Lifelong Kent residents vie for 33rd District House seat

vote-logo-2016DOVER — The only open seat in the House of Representatives also could be one of this election’s closest races.

Democrat Karen Williams and Republican Charles Postles are squaring off to replace the late Rep. Jack Peterman in the 33rd District, located in southern Kent County.

Democrats are looking to flip the seat back to where it was from 2006 to 2010, an interlude in between 28 years of Republican control. Rep. Peterman served the district from 2011 to this year.

Mr. Postles won a three-way primary in September, granting him the right to take on Ms. Williams with a seat in the statehouse up for grabs.

The two candidates are lifelong residents of the area, where Mr. Postles works as a farmer and Ms. Williams as a teacher.

Charles Postles

Charles Postles

Both cite education as a major concern, although their approaches are not identical. Mr. Postles is especially concerned about spending, while Ms. Williams appears more focused on policy and what is taught in the classroom.

“People are saying we’re not getting what we’re paying for,” Mr. Postles, 67, said. He noted a large number of students have to take remedial courses in college.

Ms. Williams, who was named the Lake Forest School District’s 2010 teacher of the year, has her eyes on limiting standardized testing, expanding early childhood education and hiring more teachers.

“We’re preparing great test-takers and we need to be preparing great problem-solvers,” the 53-year-old Democrat said.

Mr. Postles said many voters have expressed concerns about job creation, state spending and health care costs.

Karen Williams

Karen Williams

He’s in favor of reducing the number of regulations, saying such a move would enable businesses to thrive and ultimately hire more workers.
However, that’s not the only step he thinks Delaware needs to take to become  more business-friendly.

“If we’re going to really attract manufacturing and businesses, or even have businesses here that want to expand, we’ve got to have our energy costs in line,” he said.

If elected, he said, he would aim to slow the growth of the state budget. Like many Republicans, Mr. Postles believes government spending is growing too fast and needs to be held in check.

Keeping the $4.08 billion budget from increasing next year would be  “a pretty significant accomplishment,” he said.

Ms. Williams hopes to create jobs in the district with a goal of enticing more Delawareans to settle in the area after graduating high school. She also pointed to road construction as an issue that can cause delays or other problems for residents.

As a teacher, she claimed, she is well-suited for hearing people’s concerns and asking questions, a quality she believes is necessary to properly represent the district.

Stretching from Bowers Beach to eastern Frederica and down to Houston and part of Milford, the district covers rural farmland, coastlines and even small urban areas.

In terms of registration numbers, few districts in Delaware are more even than the 33rd, which has about 5,800 Democrats, 5,500 Republicans and 4,200 independents.

“I think one of the great things about our district is it’s a pretty diverse district,” Ms. Williams said.

Both have been knocking on doors and attending events throughout southern Kent County in anticipation of the Nov. 8 election.

“There’s enough activity to keep you busy every night of the week,” Ms. Williams said.

Reach staff writer Matt Bittle at mbittle@newszap.com

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