Gubernatorial surveys

The Delaware State News presents profiles on the Republican and Democratic candidates governor. Surveys were not returned by Republican candidates David Bosco and Scott Walker and Democratic candidate David Lamar Williams Jr.

Republican

Name: Colin Bonini

Age: 55

Residence: Camden

Family: Wife, love of my life Melissa

Relevant experience: State senator and successful business owner

Name: Bryant L. Richardson

Age: 74

Residence: Seaford

Family: Wife, Carol; three children and five grandchildren

Relevant experience: Serving second term as Delaware state senator from the 21st District

Name: Dave Graham

Age: 66

Residence: Smyrna

Family: 31 year-old daughter

Relevant experience: Candidate for attorney general in 2014 and governor in 2008 and 2004. Former 29th Representative District chairman and onetime Student Government president at Goldey Beacom College.

Name: Julianne Murray

Age: 50

Residence: Seaford

Family: Husband, Patrick

Relevant experience: Founding Partner of the law firm Murray, Phillips & Gay

Why are you running for this seat?

CB: When I first came to Delaware to attend college, I could not have imagined the impact this great little state would have upon my life and family.

More than a quarter century later, my love for Delaware could not be greater. I am proud of our rich history and the outsized influence our small state has had upon our nation. And despite our current troubles, I am confident about our future. We can fix this! But to ensure a Delaware of unlimited possibility for all of our citizens we must make the right choices. We cannot continue to do what has not worked in the past. Our future prosperity depends on a vibrant economy, safe neighborhoods, strong schools and first class transportation and infrastructure systems.

These are some of the issues that first led me to enter public service in the state Senate, and now more than ever continue to be the issues that drive me today.

To explain their failures, our current leaders consistently blame circumstances beyond their control. But I am totally unwilling to accept the notion that the hard working men and women of our state are to carry the burden of circumstance. I will not sit idly by and let the current leaders lead us further down a failed road of chaos in the streets, condoned hatred for our neighbors, lack of opportunity for so many of our citizens, schools that so frequently fail to meet the needs of our children, and the destruction and decline of our economy.

My election as Governor will send a clear message that Delaware is setting a new course.

BR: I am tired of the one-party rule in Delaware that effectively has stopped open communication, not only across the aisle, but too often at the exclusion of the public. Too many bills brought to the floor under “suspension of rules” which bypasses the hearing process. Proper time for debate and an opportunity to hear from the public are eliminated. Operating government “with the consent of the governed” suffers when this is done. I do not like the way the pandemic has been handled and Delaware is not improving in areas that are important to the future of the citizens of our state. More open communications is essential to good government.

DG: After 28 years of sequentially elected Democratic administrations, Delaware needs a housecleaning and it starts on November 3rd when a qualified Republican governor is elected. The explosive growth of Delaware’s annual budget over those 28 years now requires a governor with a strong finance background to implement a zero-base budgeting system to restore a sound financial future for our State. With 30 years of private industry experience, 15 years as a mid-level Delaware merit employee with an insider’s view, and the credential of a licensed C.P.A. (not in public practice) I am uniquely qualified to lead the State of Delaware into the 21st Century.

JM: I am running for Governor because I believe it is time for a change. For too long, career politicians have run the state while the quality of life in Delaware has decreased. This became acutely apparent with Governor Carney’s lockdown of the state with COVID – 19. I see Governor that has waited too long to reopen the state, while the forgotten citizens of Delaware suffer.

The entire Carney Administration has been characterized by a failure to make decisions and confront the hard decisions facing the state. We have a Governor who is picking economic winners and losers with the result being record unemployment and up to 30% of small businesses either closed or forced out of business. We must and can do better. I believe it is time to elect someone with business experience who is not part of the political establishment. We need to clean the mess up in Dover and have a governor who will represent the citizens of the state not the special interests and their lobbyists.

What do you see as the major issues in this election?

CB: Covid, the economy, crime and public safety, education and health care.

BR: The major issues include the way the pandemic is being handled, protection for the life of the unborn, the lack of progress being made in combatting the drug epidemic, the lack of job opportunities, the lack of proper career pathways to fill the existing job openings, unsafe neighborhoods where parents are afraid to let their children out to play, ever increasing spending across the agencies without more attention being paid to accountability, high energy costs, and I could go on.

