Q&A: 34th Representative District hopefuls take on issues

Name: Adewunmi “Ade” Kuforiji

Party: Democratic Party

Office seeking: State representative — 34th district

Age: 47

Occupation: Chief financial officer

Family: Two children

Elective experience: None

 

Name: William McVay

Party: Libertarian

Office seeking: Representative District 34

Age: 34

Occupation: Computer programmer/paralegal

Family: One 19-month-old daughter, Julia

Elective experience: Elected officer in the Libertarian Party of Delaware

 

Name: Lyndon Yearick

Party: Republican

Office seeking: State Representative, 34th district

Age: 53

Occupation: Kaplan Test Prep, student relationship manager

Family: Wife, Janice and children Daniel, Lynzi, and Brandon

Elective experience: State representative for the 34th district since 2014

Why are you running for this office?

AK: I’m running 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. I also want to be a voice for people that don’t have anyone speaking for them at the decision-making table.

WM: I was not satisfied with the choices on offer from the two “major parties.”

LY: After two successful terms, I have proven my accountability to the 34th district and Delaware. While staying committed to certain convictions and principles, I look to unite and work on issues together. In my next term, I will continue to dedicate my time to improving the lives of Delawareans and implementing solutions for Delaware’s challenges.

Some examples of my work include working to improve our economy as a member of the Delaware Prosperity Partnership, promoting our agriculture industry, tourism and small businesses, defending the Second Amendment, supporting parental rights and families, advocating for law enforcement and public safety, listening to my constituents with town halls and ongoing communication and improving the roads and sidewalks in the 34th district.

What would be your top priority if elected?

Adewunmi “Ade” Kuforiji

AK: Minimize influence on education policy by non-educators. Too many people are making education decisions that don’t have any formal training in education. Our children suffer from their education experiments.

WM: Reducing the overall size and scope of state government.

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. I also support fiscal responsibility. We need to reform our state employees’ health insurance and Medicaid programs to establish more individual responsibility and accountability. Another key issue is 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.

If you could change one state policy or law, what would it be?

AK: I would look at education policies that are obstacles to educators in effectively teaching our children and work on getting them removed.

WM: If I accept the premise that I can only change one, it would be to put political parties on a more even footing and end the subsidies granted to the two “major parties.” By promoting a more open and vibrant political ecosystem, I believe that the government would generally be less corrupt and more responsive to the needs of the people. Civic engagement and voter turnout would increase as the cynicism that accompanies a close political system dissipates and this one change would lead to a cascade of changes in the future that would help to implement my other goals and help the individuals living in the state in the long run.

LY: We should reform our existing prevailing wage laws for the most immediate financial benefit to the state and taxpayers. We should eliminate the current Delaware Department of Labor survey method and replace it with the wage data collected semi-annually by the departmentunder contract to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Or, we could allow the freedom of the construction market to determine the cost for the state’s construction projects.

What are your plans to boost economic development?

AK: Work to support a business environment that is welcoming to companies looking to relocate to the county and state. Support efforts to identify the needs of these potential companies and make sure we have the schools, labor force and other public infrastructure needed for them to make our county and state their home.

WM: I believe that the economy in Delaware needs to be unleashed from regulatory burdens that suppress economic activity down to the lowest levels. Occupational licensing, taxes and other regulations that limit new business formation need to be eliminated. The top-heavy organizational structure of our schools also needs to be rethought so that more education dollars are spent in the classrooms and teachers are free to innovate in ways that develop the skills students need to participate in a modern economy.

Lyndon Yearick

LY: I serve on the state’s public-private partnership (the Delaware Prosperity Partnership) with the mission to grow jobs from existing businesses, retain companies and attract new companies. We need to continuously look for process improvements with the two main state entities (the Delaware Department of Transportation and Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control) that existing and new employers engage with for their operations.

We should allow individual employees the freedom to decide if they want to join a private sector union. Delaware should become a right-to-work state. We need to review our corporate income and gross receipts tax rates. Delaware has the highest corporate income tax rates in the country when combined with our gross receipts tax. The Tax Foundation ranks Delaware 50th for corporate income tax rates.

What, if anything, should be done to increase revenue for the state or cut spending?

