Primary election: 34th Representative District

The Delaware State News presents profiles on the candidates for the 34th Representative District. governor. There are no Republican candidates in the primary.

34th Representative District (D)

Name: Bob Haynes

Age: 65

Residence: Camden

Family: Married to Mary Vogel, grown children Ellen Whitley, Julia Haynes and David Haynes and stepdaughter Kimberly Erickson, family dog Gypsy, new grandson Nate Whitley.

Relevant experience: Career in public service working at DNREC and at the Public Service Commission. In addition, I am a lawyer who is active in the community based on my coaching soccer, board memberships and the proud parent of children who went to CR schools.

Name: Adewunmi Kuforiji

Age: 38

Residence: Dover

Family: Two children

Relevant experience: 27-year career working for the state in various segments of the Delaware government, including Health & Social Services, Natural Resources & Environmental Control, Education and, most recently, a School District.

Why are you running for this seat?

BH: I filed to be the next State Representative in order to continue my career in public service. I want to make changes to help the community and our lives together better. I will work to improve the environment, increase wages, and support equal rights to all. My slogan, “Haynes for Change,” means a change from the incumbent politician, who voted against equal rights protection for women. I am not sure why he did that, but he did.

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?

BH: My campaign seeks to improve the environment, increase jobs and workers’ wages, and protecting benefits owed to fellow retirees, which together will provide a better quality of life to all residents of the District.

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 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?

BH: The virus needs to be defeated by everyone working together. All should wear masks in public places and keep appropriate social distance from others, particularly indoors. The State should test and provide rapid test results as other countries were able to do. Politicians need to follow the advice of public health experts and not pretend they know when to open businesses up based upon an arbitrary date. This is a public health crisis, and yet some leaders have downplayed it.

Other countries have shown us that the virus can controlled to reduce its spread, which then allows a return to a more normal life. Now Delaware and other states have let the virus simmer with frequent boil overs at prisons, senior care facilities, educational facilities and anywhere we gather in large numbers. This is a dangerous threat to our economy and must be dealt with as a national threat first because Delaware cannot win this fight alone. A coordinated federal response, such as outlined by Joe Biden and Dr. Fauci, is needed.

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?

BH: I believe we have the best health care system in the world to those who can afford it. What needs to be changed is to provide the same quality healthcare to all. The poorest have Medicaid and the oldest have Medicare and those who do not qualify for either are the ones most vulnerable. The loss of a job should not also mean the loss of healthcare coverage and yet that is what happens to many. The fight against COVID is responsible for e massive loss of jobs, and requires that Delaware state government do more and ensure healthcare is provided to all similar to what Massachusetts’ provides. Delaware cannot rely on the federal government, which seeks to end Obamacare. Delaware needs to step in to provide the essential service of affordable health care to all.

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?

BH: I am not a public health expert and I would defer to such experts. This is a question of safety to our children, their educators, and others who work in our schools. Schools can be the greatest source of spreading the virus. A virus in a school can quickly spread to family members, often those who are most at risk of adverse consequences. Consequently, we need to be sure that schools are safe before traditional education resumes. Until then remote learning is the only option that I know of to continue the important role of public education in our society.

A school without teachers is just a building. Today we have many empty school buildings, but we still have the heart and soul of education-teachers. All educators always need to change with the times and today is no different and admittedly more drastic than any other change in the past. But I have confidence in the educators to find a way to teach until the virus threat is controlled.

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 Governor 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?

BH: The state should take a central role in coordinating the response to ensure the safety of workers who continue to work as essential workers. What is essential work is subject to interpretation. The number one business priority should be to control the virus and stop its spread so we can return to a normal life, as opposed to a life where the virus is still spreading

AK: The State is providing financial aid to businesses impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. Up to $100,000 in grants is being made available to small businesses and nonprofit organizations. The Delaware Division of Small Business will be accepting applications starting 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?

BH: I inherited my father’s devotion to efficiency. State spending needs to be controlled to eliminate any wasteful expenses. All expenses only should be approved in an open and thoroughly review process that eliminates the last-minute deals. One local State Senator funded his pet project in a failed effort to prop up his alma mater, Wesley College. While I agree that Wesley College is a good institution to have in Dover, the solution was its takeover by DSU, which is a publicly funded school subject to public review.

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?

BH: I support gun registration and background checks. I support a higher degree of scrutiny on purchases of military style weapons. These weapons often are used in mass shootings because they were designed to kill as many people as possible. They were not designed to hunt or shoot at targets and their ownership demands a higher degree of state regulation. I agree, however, that guns do not kill and that people do. Hence, background checks without loopholes are vital. I have no issue with owning as many guns as you want. Such ownership is similar to other collectors or hobbyists, but the more lethal, i.e. military, then more regulation applies to the ownership.

The literal meaning of the 2nd Amendment provides an armed militia with the right to bear arms, which to me means the National Guard. Its interpretation by the courts has opened the right to everyone and I accept that within the restrictions that certain folks should be denied that right just as there is no right to free speech by yelling falsely “Fire” and causing a panic in a crowded movie theater (remember them?), which is a famous law school analogy used to highlight the limits to free speech.

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?

BH: I adopt the carefully reasoned steps that Attorney General Kathy Jennings provided to bring policing into the 21st Century and improve community and police relations that are necessary for effective policing.

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 US and particularly Delaware?

BH: I believe that progress towards better race relations needs to be accelerated and cannot occur under President Trump.

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, 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 that 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?

BH: Did not answer.

AK: I have a deep understanding of the need to balance revenue generation with the most efficient expenditure of resources needed to meet our objectives. I believe in making decisions based on the best available evidence, and my work in the distinct areas of our government has given me invaluable perspective on the needs, hopes and dreams of my fellow Delawareans — as well as a practical understanding of what it takes to implement policies from law.

I want to work to support issues that affect everyday people; education, healthcare, economic prosperity. I believe in people. 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 and am 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).