DG: A Delaware economy severely damaged, especially the small most-vulnerable businesses, by overzealous measures taken by a Democratic governor to fight the COVID19 virus. Restoration of public safety in our neighborhoods and business communities by fully supporting our law enforcement officers in the lawful performance of their duties. Attracting, creating, and keeping good jobs by making Delaware an attractive place to do business by implementation of an independent office of inspector general, as have over 45 states and every federal agency, to investigate, find, and prosecute waste, fraud, and abuse of power in state agencies.

JM: I believe the major issues in this election are the economy, public safety and education.

What would you like to see Delaware do differently in regard to coronavirus? In particular, should the state of emergency law be changed and has the state been transparent enough during the pandemic?

CB: We need to change the state of emergency laws to mandate more public and legislative input and dramatically increase transparency.

Our Covid-19 recovery must be safe and transparent. Our response to the virus must be based on two fundamental policies: 1) We must open our businesses, non-profits, schools and churches as soon as safely possible while making sure that common-sense precautions are followed. and 2) We must protect our most vulnerable populations. Specifically the elderly and those with compromised health situations.

In addition, it’s critical that government assistance be targeted toward employers and employees and not simply more government bureaucracy. Our next Governor must understand that opening our economy up safely has to be our priority. We have “the worst of both worlds” in Delaware: our economy has been devastated by the current administration’s policies, yet we continue to be one of the “higher risk” states when it comes to infection rates and prevalence of the virus. We can and must do better. I’m confident as Governor I will help lead Delaware to a safer, more prosperous future.

BR: State Rep. Rich Collins and I introduced HB330 to rein in the authority of the governor during a similar crisis. After 30 days the members of the General Assembly would be allowed to weigh in on behalf of their constituents and the businesses and health care facilities in their districts. Some of the restrictions are very troublesome, especially those affecting religious services, business operations and health care needs. I do not think we needed to go to such extremes.

State Sen. Dave Lawson and I wrote to the governor about the restrictions on church services, but never got a reply. In June, Rep. Collins and I introduced HB358 to set aside $100 million to help businesses survive the shutdown. (We were glad to see the governor announced in mid-August he is doing just that.) And Rep. Collins and I introduced HB359 to reduce the threat to businesses from frivolous lawsuits resulting from consequences from the virus.

DG: In March, the stated goal of the emergency shutdown of the Delaware economy was to keep the hospitals from filling up beyond capacity with coronavirus patients. That never happened yet the level 2 shutdown continues 6 months later. Unlike the Democratic governor of Pennsylvania who has opened his state on a county be county basis based on testing statistics, Delaware’s Democratic governor continues to persue a one-size-fits- all policy while the stats for Kent County warranted a reopening to level 3 as early as July 1st. Clearly, the State Legislature must revisit the law concerning the overreaching power of Delaware’s governor with regard to emergency powers.

JM: Yes, the state of emergency law should be changed. I believe the way that Governor Carney has handled the state of emergency has been unconstitutional and haphazard at best. First, it allowed the Governor to determine what was an essential business and what was not. Under his orders, major retailers were essential yet small independent businesses were not. Where in the state constitution does it give him the power to select which businesses can stay in business and which can’t? It has caused severe economic hardship for Delawareans. We are facing record unemployment and up to 30% of small businesses either temporarily closed or permanently out of business. That number is still climbing as the state of emergency continues.

The orders also demonstrated how clearly state government can take away our rights. And in my opinion it was anything but transparent. I think the state should be reopen completely at this point.

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

CB: More outreach to potentially vulnerable populations, especially nursing homes.

I think Delaware’s hospitals and health care community have done a remarkable job so far in responding to the virus. We have not had the shortage of capacity that others have faced and I applaud and strongly support the Doctors, Nurses and all of our health care workers who continue to work tirelessly to fight the pandemic. It is important that our health care resources not be exclusively focused on the virus. I am concerned that many Delawareans have forgone treatment for non-virus related issues during the pandemic. We need to make sure that people seek the treatment they need.

BR: If we want to keep the high quality of the health care system we now enjoy, we need to not only plan how we will handle similar emergencies, but develop a way to help our hospitals in particular cope with the changing needs of our citizens. Let’s ask those in the fields of health care for their suggestions. Government should not be telling them what they must do, but working with health care professionals and assisting when and where needed.

DG: Since we are still in the middle of the crisis affecting our healthcare system, the proper time to address the changes required is on as as needed basis now followed by a complete evaluation for future needs after the pandemic has passed.

