In the 34th District: Yearick, Henderson respond to survey

Candidate surveys

In the leadup to Nov. 8’s election, the Delaware State News will be running questionnaires from various candidates. If you’ve missed any, visit and click on the “vote 2016” tab.

34th Representative District (Camden)

Lyndon Yearick, Republican

Office seeking: Re-election, 34th District state tepresentative

Age: 51

Occupation: Kaplan Test Prep, graduate program manager

Family: Married Janice Yearick, with children Daniel, Lynzi and Brandon

Elective experience: Incumbent, first elected in 2014

vote-logo-2016Dave Henderson, Democrat
Office seeking: 34th District representative
Age: 63
Occupation: Retired Delaware State Police, United States Air Force veteran and currently chairman of the Delaware Board of Parole
Family: Wife of 22 years Dr. Sylvia M. Henderson, daughter Kate
Elective experience: Two terms on the Caesar Rodney School Board, president for four years

1. What would be your top priority in this office?

Yearick: We need to install fiscal responsibility in regard to our state’s spending, the results and value it produces and our revenue collection. This is the most important priority the state faces and will continue to face because of the challenges with our revenue and tax collection versus our spending. The first bill I introduced was House Concurrent Resolution 3. It recommended the creation of the Delaware Efficiency and Cost Containment Committee in order to address the efficiency of our state’s spending.

Lyndon Yearick

Lyndon Yearick

Henderson: My highest priority will be to serve my constituents, which means being accessible, seeking out feedback from residents and community groups, and ensuring that their concerns are addressed and their voices heard in Legislative Hall — everything from local road and drainage issues to the big policy questions of the day.

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

Yearick: I’d recommend a reform to the prevailing wage where as a first step we use the labor costs from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to set labor rates for the state’s construction projects. Saving’s estimates for Delaware’s taxpayers are 12.5 to 15 percent on our total construction budgets for roads, schools, buildings, etc. With a $500 million capital budget for fiscal year 2017, the state of Delaware could save between $60 to $75 million which we could apply to our budget deficit, allow us to maintain current tax rates, complete more construction projects and complete our construction projects with the same level of quality, permitting, etc.

Dave Henderson

Dave Henderson

Henderson: I pledge to be a strong advocate for criminal justice and public safety in Kent County. The drug abuse epidemic in our area is touching people and families who never imagined they’d be in that position, and it’s clear to me that our plans to fight back will have to involve more than just our local law enforcement officers. We must punish those who seek to pollute our community with drugs and crime, but we must also show compassion to those struggling with addiction.

3. Do you support raising the minimum wage?

Yearick: I do not support an increase to the minimum wage because of the negative effects it will have on entry level employment seekers, especially the seasonal employees who support the agriculture and tourism industries in the state. Over 90 percent of individuals who earn the minimum wage are part-time employees and individuals who are pursuing their first job. In total, the Central Delaware Chamber of Commerce, the casinos, farmers, restaurants, small businesses and non-profits who I represent in the 34th District and Kent County all opposed an increase to the minimum wage.

Henderson: Yes, I support increases to the minimum wage that are reasonable and phased-in over a period of time. I believe workers should be able to earn enough from a full-time job so they are not forced to rely on public programs to feed and care for themselves and their children.
4. How can the state best create jobs?

Yearick: We need to focus on economic development and job creation based on what we do best — agriculture, small businesses and tourism. For agriculture, I have sponsored bills to promote and encourage the purchase of local farm produce. I was the prime sponsor for House Bill 228 that would have allowed our craft breweries, wineries and distilleries to sell their products at farmers’ markets and other agriculture related events. For agriculture, we need to fully fund our Farmland Preservation Program, implement a fair approach to our storm water management regulations and expand higher value agriculture jobs with our Food Innovation Districts. For small businesses, I have been a member of the Small Business Caucus and supported our Delaware Competes Bill and the Delaware Commitment to Innovation Act to promote research and development in Delaware. In order to retain or expand our manufacturing and construction industries, we need to address the major issues of high corporate income taxes with the Gross Receipts Tax, provide counties or targeted geographical areas the opportunity to try right-to-work zones with our private sector employers, review our Coastal Zone Act, reform or exit the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative that impacts the high energy costs in New Castle County and reform the prevailing wage system. Without these adjustments, Delaware will be at an economic disadvantage and uncompetitive as manufacturers compare Delaware versus other states like Texas, South Carolina, etc.

