminal justice system, recognizing that the majority of ex-offenders will reenter our communities. The most reliable indicator of whether they will successfully reintegrate and contribute is whether they can find employment, so we’ve taken steps like ensuring they have a fair chance to get a job interview.

We have done all of this while balancing the budget and staying true the principles that have consistently earned us a triple-A bond rating. By spending taxpayers’ money wisely and keeping our focus on economic opportunity for all of our people, we’ll keep Delaware moving forward.

Governor’s Weekly Message Transcript: Expanding Broadband Access to Strengthen Our Economy

The internet has created countless possibilities that touch nearly every aspect of our lives. Rapidly developing broadband technology has led to incredible opportunities for businesses to expand, while improving the ability of teachers to serve students, doctors to serve patients and first responders to protect our public safety. To give everyone a fair shot to reach their potential, we must ensure everyone can learn about and take advantage of up-to-date online technology.

I’m proud of Delaware’s consistent ranking as one of the best broadband states, but we also face a challenge seen across the nation. Americans in rural areas are significantly less likely to have access. So we’ve made rural expansion of high-speed broadband a priority. We just announced the completion of a fiber line that runs through Sussex County to Georgetown. And we’re building on that by making a grant available to private companies to use the new line to deliver better technology to key sites in Sussex County. This will significantly increase internet speeds at schools, libraries, health care facilities and locations that provide vital government services. We’ll also create jobs in the construction phase and businesses, farms and homes throughout the area will see their connections improve. We announced the grant at La Red Health Center, where CEO Brian Olson highlighted the benefits that they’ve already realized through telemedicine. And he described how improved broadband service means better care for patients and families who no longer have to drive hours to see a certain specialist.

By expanding the benefits of broadband, we’ll create economic opportunity and improve the quality of life for our people, and we’ll keep Delaware moving forward.

Governor’s Weekly Transcript: Shoring Up Delaware’s Response to Natural Disasters

As extreme weather events become more frequent, our obligation to keep the public safe must include limiting damage to our homes, businesses, and infrastructure. With the support of our congressional delegation, we just announced seven million dollars in federal funding for projects to restore coastal areas impacted by Hurricane Sandy and to increase the resilience of the Delaware Bayshore, which has been degraded by severe flooding and erosion. It will build on work underway to repair and improve dikes along the Delaware River and to nourish our beaches. All of this will help reduce the risks to our people, while protecting valuable economic resources. And these projects have the added economic benefit of supporting Delaware jobs. But, we also need your help.

The beginning of a new hurricane season is a reminder that we need Delawareans to act now to prepare for the next disaster, whether it happens in six days, six weeks or six months. This past week, our Council of Faith-Based Partnerships organized a workshop for leaders of houses of worship across the state, so they could learn about ways to partner with the state in preventing and responding to disasters. Everyone should have a plan. We ask people and families to spend a few hours figuring out: Where would you go? What would you need? Please visit for more information on how your family can be better prepared. We can’t stop natural disasters, but by taking preventative steps now, we’ll mitigate the damage, and we’ll keep Delaware moving forward.

Governor’s Weekly Message Transcript: Addressing the Effects of Climate Change

Climate change threatens the future we want for ourselves and for generations to come. Rising sea levels along with more powerful and frequent storms like Hurricane Irene and Superstorm Sandy put Delaware families and businesses at risk. Our largest industry – agriculture – faces severe conditions that harm crops. We know we can’t afford to see what happens next before we act. So we’re limiting future damage by nourishing beaches, repairing dikes and dams, and modernizing stormwater infrastructure. But we must also address the root causes of climate change and that means reducing carbon pollution from our power plants – the largest source of dirty emissions.

This past week the Environmental Protection Agency announced an effort to cut this pollution by 30 percent nationwide. And their approach encourages states to follow Delaware’s model. By shutting down or cleaning up our dirtiest plants, we achieved faster emissions reductions than any other state. And we’ve joined eight other states in a partnership that has reduced our combined emissions by 40 percent. We’re using cleaner power sources; reducing energy bills through efficiency; and creating opportunities for research, manufacturing, and construction jobs to support a cleaner energy economy.

To highlight Delaware’s success, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy visited construction of Calpine’s Garrison Energy Center here in Dover. That project is creating hundreds of construction jobs by replacing an old coal plant with a natural gas facility that will produce cleaner and more cost-effective power. We must continue to build on the progress we’ve made, and we’re committed to helping meet EPA’s ambitious goals. By recognizing the environmental, health and economic benefits of using the right approach to combat climate change, we’ll keep Delaware moving forward.