JM: I think that our health care system has done a tremendous job and has done all that is humanly possible to treat patients of coronavirus. The men and women in health care fighting this pandemic are true heroes.

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

CB: We must find a way to open our schools as quickly as we safely can. The reality is many, some data suggests most, of our children are simply not being educated in the current environment. “Attendance” in virtual classrooms is poor and there is no question that most students learn better in a traditional, personal, setting. We must do what we can to get our schools open asap while maintaining common-sense safeguards for students and staff.

My plan includes giving families the choice of sending their children to traditional schools or using a virtual environment if they are concerned about safety (for instance if a family member is at a higher risk for infection). We should also immediately look at creating a state-wide virtual school that any family in Delaware may access. Many states have virtual state-wide schools that are tremendously successful. We should have that choice available for Delaware families. We have to focus on getting our children the education they need.

BR: Reopen schools without putting at risk instructors who may have a higher degree of risk from the virus. My daughter, who has a teaching degree, said she is willing to fill in for teachers if it means her son can go back to school. She was told schools in her area would not reopen until the staff was 100 percent safe. One hundred percent? Really? Let’s be reasonable.

DG: Our school systems, for the most part, are managed by highly-educated, dedicated staff and teachers who put the welfare and safety of their students of paramount importance. Contrary to the top-down, micro-management style of the Democratic administration, as governor, I would provide the support required for them to have the authority and responsibility to implement the measures they deem required to ensure the safety of students and staff from COVID19 while continuing to provide an education for them.

JM: I believe we should reopen the schools with no ifs ands or buts. We are much wiser now about this virus than we were in March.

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

CB: Delaware has one of the worst economies in the country and the Democrats have controlled Delaware for decades. Coincidence? I don’t think so.

Lower taxes, less regulation and a State Government led by someone like me, with extensive private-sector experience, will help send a positive message to job creators. It is critically important that we elect a Governor who will reign in the State Government’s culture of over-regulation and massive spending. Unfortunately our State Government is frequently the barrier to job growth instead of being a productive partner in helping our economy. I am confident that we can turn our economy around and bring prosperity to Delaware but it will take strong leadership and the political courage to take on long-established special interests to do so. I will be that leader.

BR: The Payroll Protection Program helped my business, Morning Star Publications, Inc., keep the staff working full time rather than cutting back hours or laying people off. Any such programs to help businesses and workers are needed until this shutdown ends.

DG: As governor I would require the news media to be provided with more meaningful and relevant statistical data concerning COVID19. From the start of COVID19 crisis in March 2020, the questions by the news media appeared to go unanswered, who in turn could have properly informed and educated the public to ensure a speedier path to economic recovery. That being said, a path to fully opening the Delaware economy must be aggressively pursued for the benefit of workers and businesses alike.

JM: Reopen! We need to get the engine of the economy (small businesses which includes restaurants) back into full swing. We need to encourage small businesses to open and give them help in doing so. That is why I created the Small Business Bill of Rights, a pledge to small businesses that the Governor will support their right to exist and be treated equally to big business. If the small businesses get back to full operation, jobs open up for the workers.

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

CB: Delaware is one of the most expensive state governments per capita in the entire country. I would argue it is one of the least effective as well. In short we spend a lot and don’t get much for it. I have been the voice of fiscal sanity in our state government for my entire career and as governor I will dramatically increase our government’s effectiveness and fiscal accountability.

BR: I believe we must do better in finding ways to more efficiently operate government programs. In the few years I have served on the Joint Finance Committee, I have watched the governor’s budget increase steadily. As governor I would want to know more about what is being done to increase efficiencies in all the departments. If more emphasis was placed on restoring the families, the number of the problems we are trying to solve in different state agencies would be reduced. Our laws should incentivize couples to stay together.

DG: The spiraling growth of state spending under 28 years of Democratic administrations is unsustainable. A zero base budgeting process to justify the expenditure of tax (and borrowed dollars!) must be implemented to curb the historic growth in excess of the rate of inflation. Raising taxes must be the last option, not the first, when passing a balanced budget each year.

JM: I believe we need to reduce our state spending. The last thing any family can afford during these economic hard times is a tax increase. It is time to trim the budget.

Would you support gun control measures?

CB: No. We need to significantly increase the penalties for committing crimes while using a gun. I want to be perfectly clear on this point: I will not infringe on the 2nd Amendment rights of law-abiding Delawareans. Lawful gun owners are not the problem: it’s the criminals using the guns that is the issue.

