Republicans aim to end the Dems’ hold over 31st Rep. District

DOVER — No legislative district in Kent County has a higher percentage of registered Democrats than the 31st Representative District, which has been represented by Democrats for the past decade. Both David Anderson and Jean Dowding think they can change that, but first, they’ll compete against one another Sept. 6 for the right to take on the Democratic candidate.

Mr. Anderson has served on Dover City Council for the past seven years, while Ms. Dowding is making her second bid for the seat after garnering one-third of the vote in the 2016 general election.

Each candidate sees him- or herself as the more qualified of the two, trumpeting their work helping others in the community. Mr. Anderson cites his time as a city councilman and his work with nonprofits as arguments in his favor, while Ms. Dowding believes her background as a veteran, teacher and realtor and her work helping others in the Dover area will enable her to bring valuable skills to the office.

David Anderson

“I have always been a person that’s worked in the community, not always in the public eye,” she said, describing herself as feeling “compelled” to run for the seat.

Both hopefuls believe the General Assembly has focused too much on unimportant issues, with Mr. Anderson, 49, pointing to legislation about “late-term” abortions and protecting transgender students as examples.

Lawmakers need to put more emphasis on growing the economy and on thinking creatively to limit state spending, he said.

“It seems like the only thing we’re high in results are the high levels of opioid addiction and in death,” he said. “Our education results are middling, crime’s too high, we’re not getting the results for what we’re spending.”

Ms. Dowding, 69, feels that by focusing on gun control, lawmakers are missing the bigger picture. Gun violence, she said, is a symptom of a larger problem: the breakdown of family units and marginalization of many in the community.

As politicians have battled over partisan issues, the people of Delaware have been hurt, she opined.

“We have too much arguing and fighting,” Ms. Dowding said. “If there are 45 issues … most people can probably agree on 30 of them, but we don’t do that if we only spend our time fighting.”

Jean Dowding

She pointed to the debate over a bill to increase the minimum wage that took place in the early-morning hours of July 1, when nearly everyone outside of Legislative Hall was asleep, as an example of what lawmakers should not do. Ms. Dowding said she was one of the few who stuck around, joining the group of political aides, reporters and others waiting and watching as legislators tried to find common ground on the last day of the session.

Both candidates appear to be aligned on what the role of government in business growth should be, believing it should stay out of the way.

“We need regulatory reform. We need to ask, does it make sense today?” Mr. Anderson said.

He wants to see a quicker permitting process and upgrades to infrastructure with the aim of bringing companies to Delaware. A connector road from Del. Route 1 to Garrison Oak Drive, the site of a business park, would be a boon for Dover’s economy, he said, while also stumping for upgrades to the Civil Air Terminal at Dover Air Force Base.

Ms. Dowding supports expanded work requirements to receive many government benefits, a popular concept among Republicans.

“I think there are folks out there who legitimately do need some help, but I don’t think we should be a welfare state,” she said.

Mr. Anderson has been endorsed by the 31st Republican District Committee. The winner of the primary will face either Rep. Sean Lynn or Ralph Taylor.


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