Q&A: 38th Representative District hopefuls are asked about issues

Name: Ron Gray

Party: Republican

Office seeking: 38th Representative District

Age: 62

Occupation: Engineer, small-business owner

Family: Wife, Candice

Elective experience: Elected to the 38th district seat in 2012

Name: Meghan Kelly

Party: Democrat

Office seeking: House of Representatives 38th district

Age: Did not answer

Occupation: Attorney, teacher of social studies, physical education, health, elementary education, special education and middle school math

Family: Father, Pat Kelly; mother, Mary Batten Kelly; brother, Andy Kelly; sister Amanda Gordines

Elective experience: This is the first time I ever ran for office.

Why are you running for this office?

RG: Did not answer.

Meghan Kelly

MK: I have been licensed to practice law for more than ten years in this state. I have reviewed proposed laws periodically starting in 2006 at Richards, Layton and Finger and throughout the years since. As I reviewed laws, I discovered a strong desire to draft and amend laws to better serve Delawareans. I filed to run for office to improve the lives of people in the community I grew up in and love.

I desire to draft laws that actually work, are enforceable and will make a difference. I will combat corruption, abuse and misuse of funds and resources to protect those I hope to serve. I gained expertise working for several firms in Delaware. I have experience representing clients in hearings and mediations, as well as in corporate law, bankruptcy, personal injury, wills and estates, real estate transactions and general litigation. I am also licensed to teach, and worked for the Indian River and Cape Henlopen School Districts. I have worked throughout the Delaware beaches in my youth, from age 14 on, and I will be grateful for the opportunity to serve the people in the community I grew up in and love as a legislator.

What would be your top priority if elected?

RG: Did not answer.

MK: The negative consequences of deregulation and the defunding of the federal government that will impact Delawareans down the road is the greatest issue legislators must address and not hide from. We need to prepare for what is ahead, a shortfall of expected federal funds, which will lead to a shortfall of state and local funds. Deregulation sounds great until you realize you must increase local taxes to pay for things or go without.

The federal government gives money to Delaware, in part, under its authority under Article I Section 8 of the Constitution, the Spending Clause. Delaware receives money with strings attached, called regulations. If Delaware doesn’t adhere to the regulations, we do not receive money. As the federal government deregulates, it will continue to defund programs in Delaware. That means state and local governments must pay for more or go without. We must also prepare for the removal of environmental laws by the federal government to prevent harm by drafting laws to protect the environment.

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

RG: Did not answer.

MK: Create a foundation for success, not failure. We should work toward improving our foundation, the infrastructure, roads, sewers, drinking water, schools and our beautiful environment before building up even more. Our roads cannot support the congestion. We must slow down the building boom until we can address the current population’s needs.

What are your plans to boost economic development?

RG: Did not answer.

MK: I am a supporter of education at all ages. We are all learners and teachers. Every citizen at every age is valuable, and is worthy of opportunity. A student’s worth does not diminish when schooling ends, and Delawareans do not necessarily need to go into debt in order to gain employment. Nevertheless, they do need to have a valuable skill. We should encourage people of all ages to invest in themselves throughout their lives, not merely when they are young.

I am open to discussions on how we can help our current available work force to thrive instead of merely survive. Too many talented, smart, hard-working people are taking on multiple jobs to make ends meet. Others work three to five months during the summer season in our resort town. Then they rely on unemployment and welfare to get by. With federal cuts, this may no longer be an option. Crime to survive is not an option either.

I do not have the answers in this area. Nevertheless, I am open to discussions. I will need your help to create better-paying opportunities in Sussex County that will lift our neighbors out of poverty and prevent them from turning toward crime.

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

RG: Did not answer.

MK: We must perform due diligence before granting funds to businesses to avoid bad investments. Stop focusing on businesses that keep folks in poverty and on welfare, and start focusing on businesses that take care of employees, not take advantage of them. Should any money be granted to a business, require they pay every dime back should they pull out of Delaware and possibly pay a penalty too. Otherwise, they will take free money and leave when the money stops. I am open to discussions on how we can help our current available work force to thrive instead of merely survive. I am not opposed to creating additional tax brackets for higher earners.

I also intend to draft and amend laws to make the wrongdoer, not the taxpayer, pay for harm. For example, I want to draft laws that hold industrial centers accountable for cleaning and paying for the cost of pollution by making it easier for an attorney to correct bad behavior by removing certain obstacles within the statutes, eliminate defenses, expand standing to additional plaintiffs, require monetary and specific performance, talk to the environmental section of the bar and work to create a legislative solution to alleviate the industrial waste.