The reality is virtually no crimes are committed using lawfully owned guns by lawful gun owners. If we want to reduce gun crime we must go after the criminals using the guns! Common sense.

BR: No. More than 35,000 guns have been purchased in the state this year. Law-abiding citizens have a right to protection. “Shall not be infringed” means just that.

DG: The governor is the gatekeeper to ensure that no measures to restrict the 2nd Amendment right to keep and bear arms becomes law. As a former U.S. Army soldier who, in his youth, served as team chief on the unit police force, I, more than most, understand the value of being able to protect our country, state, community, family, and self from those who conduct themselves outside the law. This last spring when protesters turned rioters and looters were allowed to damage businesses on Market Street in downtown Wilmington without restraint, amply demonstrates that relying on our government to protect us is a fallacy. Therefore, a well-armed law-abiding citizenry is our best defense against those who prefer we be disarmed.

JM: I am a firm believer of the Second Amendment and will oppose any measure that limits the freedoms of Delawareans. Gun control measures do not reduce crime. It merely limits the rights of law abiding citizens.

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

CB: To be clear: I support our first-responders. I do not support defunding the police. Defunding the police is utterly irresponsible. We need to help people be more safe – not more vulnerable to crime and lawlessness.

Every citizen of Delaware has the right to feel safe in their homes and communities. We can, and must, heal the divisions we face by working together to bring hope and prosperity to our communities wracked by crime and unrest. I will work tirelessly to make sure the rights of our citizens are protected and that those committing crime will be held accountable.

BR: Community policing efforts have been shown to work in many cities and towns. Our officers have one of the toughest jobs in society and we should be doing all we can to make sure they come home safely to their families after their work shifts. Delaware has some of the best training for law enforcement officers in the nation. Law and order should be a top priority for legislators. I will continue to support our officers.

DG: Before implementing any changes as governor it would be required to meet with all concerned parties to identify the major problem areas of policing and administration of our justice system. Once identified I would reach out as a member of National Governors’ Association, to find communities nationwide that have successfully dealt with similar problems and found workable solutions.

JM: I am sick and tired of the attacks on police. I stand firmly with law enforcement and will resist any attempt to defund or abolish police. My husband was a former police officer. I know the sacrifices that the men and women in blue make everyday to keep us safe. There is no other profession where you leave the house in the morning and do not know if you will make it home safely at the end of the day than law enforcement.

On criminal justice, we need an Attorney General who will enforce the laws and who will encourage prosecutors to prosecute criminals.

What do you make of the state of race relations in the US and particularly Delaware?

CB: Under Democrat control, many African Americans in Delaware are suffering — there is simply no question about it. Yes, relations with law-enforcement and related issues are important and we need to have those discussions and I think we can make real progress. But I believe the foundational quality-of-life issues in the African American Community (Jobs, education, health care, crime, etc.) must be addressed. I’m confident as Governor I can help lead the effort to create more opportunities for African Americans in Delaware. I will be releasing my “An Agenda for African Americans in Delaware” within a few weeks. We can make Delaware a place where everyone has the opportunity to pursue their dreams but it’s going to take strong leadership and I can be that leader.

BR: I think the three things people care most about in life are to be respected, to have an equal opportunity for success and to live in safe neighborhoods. Those in government should make sure opportunities exist for everyone and that our streets are safe. My belief is that everyone deserves respect and I do not want to see anyone discriminated against. We are all “endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

DG: As child of the 1960’s, I grew up in a time of serious racial strife. I attended Kenton Elementary School, which remained segregated until the Fall of 1964 when I entered 5th grade. I went away to U.S. Army right after graduating from Smyrna High School in 1972. In those 3 plus years of military service I had men of color who were my drill sergeants, school instructors, company commander, first sergeant, fellow sergeants and roommates. Today in many ways our society has moved beyond those times, yet it appears the media, political parties, and others seek to profit by seeking to divide us along racial lines. As governor I would be quite willing to address areas based on concerns of racial discrimination but at the same time be intolerant of attempts to divide us by means of racial strife.

JM: Our nation has made dramatic advances in racial relations. As with anything, nothing is perfect. We as a nation and state must strive to work together as one people. Injustice to one is truly as Martin Luther King said, injustice to all. I will oppose any discrimination in the state. I will work to create a more prosperous Delaware that will in turn help ease racial inequalities. Government cannot dictate or solve the issues on race relations. What can is creating a strong economy, advancing education and setting a tone in leadership that is colorblind.