Henderson: Delaware has benefited from the incentives it has made available to large businesses and employers over the years, but those same kinds of incentives have not been made available to small businesses. I support broadening the scope of the aid and assistance we provide to spur job creation. We’ve taken care of the big companies, now let’s focus on our small, home-grown businesses.

5. Would you vote for legislation reinstating the death penalty?

Yearick: I’m in favor of keeping and allowing a jury and or judge to apply the death penalty as a punishment to a convicted individual for three main areas: Acts of terrorism in and against individuals in the state, extreme acts of violence against multiple individuals and extreme acts of violence against an individual, for example, when an individual commits multiple acts (rape and first degree murder) to the same individual.
Henderson: The Supreme Court made a careful and complete analysis of the capital punishment statute. However, I would support such a bill only if the Supreme Court’s concerns were addressed, the application of the penalty was for the most egregious crimes, and there are sufficient protections so that the penalty is not imposed in an arbitrary and capricious or racially discriminatory manner.

6. Should the state make changes to its laws on marijuana?

Yearick: I’m against the legalization of marijuana. We would face significant unintended consequences of additional individuals driving impaired, easier access for underage consumption, a loss of employment productivity and the challenges with surrounding states where it would remain illegal.
Henderson: Had I been a member of the General Assembly at the time, I would have supported the legislation to make marijuana available to people with serious medical conditions, as well as legislation to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana. In the coming General Assembly session, we know that proposals to legalize marijuana for recreational use will be discussed. I look forward to this discussion, but I believe Delaware must closely study the outcomes of other jurisdictions where recreational marijuana has been legalized before taking that step for our state.

7. Should the state lower the tax rates on the casinos, do nothing, or take some other step to provide relief?

Yearick: I’d recommend a .5 to 1 percent reduction a year for four years to the current 43.5 percent tax rate on the casinos’ video lottery machine revenue. It’s a fair and reasonable approach for all stakeholders and would provide a level of consistency for the three gaming facilities to more effectively compete against the new competitors in Pennsylvania and Maryland.

Henderson: The state budget has much more pressing priorities to fund than aid to casinos. Education, public safety, and support for our most vulnerable residents are of greatest concern to me.

8. What changes would you make to the Department of Education?

Yearick: There is not one thing to do or eliminate that will be the silver bullet to improve education in Delaware. It’s the state’s responsibility to provide an education system to the students, families, and taxpayers. In the 21st century, we have the best trained and prepared teachers, technology and access to information. In order to maximize the “improvement” for our education system, our families, communities, churches, etc. need to work together to strengthen the family dynamic in order for more students ready to learn when they enter school and more family support at home to reinforce the importance of their education opportunity. We need to provide an education system that prepares graduates for their next step, whether its college, the military, a trade or employment. We need to reform the unit count system and how we finance public education in order to provide more local decision maker in our schools. Education is best delivered at the classroom level with the relationships between the student, teacher, and parent. We need to cap the amount of money we spend at the Department of Education level. We need to eliminate or at least significantly reduce the emphasis placed on standardized testing in our schools.

Henderson: While I understand the need for standardized testing to evaluate our students’ preparedness for life after graduation, I firmly believe that frequent high-stakes testing does students and educators a disservice. We need to give our teachers the leeway to do what they do best, not constrain them or their students to the bounds of a single test.

