Delaware GOP derides state’s standing under Democrats

Delaware Republican Party Chairwoman Jane Brady addresses job growth in Delaware during a press conference in Dover Thursday. (Special to the Delaware State News/Gary Emeigh)

DOVER — The Delaware Republican Party maintained Thursday that correlated economic opportunities and student performance have been stunted under Democratic leadership and more voices are needed to change course.

That opinion came during a roughly 7 1/2-minute press conference presentation from state GOP chairwoman Jane Brady, who pointed to charts and graphs derived from the Caesar Rodney Institute and Delaware Department of Education, plotting a historical view of the state’s annual per capita income since 1982, among other metrics.

According to the numbers cited by the GOP, Delaware per capita income that once rated fifth-highest in the nation in the early 2000s and stood 21st overall in 2018.

Also, Ms. Brady said, Delaware’s annual job growth that was 3.1% from 1982-97 and 1.6% from 1998-2005 dropped to 0.1% from 2006-19.

“By these important measures, Delaware is not growing and advancing, but is declining,” she said.

Attempts to reach the Delaware Democratic Party for comment Thursday were not immediately successful.

The job growth numbers were critical, according to Ms. Brady, and zero-percent growth was projected for 2020 even before the COVID-19 pandemic arrived.

“We’re undermining our ability to attract business. We’re undermining our ability for our kids to stay in Delaware to work,” Ms. Brady said.

“Our kids are moving outside the state to find jobs. … We’re losing good people from Delaware because of the combination of government policy, our education system, and lack of creativity, imagination and leadership in the legislature and governor’s mansion.”

A decline in the ability to do business without government interference, Ms. Brady said, has negatively affected “a lot of other institutions,” including education.

Continuing with her presentation at the Kent County Republican headquarters, Ms. Brady cited DOE numbers showing proficiency rates for Delaware students as 52% in English and 42% in math. Also, she said the numbers show that 58% of students leave school “college or career bound.”

The numbers show that education is directly linked to economic success in Delaware, Ms. Brady said.

“[It] means that companies are not going to come to Delaware if they’re not going to have people who are competent to work for them and can master the skills and technology needed to be contributors to the business at hand,” she said.

Ms. Brady said a lack of confidence in the state’s educational system has driven many employees in New Castle County to live in Pennsylvania, where they buy homes, groceries, automobiles and more, creating a further economic drain.

The GOP said it made the public presentation heading into Tuesday’s election because “We are advocating that people should be aware of this before they vote. They should vote to balance the government in Delaware, bring Republican leadership back to some portion of statewide offices, the General Assembly and the governor’s office.

“In Congress this would make a difference (as well). …”