Do you have any additional thoughts you wish to share?

CB: We can fix this! Nothing is impossible.

Perhaps understandably because of the turmoil and a lack of real leadership, there are those in our state today who have lost belief in our future. They have bought into the implicit message conveyed by the Democratic political establishment that Delaware’s best days are behind us and that we must accept the diminished and chaotic “new normal”. Leaders who claim that our problems are too difficult to solve fuel this loss of belief. They tell us to learn to live with less and lower our expectations for the future. They expect us to simply accept their failures and the decline of our state’s economic health, safety, and welfare with the assurance that they are “doing the best they can.”

The key to restoring the health of our economy and bringing real opportunity to all our citizens lies with reversing the decades old policies of overtaxing, overspending, and over-regulating in this state. We are all too familiar with how these issues have been compounded over the last several months, but these policies were failing us long before the pandemic.

The arrogance of the political establishment knows no bounds. It accepts no blame for our condition and fails to face facts and give fair analysis of where we are. Delaware families, businesses and whole communities are hurting. As Governor, I will be up front with the people of our state. I will lay out both our challenges and our opportunities, and I will give it to you straight. I will also use every resource available to me to ensure that government serves the will of the people, not the other way around.

Restoring the Delaware economy, bringing an out of control bureaucracy into check and ensuring the strong schools and safe neighborhoods we expect are big tasks. None of it will be easy. But the choice is clear.

We can go on letting the state fall behind or we can make the choices needed to build a brighter future. Some people want you to believe that things simply can’t be done, or that our circumstances, the cards that we have been dealt are too tall a task to overcome. But we do not have to cede the future of our state to the doubters, cynics and naysayers. Anything can be done. These goals can be accomplished.

We have within our state the talent, the resources, the pride and the history to rise up, to build, to dream and to succeed. We will prove the doubters wrong. We have the power to do it. By removing the roadblocks erected by an ineffective state government, we can unleash the strength and talents of our people and put Delaware on a new and stronger course.

Delaware faces unprecedented problems. Working with you as your Governor, we can, and will, fix this!

BR: Drug use is a major problem in Delaware and throughout the nation. We can reduce the need for rehabilitation programs by helping our children understand the importance of staying away from drugs. Helping our young people make informed lifestyle choices to stay away from drugs and alcohol abuse remains one of my top priorities. On day one of my administration I will begin the process to see that evidence-based drug prevention curriculum is offered in all our schools.

I would like to see our laws protect the innocent unborn. In January 1973 the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) presented its decision in Roe v. Wade and its companion case Doe v. Bolten. The court decided in a 7-2 ruling that a right to privacy under the 14th Amendment extended to a woman’s decision to have an abortion. End of discussion, right? Not at all. Most SCOTUS decisions are accepted and life goes on. Not with abortion. And, thankfully, not with slavery, not with civil rights. and not with women’s voting rights, to name a few. I find it distressing that the 14th Amendment that protects the rights of any person would be used in an opinion that deprives the unborn of the right to life.

Conception takes place when a cell is created from the union of a sperm and an ovum. During this union 23 chromosomes from the male and 23 from the female join together to form a unique DNA molecule. All of the information for the development of the child and for the changes that are necessary to sustain the life inside the mother are contained in that original DNA molecule. Science has revealed the wonder of the creation of human life. Laws that permit abortion on demand are laws against humanity.

DG: Based on a personal life experience, I have been highly and persistently motivated over the last twenty years to seek the office of governor of Delaware to have the power to appoint judges who would reform the closed Family Court based on the highly-rated Connecticut open Family Court model. I do not believe God could possibly approve of the way we allow our Delaware judicial system to treat our children, parents, families and others at their most vulnerable state of distress. The Family Court of Delaware is slow, inefficient, uncaring and the citizens of Delaware deserve better. If elected governor on November 3rd I would use the power of governor over budgets, judicial appointments, and other means to reform the Family Court of Delaware to properly and respectfully serve Delawareans.

JM: I truly believe that the state is at a crossroads or a tipping point. We cannot afford four more years of politics as usual. The career politicians have created the hardships we are facing daily in Delaware. It will take a non-politician to clean up this mess.