9. Does the state spend too much, too little or the right amount?

Yearick: We need to focus on our state’s spending, our priorities for the spending, and the results it produces. We need to focus on our $9 billion in combined state and federal revenue and spending versus any new tax increases. I’d recommend a reform to the prevailing wage where as a first step we use the labor costs from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to set labor rates for the state’s construction projects. We absolutely need to have leaders willing to address the state’s spending on our state employees’ healthcare system and Medicaid. Our annual state budget cannot sustain the current $1.5 billion in spending on these two items. We need a comprehensive review of our entitlement programs, who receives what, and for how long. I believe government is a part of the solution to support our poor. However, we cannot continue the pace of spending without greater accountability on it.

Henderson: Pressures on our state budget are always shifting, whether it’s the year-to-year growth in school attendance, the cost of health care or the ebb and flow of the revenues we rely on to meet our budgetary obligations. The state budget is not a simple thing, and it can’t be reduced to simple terms.

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

Yearick: See above.

Henderson: I am committed to a responsible state budget that meets the needs of our state’s most vulnerable citizens, including children, families struggling to make ends meet, seniors and those with disabilities. The General Assembly must commit to funding those obligations while still ensuring that our state employees have decent pay and benefits on which their families can rely. We must find the revenue necessary to accomplish these basic goals. I do not believe the state can cut its way to prosperity.

11. Do changes need to be made in the state’s employee health care structure?

Yearick: We absolutely need to address the state’s spending on our state employees’ healthcare system. Our annual state budget cannot sustain the current $750 million in current spending and projected $1 billion by 2020. I sponsored House Concurrent Resolution 81 to strongly encourage employees and state health plan participants to make good choices like being a wise health care consumer, choosing lower cost health care services, getting appropriate level of care, managing chronic diseases and engaging in wellness and prevention. Individuals should pay more for a service, treatment, or prescription if they had an option to select the similar service with the same quality at a lower price. Also, I’d recommend the implementation of Health Savings Accounts for state employees.

Henderson: Many state workers pass up jobs in the private sector because of the quality of the benefits offered by the state. If those benefits lose their attractiveness, we lose another vital tool for recruiting and retaining the best workers.

12. What should be done to impact the state’s heroin crisis?

Yearick: Heroin has caused massive devastation to individuals and their families in our state. The state needs to increase the funding for comprehensive in-patient or out-patient treatment of thirty days or longer. Addicted individuals need more in-state treatment options versus the expectation they will need to travel out of the state.

Henderson: In combination with aggressive policing to go after the criminals who flood our communities with this deadly drug, we must continue to change the way we treat the true victims of this crisis — good people who fall into cycles of addiction, jeopardizing their futures and the futures of their children and loved ones. We know that incarceration is not always the best answer for these folks, and I support more resources for treatment and intervention.

13. How can the state best continue to fund road and bridge projects?

Yearick: With a fiscal year 2017 budget of $900 million, DelDOT has the resources to continue to fund road and bridge projects.
Henderson: Had I been a member of the General Assembly in 2015, I would have voted in favor of the package of funding that will eventually bring $300 million worth of new infrastructure improvements to communities across Delaware in the next five years. Going forward, I support additional measures to ensure that funds raised for infrastructure are spent only on infrastructure, not DelDOT operating costs or other budget items.

14. Anything else?

Yearick: I promised the constituents of the 34th District that I would focus on the three main areas — fiscal responsibility, supporting our three leading industries (agriculture, tourism, and small business), and constituent services. I have delivered on these expectations. My legislative bills and voting record support all of these areas. People are busy working, raising families, volunteering their time, etc. They want responsible, engaged and committed individuals to represent them. They want a return to common sense, fiscal responsibility and a focus on what’s important.

Henderson: My family and I have put down deep roots in our community and I’m thankful for all it’s given me, from my career as a state trooper to the Caesar Rodney schools my daughter has been fortunate to attend. Throughout my life, I’ve looked for ways to be of service to others, and it’s in that spirit that I’m asking for the opportunity to be a voice in state government for my neighbors.

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