Election 2020: 34th Representative District

Name: Lyndon D. Yearick

Lyndon Yearick

Party: Republican

Age: 55

Family: Married to Janice Yearick, children Daniel, Lynzi and Brandon

Residence: Magnolia

Occupation: Design support specialist

Name: Adewunmi “Ade” Kuforiji

Adewunmi Kuforiji

Party: Democratic

Age: 49

Family: Two children

Residence: Dover

Occupation: School district chief financial officer

Why are you running for this seat?

LY: After three successful terms in office, I have proven my accountability to the people of the 34th District, while staying committed to my core convictions and principles. I remain dedicated to improving the lives of all Delawareans and working together to implement solutions to the challenges we face. I am running to continue my work to support the district to support safe and secure neighborhoods, job creation, team with our education system, and install fiscal responsibility.

Here are some specific examples of my work: Working to improve our economy as a member of the Delaware Prosperity Partnership and the House Small Business Caucus; Promoting our agriculture industry, tourism, and small businesses; Defending the 2nd Amendment; Supporting our families and working to improve our public education system; Advocating for law enforcement and public safety; Listening to my constituents with town halls and ongoing communication; Improving the roads and sidewalks in the 34th District

AK: To be a voice for people that don’t have anyone speaking for them at the decision-making table. Ensure that health care is in place for infants, children and seniors. To support the teachers, administrators and support staff that educate our children and make sure decision-making is left to them as the trained professionals that they are.

What do you see as the major issues for this district?

LY: One-party rule in our state is obstructing this progress by favoring ideology over good ideas. The unfortunate results are readily apparent. Public education costs more, but produces students that are less prepared to meet their futures. We waste time debating legislation that pointlessly affects law-abiding gun owners, while neglecting our underperforming economy and actions that could create new quality jobs.

AK: There needs to be a push to access vocational training and educational opportunities for people to get the job skills needed to obtain employment. Attracting businesses to the area would be beneficial for the development of the district. There are communities in the district that need to have road work addressed.

What is the biggest problem facing the state, and how would you solve it?

LY: Neighborhood safety: I will continue my work with law enforcement, EMS, fire companies and communities to improve the safety in our neighborhoods. I believe public safety is the top priority for government at any level

Fiscal responsibility: We need to reform our state employees’ health insurance and Medicaid programs to establish more individual responsibility and accountability.

Economic development: I will continue my work with the Delaware Prosperity Partnership and focus on three of our leading industries: agriculture, tourism and small businesses.

AK: I think the state budget in the next few years could be challenging as a result of the pandemic. Making decisions about balancing the budget will be intense. We need to evaluate programs we fund and the success they provide. We should keep programs that have the most benefit and impact to our citizens. We should talk with employees in agencies to find ways to save money. They have great ideas that are overlooked. There will be tough conversations around revenues as well.

What would you like to see Delaware do differently regarding coronavirus?

LY: We need reopen our state to 100%. We have flattened the curve and understand our high-risk populations. We have devastated our economy, mental health systems, individuals who suffer with substance abuse problems and our drastically damaged long-term care facilities. I believe that individuals can and will make the best possible choices for their health, family’s health and community.

AK: I think the state has handled the pandemic well. The governor and the team have relied on science, public health experts and the CDC and have been prudent in making decisions. They have been flexible enough to adjust the plans as appropriate.

How should our health care system change in response to coronavirus?

LY: We need to reform the Health Resources Board’s board that implements the Certificate of Need (CON) law. This law requires anyone planning expansion of any health care service in Delaware to submit their expansion plans to the HRB for prior approval. We should allow health care services to expand without the submission of plans. We need to continue our efforts to recruit additional primary care providers.

AK: Develop a methodology for rapidly creating tests to identify/detect symptoms of coronavirus and future virus.

What do you believe schools should do to educate students while keeping people safe from COVID-19?

LY: We should increase the days our students receive in-person instruction. I believe our schools can provide safe environments for their students, staff and families. Young adults have shown the least likely results of testing positive of COVID.

AK: Follow the lead and direction that the state, through the governor and the Division of Public Health have been providing. Science should help guide decisions and not economics. “We can fix the economy but can’t bring people back from the dead” – paraphrase of New York Gov. Cuomo. School districts are preparing to educate students remotely, hybrid and in person as appropriate.

What should the state do to help both businesses and workers right now?

LY: We need to allow all businesses to reopen at 100%. The businesses can make the best possible decisions on how to provide a safe and secure environment for their employees, customers and community. The $100 million from the CARES Act will help however; I believe individuals can make responsible and safe decisions for their livelihoods. In addition, not all consumers will return to their pre-COVID practices of shopping, dining, etc.

AK: The state is providing financial aid to businesses impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. Up to $100,000,000 in grants is being made available to small businesses and nonprofit organizations. The Delaware Division of Small Business started accepting applications early September. The funds can be used to address issues caused by the pandemic. Go to delbiz.com/relief for details.

The governor, through Executive Order 43, created the Rapid Workforce Training and Redeployment Training Initiative to assist workers and their families who have lost jobs and income due to the COVID-19 crisis. This program will help workers learn and update their skills to help them get back into the workforce.

What do you think of the current level of state spending?