John Carney

Democrat

Name: John Carney

Age: 64

Residence: Wilmington

Family: Wife, Tracey; two sons, Sam and Jimmy

Relevant experience: Current Governor of the State of Delaware; former Congressman and Lieutenant Governor; former Secretary of Finance

Name: David Lamar Williams Jr.

Age: 54

David Williams

Residence: Camden

Family: Wife Angela Williams; daughter, Maria, and grandson, Jonathan, from my first marriage.

Relevant experience: I have taken the stance to be an activist for the people in any way that I see is needed, such as feeding our hungry and homeless, assisting our elderly to obtain the needed assistance they need for medication, resources and housing assistance, assisting our veterans to gain employment and housing, and registering our citizens to vote, so their voice is heard. I have even taken a part time position with the Census to assist our state and our people to have an opportunity to make their voice and their choice heard and count. My goal is to move our people forward to acceptance, safety, health, and education — this will provide a sound base for thoughtful commerce, broadened infrastructure, and a path forward for the American dream for all as it is stated in our Declaration of Independence.

Why are you running for this seat?

JC: Despite the challenges we face, we have proven in Delaware that we can set politics aside and get big things done. We invested in public schools and passed the largest infrastructure program in Delaware history. We acted responsibly with taxpayer dollars and created a $125 million reserve fund in good times to prepare for a crisis like we face today.

Delaware needs a leader with experience bringing people together around a common cause. For more than 30 years, I have worked for the people of Delaware and have taken on the biggest challenges we face. In a second term, I will continue to bring Delawareans together around issues that matter to every community: public education, jobs, and quality of life.

I strongly believe that Delaware will get through this COVID-19 crisis stronger than ever before — if we continue to work together.

DW: I see our citizens struggling to make ends meet, in need of basic resources, not being heard while government leadership allows legislation to be halted and ignored. I want to make sure resources and funds go to the immediate and present issues expeditiously. I do not want to be the one sitting around complaining when I can be the one leading us to greatness. I am concerned with the leadership in this country and how major issues are being managed. I am conflicted with the actions and misguided motivation and would like to see more consistency, professionalism, and thoughtfulness to the safety and care of our citizens. Not only in our current state of unrest with the pandemic and social unrest/acceptance issues but in our normal everyday inadequacies.  I seek the seat of the Governor to have an opportunity to work with the great appointed leaders, statesmen, state employees, and Delaware citizens that I have meant to build an example of government in a form of excellence. 

What do you see as the major issues in this election?

JC: COVID-19 is still active in Delaware communities, and confronting the threat of an unprecedented global pandemic remains our most urgent priority. Delawareans have taken this threat seriously and have taken basic health precautions to keep our most vulnerable family members, friends and neighbors healthy.

Continuing to follow basic science will help us get more Delawareans back to work, and more Delaware children back in school. We have an obligation to educate our children and provide additional resources to the students and educators who need our help the most.

And we will continue to focus on rebuilding our economy and investing in small businesses that have made real sacrifices during this crisis. Small businesses and their workers are the backbone of our economy and we owe them our support.

DW: We need to move forward to leave a legacy of acceptance for all, we should respect and appreciate our differences, and our individual God given gifts we are meant to share in our society. If we can master this in any way, we all succeed. We need to build a secure and safe environment, let us bring our leaders and experts to the table to for discussion — to build legislation, planning.

What would you like to see Delaware do differently in regard to coronavirus? In particular, should the state of emergency law be changed and has the state been transparent enough during the pandemic?

JC: Since Day 1 of this crisis, Delaware’s response to COVID-19 has been guided by the science and focused first and foremost on protecting lives. We will continue to take that approach. Consistent with recommendations from the experts at DPH and the CDC, we built robust COVID-19 testing and contact tracing programs before opening portions of our economy. We aggressively test and trace in potential outbreak areas to better understand community spread of this virus. We will also continue to communicate the importance of basic health precautions.

The vast majority of Delawareans are wearing masks, avoiding large gatherings, physically distancing and washing their hands frequently. Those basic precautions will help keep our most vulnerable family members, friends and neighbors healthy. We also make information and data about COVID-19 easily accessible for Delawareans at de.gov/coronavirus and de.gov/healthycommunity. Transparency and good information around community spread in Delaware helps keep our communities healthy.