AK: Evaluate current programs and their effectiveness. Stop programs that don’t work or aren’t effective. We need to find ways to attract businesses to the state by building our infrastructure and developing skilled labor to meet the needs of those businesses.

WM: Spending should be cut by ending the prosecution and incarceration of individuals accused of committing “victimless crimes,” reducing the role of professional licensing, and discontinuing the practice of doling out tax money to well-connected businesses in the name of job creation.” These changes would not only cut spending, but would also increase revenue by reducing the tax burden needed to pay for it and unleashing the economic forces it suppresses.

LY: In any year, an increase in state spending should not exceed the prior year’s growth (or decline) in economic activity. For spending, 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. Also, we need to reform how the state funds public education and the current unit count system.

Do you support the legalization of marijuana? Why or why not?

AK: Yes, if my constituents are for it and the legalization does not result in a public health and safety crisis.

WM: Absolutely. Legalizing cannabis would open up a new source of tax revenue and jobs for our state, stop wasteful spending on arresting and prosecuting those who violate existing cannabis laws and allow those who would otherwise be hampered by a cannabis-related criminal record to thrive.

LY: I do not support the legalization of marijuana. We can learn from Colorado and the issues they have with an increase in underage consumption, an increase in individuals driving while impaired, an increase in driving fatalities, the continuation of the black market, the increase in homelessness and an increase in high school truancy. The direct and indirect costs of legalization greatly outweigh any perceived benefits.

What, if any, gun laws would you change?

AK: I believe in the Second Amendment. However, military type/style weapons should not be on our streets or in the hands of everyday citizens.

WM: I would make it easier for law-abiding individuals to get a concealed carry permit and offer reciprocity to other states’ permits.

LY: We need to administer the appropriate consequence and 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.

Would you vote for legislation reinstating the death penalty? Why or why not?

AK: I would not support the death penalty. Based on research, the death penalty is not a deterrent for to crime. Also, there’s a chance that innocent persons could be wrongfully convicted and lose their lives.

WM: I would not. If I don’t have the right to kill people except in self-defense, then that power cannot be delegated to the state.

LY: I favor the re-institution of the death penalty as a potential punishment from a jury and a judge as the most significant consequence for acts of terrorism, multiple acts of severe violence against a group of individuals (a school shooting) and or an egregious act of violence against an individual.

Do changes need to be made to the state’s employee health care structure? Why or why not?

AK: Many employees work in our government for the health benefits. Educating them on how the health benefits work is vital. It will help in managing related costs. Managing costs is critical to meet present and future commitments to all past, present and future employees. Efforts are already being taken to help make the employees be better health consumers.

WM: I am not intimately familiar with the state’s current employee health care structure, but I do not believe that state employees should face a different health care situation than private employees do. Health plans should be competitive for the skills and experience of similarly situated employees in the private sector, no more and no less.

LY: 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.

What should be done to combat Delaware’s drug crisis?

AK: Be proactive in educating the community about the dangers of drugs. Provide treatment centers to combat addictions.

WM: Studies have shown that legalizing cannabis in other states has led to a reduction in the rate of addiction and overdose from other controlled substances.

LY: We need to continue to add extensive inpatient treatment options for individuals. We need to utilize drug courts and alternative forms of accountability versus incarceration. We need to work with our federal and regional state partners to proactively respond to the increasing crisis with synthetic drugs, such as fentanyl and methamphetamines.

Is there anything else you think is pertinent?

AK: I want to work to support issues that affect everyday people: education, health care and economic prosperity. I believe in people. Life works by people and we should “be human kind.” “If we care enough, we can solve problems.”

WM: Did not answer.

LY: I look forward to serving the people in the 34th district in Delaware’s 150th General Assembly.

 

Reach the Delaware State News newsroom at newsroom@newszap.com

You are encouraged to leave relevant comments but engaging in personal attacks, threats, online bullying or commercial spam will not be allowed. All comments should remain within the bounds of fair play and civility. (You can disagree with others courteously, without being disagreeable.) Feel free to express yourself but keep an open mind toward finding value in what others say. To report abuse or spam, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box.

Facebook Comment