LY: It is unsustainable as we increase spending 4% a year and our economy grows less than 2% a year. At our current level, we cannot financially meet the short- or long-term spending obligations, especially our long-term health care expenditures and pension obligations for our retirees. We need to reform our state employees’ health insurance and Medicaid programs to establish more individual responsibility and accountability. For example, an individual should pay more out of their pocket for the same service or treatment they could receive at a less expensive option.

We need greater transparency for the cost of services from health care providers. We need to reform our current unit count funding system for public education. We need a comprehensive review of all of the state’s programs and services, improve efficiency, utilize technology, and deliver our services with improved speed and less expense. We need to reform and eliminate the unit count funding system for public education.

AK: We need a fiscally responsible budget to serve the present and future needs of our community, county and state. This is why I will support measures, which lead to more efficient use of our resources.

Would you support gun control measures?

LY: We need to administer the appropriate consequence/punishment to individuals who use legal or illegally acquired firearms when they commit a crime. We should review why the criminal justice system is dropping or greatly reducing current firearm charges. I sponsored legislation that would increase the penalty from three to five years for individuals who commit a crime with a firearm and from five to 10 years for their second offense.

AK: Yes. People are free to bear arms, but I don’t believe military-grade weaponry should be in the hands of citizens or on the streets

What changes are needed to policing and the criminal justice system?

LY: Under the leadership of Colonel Nathaniel McQueen, Jr., the DSP adopted and began to implement recommendations from President Obama’s 21st Century Policing initiative. After the 2014 police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, President Obama created a task force that offered 59 recommendations for better policing and building public trust.

From the Wall Street Journal, “The Task Force on 21st Century Policing drafted a playbook of best practices in 90 days, with discrete policy prescriptions and broad concepts related to building trust with communities and changing the culture of policing.”

Led by former DSP Troop 3 Capt. Josh Bushweller and continued with current Capt. Rodney Layfield, Troop 3 began to strengthen relationships in neighborhoods with community meetings, diversity-hiring initiatives, a police ride along program, an Honorary Commander Program, lunch with a trooper at elementary schools, school supply drives, and the “Community Café” coffee program.

Troop 3 rededicated a trooper as their community relationships’ liaison. This officer regularly attends monthly meetings with the Star Hill Community Civic Association, community events, HOA meetings, etc. With Troop 3’s participation, I have completed five law enforcement/community town halls at various locations with the purpose on how we can work together to strengthen our communities.

For example, at the DSP Troop 3’s community room, we had seventy-five individuals from London Village, Paris Villa, Meadowbrook Acres, and the Fox Hollow neighborhoods meet to address ongoing vandalism in the neighborhoods. These racially diverse neighborhoods have cooperatively worked with Troop 3. This is a credit to both the members of these communities and to the DSP, which requires its troopers to undergo diversity, deescalation, and unconscious bias training.

Led by Chief Martin Willey, the town of Wyoming police has led the way each year with the National Night Program, Halloween events in the town, coordination/volunteering at the W.B. Simpson’s annual Field Day, and building relationships in Wyoming. In Camden, Chief Mark Whitney holds regular community coffee meetings, food drives at Thanksgiving, an annual walk in their shoes event and student meetings at our elementary schools.

AK: We should really define the expectation for policing. We need to revisit the training provided to police cadets to ensure they are consistent with the values of protecting and serving the community — all members of the community. Police officers should be held to a high standard of conduct similar to those we hold a lot of other professionals to. The qualifications to be an officer should be more stringent and the training period should be longer than it currently is.

Regular psychological evaluations should be conducted for officers. A disciplinary commission needs to be established with community members serving as part of the watchdog to ensure that appropriate steps are taken when officers engage in conduct unbecoming.

Reform should be the goal of a good justice system. Fairness, consistency, impartiality have to be a big part of the judicial system.

What do you make of the state of race relations in the U.S. and particularly Delaware?

LY: We need to treat all individuals with respect, dignity, honor and a servant-like attitude. Together, we have more in common and want the same opportunities for families, community and ourselves.

AK: The first step to improving race relations is to admit there is a problem. Lack of empathy has been a major part of failed relations in our society. If I don’t acknowledge and try to understand when a member of society identifies a problem or issue, I will not be willing to help figure out a solution.

Because I don’t experience a problem, it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. There are systems that have been in place over the years, that we have become accustomed to (our norms), unless we are willing to listen to people who have been marginalized by those systems, and make changes that will address and correct them. We need to treat or care for people with the same care we would want our loved ones to be treated or cared for.

Do you have any additional thoughts you wish to share?

LY: I look forward to serving the people in the 34th District in Delaware’s 151th General Assembly.

AK: I will work to support issues that affect everyday people; education, health care, economic prosperity. Everyday people are my special interest and will be a voice for them when decisions are being made. Life works by people and we should “Be Human Kind.” I value people, and as your state representative, I vow to identify and champion simple and straightforward solutions to the unique challenges facing our communities, our county and our state.

“If we care enough, we can solve problems.” – Unknown

I am proud to have called Kent County, Delaware home for the past 32 years. A proud parent to two children, both graduates of local public schools. A graduate of Wesley College in Dover with a degree in accounting and a minor in economics, I obtained a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) from Delaware State College (now Delaware State University).