Postles, Williams offer views on the current issues in 33rd District

The 33rd Representative District is in the Milford area.
Charles Postles, Republican
Office seeking: 33rd District state representative
Age: 67
Occupation: Farmer
Family: Wife Janet and three children and three grandchildren
Elective experience: Milford School Board (1994-2003)

Karen D. Williams, Democrat
Office seeking: 33rd District House of Representatives seat
Age: 53
Occupation: Social studies teacher
Family: Husband Brett, son Weston, parents William and Jean Wothers
Elective experience: No elected experience other than board member for the Food Bank of Delaware

 

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

Postles: My top priorities are reducing the size of the state government and reducing state spending.

Williams: My top priorities would be education and the economy. As a 30-year educator I have seen first hand the problems with overtesting our students. Testing is stressful for the students and the teachers, with both groups trying to demonstrate a large amount of growth on one assessment. As a parent I’ve seen the stress at home from my own son who wants to do his best for himself, his parents and his teachers. This is an unjust burden to place on our young people. In addition the investment of time to give the tests takes away from instructional time which could be used to continue teaching. We should focus on educating our youth to become good problem solvers rather than only training them to be good test-takers.

charles-postles

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

Postles: Did not answer.

Williams: I believe we need to rethink education policy. Increasing the standards to a uniform benchmark is a great goal, but to get there we need to increase investments in the classrooms and in our educators, limit standardized tests, empower effective teachers to base education methods on individual students, expand Pre-K Education programs and find new ways to sustainably and responsibly fund our schools, instead of relying solely on increased property taxes. Further, I would end educator evaluations based on standardized testing results because the Every Student Succeeds Act does not require states to set up teacher-evaluation systems based in large part on students standardized test results.

Karen Williams

Karen Williams

3. Do you support raising the minimum wage?

Postles: No. The minimum wage is not meant to be a sustainable living wage. It is meant for entry level workers so they can gain experience and attain skills that will allow them to advance their careers.

Williams: I do not support an additional wage hike to the one passed last session. Studies have shown that gradual controlled minimum wage increases help increase consumer spending and support long term economic growth. I believe policies should not be implemented at the detriment of small business. While I believe investment in higher skilled training and education will raise wages, I support the legislature’s gradual minimum wage increase over the next five years because when people work full time and still struggle to live above the poverty line, it is harmful to our economy and slow us all down. As a representative, I would work with businesses when considering such proposals and multi-prong solutions.

4. How can the state best create jobs?

Postles: The state can help to create jobs by reducing regulations placed on businesses and encouraging right to work rules.

Williams: I believe that Delaware already has an advantage in that we already invest in infrastructure, higher skilled training and education. I would like to build upon those investments to continuously create a stronger economy. I would make sure that Delaware maintained its competitive advantage by supporting the business laws and maintaining our state as one of the top places to start a business. Our laws, our skilled workforce and our business-friendly environment are what make our economy so successful. As 33rd District representative, I am committed to reviewing business regulations and working to eliminate overbearing rules that raise the cost of business. I would also analyze the benefits of a financial aid program based on bringing startups and jobs to Kent County. Each of these actions will strengthen the economy and promote the creation of good paying jobs in Delaware.

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

Postles: Yes, I would, as long as it is done legally and constitutionally.

Williams: The Delaware death penalty was ruled unconstitutional in so far as the method used to sentence someone to death. I think there are some crimes that are so heinous that the death penalty is warranted. Our country was founded on the notion that one person cannot control the lives, liberty and property of others, therefore, I would support a corrected death penalty statue so long as it is constitutional and works fairly in the eyes of the law.

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

Postles: No, I wouldn’t make any changes to the laws on marijuana. We should not legalize recreational use.

Williams: I do not believe the state should make any changes to its current marijuana laws, which have permitted marijuana use for medicinal purposes and decriminalized the offense.

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

Postles: Did not answer.

Williams: I support lowering the taxes for our state’s casino. I am a supporter of the casinos, harness horse racing and the economic activity that both provide for our state. Lowering taxes in light of the new influx of regional competition is a wise start to getting our casinos back on top. With that said, I support a statewide audit to ensure our casinos are spending money wisely and responsibly.

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

Postles: I would work to reduce the state bureaucracy by returning funds and autonomy to the individual school districts.

Williams: See question 2.

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

Postles: Currently, the state spends too much money.

Williams: Fiscal responsibility is much more than spending too much or too little; it encompasses spending wisely and paying for expenditures. With that said, the fact that Delaware has one of the largest spending per capita rates and we aren’t ranked first on all measures tells me we should spend more wisely. The General Assembly needs to take budgeting seriously and stop kicking the can down the road. One of the reasons I’m running is to end the culture of “not worrying about tomorrow.”

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

Postles: In order to cut spending, I would work to reduce prevailing wage rules for state construction projects.

Williams: Most folks will simply say they want to cut spending, but those same folks will introduce a number of expenditures calling for increased spending at the same time. It’s time for true fiscal responsibility in Dover. By eliminating wasteful spending and working to keep costs low, we can manage a sustainable, financially healthy budget. I am a middle-class worker from Kent County like many of my constituents; raising taxes should be a last resort.

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

Postles: Did not answer.

Williams: From my experience as an educator, I find that health care coverage is a main attraction for those who are entering the teaching profession. The coverage we have helps retain quality educators who may not receive adequate compensation, compared to surrounding areas.

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

Postles: There needs to be more mental health services available, particularly in Kent and Sussex counties.

Williams: Opioid addiction is a disease. We cannot arrest addiction out of an abuser and we cannot keep spending to no end. Unfortunately, many of those addicted to heroin became addicted by using prescription painkillers, per their doctors’ orders. We must adopt a comprehensive approach that addresses both the supply side and the demand-side of opioid addiction. This approach includes stronger enforcement efforts and education, cracking down on medical professionals who break the rules, increase access to treatment and take back initiatives aimed at collecting and destroying extra prescription drugs. This issue affects all Delawareans by taking the lives of loved ones and costing the nation test of billions of dollars.

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

Postles: In order to best continue to fund road and bridge projects, the state cannot raid the Transportation Trust Fund to cover operating expenses.

Williams: Investment in infrastructure is important to the state and to the residents of the district. New organizations and businesses will bring an influx of visitors and guests to our area and we need to make sure the appropriate infrastructure is in place to not only assist those new to the area, but those who live here as well. We need to make sure when we are discussing new projects that all parties are at the table and that every option should be considered carefully and with full understanding of how it will impact the residents of the area. In taking all of this into consideration, we will be able to find the solutions that are the most sustainable and best for us.

14. Anything else?

Postles: No.

Williams: I am a life long resident of Kent County and a graduate of Lake Forest High School. My parents, Jean and Billy Wothers of Felton, are known for a life full of faith and service, so as a young Delawarean, I always pursued a journey committed to my community. After graduating from the University of Delaware, I began my nearly thirty-year teaching career and then earned a Master of Arts degree in History from Washington College. My experience as an educator has led me to numerous additional opportunities to give back to our community, as well. I serve as a Board Member for the Food Bank of Delaware and was recently named the “Food Bank of Delaware Community Member of the Year,” I teach Sunday School at the Felton United Methodist Church, have served as an advisor to numerous student organizations, and have been award the “Earl Reum Region II Award,” The “Benjamin F. Burton Humanitarian Award,” the “University of Delaware Excellence in Education Award,” and the “Delaware Association of Student Councils Advisor of the Year” award.

 

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