DW: I support the leading of the CDC to practice social distancing, wear masks, and sanitize your surroundings. I would continue to make sure all our citizens have access to testing and are tested. I would continue to provide the best service and care to those infected and PPE for our heroes helping them through this crisis. I would conduct a roundtable of medical professionals, human relation advisors, PPE acquisition suppliers, educators, the transportation department, finance and budget officers and any other appropriate professionals to discuss the best practices for the safety and well-being of our citizens. We can then build a plan that serves our needs and protects us from our surrounding areas that we socialize with on a regular basis. The Covid-19 pandemic has brought to light to leadership issues in our state government. Our preparedness and action plans in our state haft to be well thought out and include the input of local mayors and city officials. I believe that the environment and logistics of each town and city in our state is different and should be dealt with accordingly.

The current extension period is appropriate and I would continue collaboration throughout the state reviewing testing results, infection origins, and building data basis of tested citizens, along with CDC and national findings to continue our discussions on state of emergency standings.

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

JC: This pandemic has laid bare many of the inequities in our society that existed long before COVID-19. Delawareans in minority communities, and in poor rural communities, still do not have equal access to quality health care. That is true nationally and in our state, and it needs to change. In the last four years, we have worked hard to lower the cost of health care, expand access to health coverage, and codify protections of the Affordable Care Act in Delaware law — including protections for those with pre-existing conditions. Coming out of this pandemic, we need to redouble our efforts to make sure all Delaware families have access to quality, affordable health care.

DW: We need to continue to build our preparedness plan. We need to make sure all have the right to health care that provides safety and security to health and well-being of our citizens whether it be mentally, physically, or socially. The coronavirus has given us a window to some of the cracks in our health care system and we must work diligently to fill the gaps.  

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

JC: I believe this is the most difficult issue we have faced throughout this crisis. Because despite COVID-19, all Delaware children deserve access to a high-quality education. We have focused on helping school leaders navigate the difficult challenges of returning to school safely during a pandemic. Our top priority is the safety of all of Delaware students, educators and staff. The bottom line is: we cannot get students and educators back in school if we can’t do so safely. We have assigned public health liaisons to Delaware schools and provided comprehensive, data-driven guidance to school leaders. We will continue to support students, educators, and school leaders to make sure we get this right.

DW: I do believe we can go back to school and protect our students and teachers. I believe we should do it in a way which follows all CDC directives and provides PPE and social distancing measures. Most likely some in-person and online classes will be in effect until a complete plan can be formulated. I would use GEER funding that is available to support school districts that have students who need equipment to continue education and can allow our students to learn from home. Our teachers can teach from an online setting where allowable. Once state of emergency, testing, and vaccine options are meant we can return a full back to school setting. Sports activities can continue with attention to CDC regulations and as long as infection numbers do not rise.

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

JC: This COVID-19 pandemic has devastated the economy and jobs in Delaware and across our country. The single best way to get Delawareans back to work, and get our children back in school, is to seriously confront the threat of COVID-19. We cannot have a healthy economy without healthy communities. But we also owe our support to Delaware families who have lost jobs and income, and Delaware small businesses who have made real sacrifices throughout this crisis. We recently announced a $40 million housing assistance program to help Delawareans pay their mortgage or rent and stay in their homes. We’re investing $20 million to expand access to high-speed broadband service. We launched a $100 million grant program — DE Relief — to provide real assistance to keep Delaware small businesses afloat during this challenging time. We’ve added another $10 million to help Delawareans get training for jobs that are in demand. Small businesses and their workers are the backbone of our economy. We owe them our support.

DW: I would continue to solicit government funds to support small businesses and unemployed workers. I would research new ideas to find ways to help them do business and to provide alternate employment options.

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

JC: Before this pandemic, we worked with the General Assembly to create a $125 million reserve fund to protect Delaware during economic downturns and budget shortfalls. That sound fiscal leadership helped us balance our budget without cutting important services or raising taxes on Delaware families and businesses. We also invested one-time revenue in public infrastructure — new roads and bridges, high-speed broadband service, clean water projects and farmland preservation. And, despite the crisis, we are providing historic resources to low-income students, young English learners, and the educators who work with those children each day. Delawareans rightly expect us to manage their tax dollars wisely. We will continue to protect taxpayer dollars and make investments in education and our economy where we can make the most difference.

DW: I would need to have access to this information to determine an accurate response however, I am an accountant by trade and would use my knowledge and skill to determine budgeting and spending practices that continue the positive gains and build on needed supports. I would continue to take advantage of all government funding and build on our state funding. I would also meet with state appointed leadership, statesmen, state staff, and all appropriate officials to access need, incorporate .

