On Tuesday, September 9 Delaware voters will go to the polls to determine the winners of the 2014 Delaware Primary races. In the Milford area, Pat Emory and Gary Wolfe are running to represent the Democratic Party as the candidate for State Senate in the 18th District. Only registered Democrats can vote in the Democratic Primary. The winner of this election will challenge incumbent Senator Gary Simpson in the November elections. Polls are open from 7 am until 8pm on Tuesday, September 9. Voters can find their polling place location online at https://ivote.de.gov.
Pat Emory, Candidate for 18th Senate District, Democratic Party
Occupation: Director of the Office of Community Services for the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control,former Director of the Division of Fish and Wildlife
Family: Judy (spouse) Hunter (son 27) and Janna (daughter 24)
Education: Graduated Milford High School, BS from Salisbury University in Salisbury MD
Currently a member of the Milford School District Board of Education, former Director of the Division of Fish and Wildlife and past President of the Northeast Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies
1. Why are you running for the Delaware State Senate?
I am running because I am tired of partisan politics in our state that interfere with moving us forward as a community. Creating jobs, educating children, caring for our elderly and protecting our environment aren’t Democrat or Republican issues. They are Delaware issues and we need to come together to solve them.
2. What personal or professional background will be critical to performing the duties of State Senate?
I have lived here all of my life. My family has lived here for seven generations and I have a deep respect for our community and its many stake holders. I was the Director of Fish and Wildlife for nearly eight years, so I know how to manage a large organization and make decisions that improve our state. I am currently the Legislative liaison for DNREC, so I see the legislative process on a daily basis. I know many of the legislators personally and I am ready to build consensus with them from day one to bring common sense solutions.
3. Name a specific example of something the Delaware State Senate has done to improve the quality of life for citizens in Delaware.
One thing that comes to mind is the bill sponsored by Senators Liane Sorenson and Catherine Cloutier, S.22 requiring up to $36,000 in coverage for Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), an evidence-based, medically necessary autism therapy. This compels insurance carriers to provide the needed medical coverage for some of Delaware’s most vulnerable citizens. Caring for the neediest among us is one of the things I believe we have a moral obligation.
4. Name a specific example of something you would like to change in your first term if you are elected to the Delaware Senate.
I think there is a lot of work to be done in education.I would propose a bill that gives parents the right to opt out of high stakes testing in our schools. The emphasis on testing in our schools has distracted from what our goal is: to educate the whole child. We need to make sure content areas like the art, music, and physical education in school are valued as well. Testing and state mandates have curtailed these. I am ready to say no to the test and yes to what’s best for kids.
5. What issues do you feel are important to the residents of Milford, Delaware specifically?
Economic development is probably the most pressing issue. When our economy is growing and people can get good paying jobs a lot of other problems work themselves out. If elected, I plan to work with local leaders such as Mayor Shupe and the City Council to further the city’s mission of economic development.
6. How will you offer help to the City of Milford’s focus on economic development?
I look at some of things that Mayor Shupe has done so far and I think that he has the right idea. Developing a strong relationship with the Delaware Economic Development Office (DEDO) to expand on programs like the Rural Business Accelerator and Project Pop-Up have brought businesses to Milford. As a state legislator I would see my job as someone who helps cut the red tape that stands in the way of economic development. I want the city to know that when they need assistance, my door would open.
7. Does the state spend too much money? And if so, where would you specifically cut spending?
This is a really complicated question with a simple answer: yes. Any place we can save money, we should. We should talk to each agency in the state and have them make proposals on ways to become leaner and more efficient. When I was Director of Fish and Wildlife we instituted a program to deal with harvested deer no one wanted. These were deer harvested by hunters during the traditional season or through the deer damage assistance program to stop crop damage. The process fee for each deer was $45, so the program needed to come up with an innovative solution to reduce cost and maintain quality control. We partnered with the Department of Corrections, established a butcher shop through their system, which in turn certified the participants with a skill and turned this into a resource. The initial processing fee went from $45 to $8 Now deer are processed and sent to the Food Bank through a very low cost system.
8. If elected, how will you affect the quality of public education in your district?
Equalization funding is my number one issue for education. It is complex finance issue that uses an archaic formula that often makes small districts like Milford, Woodbridge, and Lake Forest send funds to wealthier districts. It is my job as a legislator to build consensus and get a bill passed to replace this system with a more equitable one. Milford School District may not even need to have a referendum for operations if these funding formulas were fair. The other issue I see in public education is state’s punitive and often misguided evaluation of schools and teachers. Quite frankly local boards, educators and parents know what is best for students, not officials in Dover and Washington. We need to empower these decision makers to improve education. We have been high stakes testing for over a decade now. If this was going to work, it would have already. It’s time to for new direction.
9. Why should voters choose you on Tuesday, September 9?
I care deeply about our area and its success. Other than when I was in college, I have lived here my whole life. My children live here. I see so many opportunities for us to make our community better by bringing citizens together. I feel that I have the experience, personality and knowledge to do this. I am ready to work with the legislature on day one to improve educational opportunities and bring more jobs to our district in a fiscally responsible way. Please give me that opportunity.
More information on Pat Emory can be found online at http://www.patemory.org.