My opponent cosponsored an amendment to House Bill 190 that removes the ban on the construction of new heavy industry in certain coastal areas. We need to draft laws to make polluting entities clean up their current messes before we may unknowingly create additional threats to human life and health by encouraging the construction of additional plants.

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

RG: Did not answer.

MK: I have made no determination on this issue. I have never tried marijuana and never plan to. This is not a priority for me at this time. I see the benefits of legalization to free up the police. This offense is less serious towards the public than violence or more dangerous drugs offenses. If legalized, mandatory expungement of past criminal records is required, unless it relates to vehicular offenses. On the other hand, I am concerned about the government using people for money regardless of potential harm, and I am concerned about modeling bad leadership.

When drugs are lawful, people may think they are encouraged. I do not want to encourage folks to give into the temptation of smoking pot all the time. We all know so-called “potheads” who have not been able to get ahead. I do not want to encourage folks to harm themselves and get stuck. Nevertheless, I do not think this drug is as harmful as many alleged medicines. Why are lawmakers less concerned about harmful prescriptions?

What, if any, gun laws would you change?

RG: Did not answer.

MK: We need to address and prevent the underlying conditions that lead to gun violence — poverty, bias, prejudice, fear, greed, violence and desperation — with correction, not condemnation. When you condemn people as opposed to the bad choice, you instill fear, creating an incentive for folks to hide their evil instead of bringing it to light to be corrected. We live in unstable times. Many of my neighbors fear the overthrow of the foundation of the government, the Constitution.

As I have knocked on doors, many discussed the potential repeal of the Second Amendment as the first step towards the repeal of the entire Constitution. I am not for repeal, just limits. All constitutional rights have limits in order to uphold the rights of others. We can place limits on the sale and distribution of guns to ensure guns do not get in the hands of those who wish to kill, steal and destroy.

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

RG: Did not answer.

MK: I am against implementation of the death penalty. In law school, I took a course called Wrongful Convictions. I learned about many people who were convicted of crimes though they were innocent. One person received the death penalty for allegedly killing someone who wasn’t even dead but was instead on vacation staying in another home in a different state.

People make mistakes, misunderstand, may be blinded by their emotions instead of logic and reason and may even may misbehave There is too much danger that an innocent Delawarean may be condemned.

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

RG: Did not answer.

MK: I have not made a determination regarding this issue.

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

RG: Did not answer.

MK: Education and prevention. We must all work together as a community to teach people that when someone offers you a harmful substance under the guise of friendship or fun, they are not your friend. They are using you for money, giving you an addictive substance hoping to gain long term income from you. We need to teach people when someone offers you something harmful, they are not showing you love.

We need to instill hope so that people believe that they have the power to overcome their addictions and the ability to improve their situation. Many people cannot afford to pay for their needs. Out of desperation they often make bad choices, it snow balls and they feel stuck. They give into despair instead of hope. The opioid crisis is something that our state should combat.

We must create real opportunity, expunge nonviolent criminal records, and offer alternatives in employment and temporary housing. We need to work toward giving those with addictions real hope through alternatives, not replacement drugs that do not heal their bodies. I want to draft laws to prevent doctors from prescribing addictive drugs under the facade of benefiting the patient, but in truth to benefit their own pockets to keep patients coming back for prescriptions for their addiction, not for good health.

Is there anything else you think is pertinent?

RG: Did not answer.

MK: With regards to campaign finance, I choose to be part of the solution, not part of the problem. I am not going to accept monetary donations during my campaign to prevent the appearance of undue influence or favoritism, except by the Democratic Party. (They cannot buy me. I am already theirs. I am a lifelong Democrat.)

Nor am I going to give monetary donations or attend events that require fees, as that may make the appearance of buying votes. So, I intend to attend free events that will not cost attendees or me any money.

I seek to serve people. I am driven to do the right thing. When others do not step up, I will take a stand. I am not going to sit back as the needs of the community remain unaddressed.

I am not afraid of initial resistance when I propose amendments to legislation. I will offer solutions that will alleviate problems and fight corruption. That is why I am choosing to do something. I hope my courage and faith inspires you to serve as well.

This is a point in history where people should come together to make a difference. We need to work arm in arm across party lines and reawaken American virtues such as empathy, charity and tolerance as well as enterprise, hard work and stewardship.

When I take your issues to Dover as your newly elected representative, I will also have a greater opportunity for success on the issues since I intend to work across party lines even though the Democrats have majorities. My opponent has not been able to get much done to help our community needs, in part because he is in the minority.

I am dependable, and I work well with teams. I respect people of diverse backgrounds. No one should fear contacting me, regardless of party. I seek to serve all people. Thank you for considering me for this opportunity to serve you.


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