Q& A: 37th Representative District hopeful takes on issues

Ruth Briggs King

Name: Ruth Briggs King

Party: Republican

Office seeking: 37th District, State Representative

Age: 60

Occupation: Consultant

Family: Husband, Stanley King, and two adult children, Jared and Justin, and their families, which include six grandchildren

Elective experience: I have served in the Delaware Legislature since a 2009 special election.

Why are you running for this office?
RK: I continue to have a strong desire to serve my community and state through advocacy and leadership on key issues that affect our quality of life. I want to complete several initiatives and ensure we move forward to support economic development that brings jobs, benefits and opportunities for growth as well as prepare and protect the safety of our citizens. Protect, promote and preserve.

What would be your top priority if elected?
RK: Constituent concerns are a top priority. I cannot focus on my concerns; I focus on the needs and issues that concern those I represent.

If you could change one state policy or law, what would it be?
RK: I firmly believe if we could change some of our labor laws we would see business expand, new business occur and better employer-employee relations throughout the first state.

What are your plans to boost economic development?
RK: Address regulatory barriers that inflate the cost to start or grow business in Delaware since we know that too many regulations and too much uncertainty stifle expansion and growth. Delaware and our citizens lose when business moves else-where or chooses another state. We need to become an employer- and business-friendly state that will generate job and business growth, as well as income and revenue for individuals, businesses and the state.

What, if anything, should be done to increase revenue for the state or cut spending?
RK: Delaware realized a financial windfall from the tax changes that occurred in Washington. We made one important step by placing tax dollars in a stabilizing fund. We need to make that a permanent act by changing our constitution. I have consistently said that zero-based budgeting would reduce or eliminate “special one-time” spending that is built in to the budget as a recurring expense. Delaware taxpayers cannot sustain the current growth of spending. Therefore, we must reduce spending. If more people are working, programs could be reduced and income tax revenue would increase. We should focus on workforce development and a graduated program from dependence to independence.

Do you support the legalization of marijuana? Why or why not?
RK: I do not support the legalization of recreational marijuana. I have devoted much time and research of our current drug crisis in the First State. Professionals engaged on these issues as well as many counselors say you should not legalize recreational-use marijuana. Based on unbiased and scientific reports in 2017, as well as the fact that an adolescent brain continues to develop into the twenties, I cannot support a sub-stance that could have lifetime impacts.
Additionally, the notions that legalization would alleviate issues for those testing positive for drug screens or diminish illegal activity are not justified. As long as the drug remains a scheduled substance and federally prohibited, you cultivate a myriad of legal issues. As medicinal users will attest, the legal product is very costly, and so the illegal activity would continue.

What, if any, gun laws would you change?
RK: Delaware does not need any additional laws related to firearms. Rather than focus on a firearm, the real discussion should be on the act of violence and the person. A person who wants to hurt or kill will find or make a weapon to accomplish their goal.

Would you vote for legislation reinstating the death penalty? Why or why not?
RK: I have supported some legislation to reinstate the death penalty if it meets the changes noted in the Supreme Court decision. Too much emphasis is placed upon the murderer and the victim is forgotten. A murderer had little regard for human life and made a selfish choice. The conviction and sentence of a death penalty for specific murder or mass murder may be a deterrent and a consequence for taking a human life with little or no regard for another.

Do changes need to be made to the state’s employee health care structure? Why or why not?
RK: Yes. Presently, over one-third of Delaware residents receive Medicaid. State taxpayers are contributing over $1 billion annually to provide health care benefits. At one time, people wanted to work for the state for the benefit package; consequently, they accepted less in pay rates. Over the years, state employees have not had regular increases in their base salaries.
Some employees have collective bargaining and do well while many others do not. We should examine and use the tools that private employers use to provide fair and equitable compensation, which includes benefits and salary. Some Medicaid programs are better than the benefits in our state programs and many state employees are actually eligible for the public assistance programs their agency provides. All the state’s health programs need changes.

What should be done to combat Delaware’s drug crisis?
RK: Delaware was slow to take appropriate action and the problem quickly accelerated. We have created an integrated organization to address many concerns. We must keep the focus on access to treatment, mandatory reporting, intervention and prevention to break the cycle of addiction. The drug dependent individual needs medical-assisted therapy. More importantly, the dependents and family of those battling addiction have many needs. We must not wait for the person to hit bottom to offer a way out. Equally important, we may need to revisit regulations that permanently prohibit an addict from returning to certain professions or jobs. There needs to be a pathway for recovery.

Is there anything else you think is pertinent?
RK: I am hopeful that the Delaware Legislature will focus on issues and not politics to move our state forward. For many years, one-party rule has stifled ideas and solutions to benefit Delaware. Our citizens expect and deserve action on key issues that affect their quality of life, their life opportunities and their safety.

Facebook Comment