Q&A Survey: 11th Rep. District candidates respond on issues

11th Representative District

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 https://delawarestatenews.net/ and click on the “vote 2016” tab.

The 11th Representative District is in the Clayton area.

Jeffrey N. Spiegelman, Republican

Age: 33

Occupation: College history and politics instructor

vote-logo-2016Family: Married to Jenn, with 2-year-old son Saul

Elective experience: 11th District representative since 2012

David L. Neilson, Democrat

Age: 43

Occupation: Retiring from New Castle County Police

Family: Married with one on the way

Elective experience: None

Editor’s note: Candidate Neilson only responded to the first question of the Delaware State News candidate survey.

Jeffrey N. Spiegelman

Jeffrey N. Spiegelman

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

Spiegelman: Constituent service. I am elected to serve the people of this district in the best manner I know how. My constituents can continue to expect from me the same service to them that I would expect out of anyone that holds this office.

Neilson: Although my campaign platform contains three issues, I feel there are many important issues that need to be addressed. The people of the 11th District will always be my main focus and have my dedicated service. The second issues will be first responders and those associated with 911. Public safety and those who offer the public safety should be a priority. The third is agriculture. Agriculture and the people of this industry need government support and backing.

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

Spiegelman: Since I was first elected I have been focused on reforming a regulatory system that is annoying at best, crushing at worst. Thanks to your support, we have had some big successes doing just that. However, there is still much work to be done if we are to get government out of the way to create more jobs, foster more local control of education, let farmers farm and live as free as possible from government intrusion.

David L. Neilson

David L. Neilson

3. Do you support raising the minimum wage?

Spiegelman: I would much rather see other ideas come to pass that benefit the working poor that do not harm small businesses. I co-sponsored one such idea — the earned income tax credit. Had this passed, it would have allowed working Delawareans to keep more money in their pocket without placing the burden of doing so on job creators.

4. How can the state best create jobs?

Spiegelman: Get government out of the way of job creators.

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

Spiegelman: Yes.

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

Spiegelman: Many Delawareans suffer from conditions for which marijuana is a safe and effective prescription medicine. It should be made easier for people who need medicinal marijuana to get it. It should also be made easier for our institutions of higher learning and medical research facilities to study marijuana for the purpose of improving the quality of life for those with a condition for which marijuana can help or cure.

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

Spiegelman: The casinos have an effective tax rate of 62 percent. I don’t think any business in the state can operate properly under those conditions. If the state is going to be a business partner with the casinos, we need to be a better partner. That isn’t aid — it is a change in dangerous business practices by the state of Delaware.

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

Spiegelman: In the last General Assembly, working with the Delaware State Education Association, the State Board of Education and local school boards and superintendents, we took a big step forward in the long process of moving some of the power of the Department of Education back to the local level. I would like your support to continue this journey.

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

Spiegelman: Too much.

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

Spiegelman: The state needs to have better priorities when it comes to how it spends. Do we want to spend our resources on roads and infrastructure or do we want more pet-projects costing tens of millions of dollars that are utilized only by a select few? I vote for the roads.

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

Spiegelman: Yes. This is a complicated question with no “silver bullet” answers. However, given how much the state spends on health care, and given that premiums are going up for reasons often beyond our control, changes and hard decisions need to be made.

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

Spiegelman: Unfortunately, this crisis has gotten bad enough to the point where the federal government has assigned people to Delaware to provide assistance. This is another issue without a “silver bullet” answer. We need a better approach to treating addiction. We need a better approach to stopping the drug from entering the state in the first place. We need a better approach to getting people who have been previously incarcerated the tools they need to get a job, stay out of prison and keep off drugs. We need a lot of things to help us win this war. Mostly, we need local, county and state government to be fully behind the community saying “enough.”

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

Spiegelman: Make roads and bridges a priority rather than more pet projects costing tens of millions of dollars that are utilized only by a select few.

14. Anything else?

Spiegelman: For the past four years, I have been proud to serve you in the Delaware General Assembly as the representative of the 11th District. Thank you so much for the trust and faith you have shown me. I hope you will choose to honor me again with your vote and your support.

Neilson: I feel there are many things that make me qualified for the 11th District representative office. The fact that I have lived in the district going on twenty years and have an understanding of the needs of the people of the district. The fact that I have been a public servant as a police officer in the state of Delaware has given me an understanding of what laws work and what laws don’t. Lastly, I feel I am qualified because I have grown several successful small business and I know the difficulties that face these types of business and how government can be more supportive.

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