Would you support gun control measures?

JC: Too many American families have been devastated by gun violence, and it’s long past time for Congress and the President to seriously take on this issue. In Delaware, we have done just that. We have worked with student advocates and moms demanding action to save lives. We passed red flag laws, including the Beau Biden Gun Violence Prevention Act, to keep firearms out of the hands of those intent on harming themselves or others. We banned bump stocks, increased penalties for straw purchases of firearms, and invested in new school safety infrastructure.

We should ban assault weapons in our state because weapons of war have no place in our communities. In Wilmington, we are working with city leaders and social service agencies on a new approach to gun violence through our Group Violence Intervention Program. We are intervening with group-involved individuals before violence happens and offering a new path, with assistance accessing social and employment services. We believe this proactive approach can make a real difference for Wilmington families who should not have to live with the fear of gun violence in their communities.

DW: I do support gun control measures. I believe the Second Amendment must be honored with guidelines that also protect society. It is our duty to bear the rights of our people and to govern them with common sense practices.

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

JC: We need to get serious about policing reform to rein in abuses of power. That was made plainly clear again with the horrific shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin, and the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. We signed an Executive Order to require additional de-escalation and mental health services for law enforcement. We worked with the Delaware Legislative Black Caucus to ban the use of chokeholds, and we are currently considering additional reforms to Delaware’s use-of-force policies.

I know law enforcement in Delaware — and I know we also need them at the table in these discussions. The vast majority of Delaware officers are in it for the right reasons. They do not condone abuses of power and they want better relationships with the communities they serve. It’s our obligation to improve those relationships — especially between law enforcement and communities of color.

DW: I would like to see us continue to take a stance to have social support systems in place for our police departments to provide a mental assistance staff to survey a call before physical action is taken.  I would like to support wrongfully convicted and will continue the work of the DOC to support prisoner re-entry programs to provide education and health services that support humane services for all our incarcerated citizens. I oppose the reinstatement of capital punishment with HB 299. I support legalized marijuana for the purposes of medical and recreational use. I am following the progress of House Bill 110 and would continue to explore legislative actions to pass a comprehensive law in this regard. I also support House Bill 39 which decriminalizes marijuana possession and omits prison time for possession of 1 ounce or less.

What do you make of the state of race relations in the US and particularly Delaware?

JC: This is a difficult time, and it’s made more challenging by a lack of leadership from the White House. We have an ugly history around race in Delaware and our country, and we need to acknowledge that history if we hope to move forward and make progress. I have spent much of the last several months listening, talking to Delawareans about the challenges we face, and attempting to chart a productive path forward. I’ve heard the pain, anguish and frustration of so many Delawareans. It’s the obligation of those in positions of power to listen, but also to take action to heal the wounds of our past.

DW: As an African American it hurts my heart to see the senseless killings of my brothers all over this country. I do have respect for our brothers in in blue as well and honor their sacrifices and commitment to our communities. I have a heart for all races, ethnicities, nationalities, and creeds I want to continue to build relationship and acceptance as a model here in Delaware that reflects to our surrounding areas where some of citizens work and play. I want us to work together to find things that work and spread the success, to build supports that get to the root of issues, and to move forward to completion on all legislation that builds a culture of acceptance in the state of Delaware and in the United States of America.  

Do you have any additional thoughts you wish to share?

JC: I know this is a difficult and challenging time for Delaware families. We face unprecedented challenges from this pandemic, and historic debates about racial justice and equality.

Despite the challenges we face in our state and country, it’s been a real privilege to serve as your Governor these last four years. I know that we can come together, meet the challenges of our time and make Delaware an even better state to live, work and raise a family.

DW: I am a man of the people. I have served my country for thirteen years in the Army. I also have deep Christian moral standards that lead my convictions. I want to serve and use my gift of seeing the mission thru and project solving skills to a meeting of the minds that leads to resolution and progress. No matter the charge, no matter the challenge I am willing to step in and bring the appropriate players to the table and chart a plan to get the job done. I want the rights of the people served no matter their race, their orientation, their plot in life, their education, or their cause. Let us face it and move forward together.  

Editor’s note: Mr. Williams’ answers were not submitted until after the publication of the other questionnaires, and so his responses were added later.