Democrat running for Congress calls his rivals ‘racists’

 

DOVER — Congressional candidate Scott Walker says discrimination is one of the biggest problems in the country today, an insidious force that prevents many people from living up their potential.

Too many disabled people and minorities are treated as second-class citizens, he argues, adding he is the only one of the six Democrats seeking the state’s U.S. House seat who cares about the issue.

Scott Walker

Scott Walker

The Milford resident also calls the other candidates “racists.”

The four most active Democratic hopefuls, all of whom have attended public forums with Mr. Walker, have spoken out against discrimination and earned support from minorities, but Mr. Walker claimed they’ve been conspicuously quiet.

But while he casts harsh criticism at his opponents, he has been accused of taking advantage of people in need and has been penalized by local governments over his business. Mr. Walker, who lives in Milford, rents out houses in New Castle County.

According to a letter cited in a judge’s April ruling, Mr. Walker “operated unlicensed group homes providing sub-standard housing to county citizens, exploited the county’s most vulnerable citizens and abused the judicial process.”

In the ruling, the Superior Court judge dismissed a defamation lawsuit filed by Mr. Walker against the New Castle County solicitor and executive. In the suit, Mr. Walker argued the letter, written by the county solicitor in response to a prior lawsuit, defamed him.

Though not a lawyer, the Milford resident says he has learned discrimination law and has represented himself in court.

“I don’t think anybody in the state — I’m talking judges and lawyers included — knows as much case law as I do,” he said.

He said he has “singlehandedly changed affordable housing in New Castle County” through lawsuits filed over alleged acts of discrimination.

According to Mr. Walker, he has a settlement for $4,000 coming from the city of New Castle, which he said unfairly targeted two houses he rented to African-Americans, issuing numerous code violations.

All nine of his houses, he said, are occupied exclusively by individuals with disabilities.

“I’m not trying to be a saint or Jesus, I’m trying to make money,” Mr. Walker said. “I’m not ashamed of it.”

In 2014, he filed a lawsuit in the Court of Chancery against Wilmington for condemning a house he rented to others. The city had issued numerous code violations and said the house was overcrowded.

A chancellor dismissed the suit, concluding the court lacked jurisdiction over the complaint and Mr. Walker failed to properly argue why he was owed relief.

Although Mr. Walker has never run for office before and is at a financial disadvantage compared to several other candidates, he is confident he will win “in a photo finish.”

In an interview, he fired several shots at fellow candidate state Sen. Bryan Townsend, calling him “not fit to run for assistant dog catcher.”

While Sen. Townsend has been endorsed by unions and lawmakers, Mr. Walker was critical of his support of legislation that would have let parents opt their children out of standardized testing. The bill, Mr. Walker said, would have unfairly impacted disadvantaged minorities and the disabled.

By skipping tests, the students are not measured and their skills and progress remain unknown, he said.

“You’ve condemned them to a life of an unproductive, unfulfilled existence,” Mr. Walker said, insisting the bill violated federal law.

At a debate last month, Sen. Townsend was questioned about his support of opt-out and civil rights. Some people opposed the proposal on the grounds that poorer families, who are more likely to be minorities, would not be aware of the opportunity to have their children skip the test and so would be, in essence, at a disadvantage compared to more well-off households.

“Well, there’s no doubt that test can help identify gaps,” Sen. Townsend said. “The issue is that we know where the gaps are, we’ve known for a long time in Delaware, and we haven’t been focusing on fixing those gaps, on bridging those gaps, on filling those gaps, but what we’ve done instead is implement multiple different kinds of tests in a very short time, spending millions and millions of dollars doing it while all along the way not acknowledging the differences in schools in Delaware. You can know that I’m with you in the civil rights community, to try to bring more sensible and data-based, reality-based, demographic-based conversation to our education policymaking.”

The opt-out bill, Mr. Walker said, was the result of “disgruntled white parents tired of being embarrassed” by their children’s poor test scores.

During the debate over the proposal last year, many people said, in contrast to his claims, their support for the measure stemmed from frustration over the complexity and length of the test and the weight attached to it.

Mr. Walker, who has two disabled children, believes the federal government needs to intervene in the schools like it did in the 1950s and 1960s. During heated civil rights battles, courts forced schools to desegregate and, in one case in Little Rock, Arkansas, President Dwight D. Eisenhower dispatched troops to protect black students enrolling at a white high school.

“We need a leader and congressman like me who’s going to speak out, be noisy and say, ‘Look, you guys want to keep in control of your schools, you have to change things around a little bit because it doesn’t look or smell right right now,’” he said.

While Mr. Walker has crusaded against discrimination in his campaign, he sees the economy as the state’s top concern.

He believes businesses are tied down at times by too many regulations and a failure to properly have use of their resources — a result, he said, of discrimination, such as with women not being hired for positions for which they are qualified.

Unlike the other five Democratic candidates, he does not support increasing the minimum wage.

Even if he loses the Sept. 13 primary, Mr. Walker aims to keep pushing his goals: He said he will run as a write-in in November’s general election if someone else is the Democratic nominee.

Reach staff writer Matt Bittle at mbittle@newszap.com

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