Letter to the Editor: We have an opportunity to redefine the ‘Delaware Way’

I’m often asked about the “Delaware Way” by people from out of state. They want an explanation of what it means and how it manifests.

For some, it means they can see their elected officials in a coffee shop or grocery store and talk directly to them.

It has been said that Delaware is so small that we can get all the right people in one room and get things done. What’s often overlooked, however, is who the “right people” are and whom that group excludes. Elected officials and corporate executives are the “right people.” The voters who have to live with the decisions made aren’t.

As a result, our state continues to suffer from extreme inequity. Our schools are underfunded and segregated, our health care is too expensive, our incarceration rates are higher than the national average, and our air and water are polluted. We’ve been left behind by our politicians who shake our hands then travel to D.C. and vote to sell us out to their corporate donors, Wall Street and Big Pharma. We can’t improve people’s lives when their voices aren’t even in the room. We need our elected officials who see the struggle people face to fight to pass legislation that addresses the root causes of our suffering.

I’ve spoken to thousands of Delawareans from across the state before and during my campaign, and it’s clear that so many people can barely get by. Too many of us are uninsured or underinsured, can’t afford rent, are drowning in student loan debt and earning poverty wages at our jobs. But it doesn’t have to be this way. In one of the wealthiest countries in the world, we can guarantee every person health care, housing, clean air and water and a living wage. That’s why I’m running: to fight for policies like Medicare for All, a homes guarantee, a Green New Deal and a minimum wage of at least $15/hour. We can have these things, and we deserve them. But my opponent, Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., hasn’t fought for them.

Instead, the senator has used his political capital to go on cable news shows and tell us that better things aren’t possible. He calls Medicare for All “pie in the sky,” despite studies that show it would deliver better health care for less money. He says a $15/hour minimum wage is “too high,” despite the fact that workers need to earn about $18/hour to afford a one-bedroom rental in our state. And he opposes a Green New Deal, even though Delaware is the lowest-lying state in the country, inundated with corporate pollution and in desperate need of jobs with good, livable wages. People’s lives are on the line, and we can’t afford elected officials who refuse to lead on these issues. We know the solutions; now, we need to elect representatives who will fight for people over corporate profits.

We cannot tolerate the status quo any longer. I’m tired of elected officials shaking our hands at the grocery store then going on Fox News to tell us the policies we need are out of reach. I’m tired of our elected officials listening to our struggles and then voting against our best interests to protect their corporate donors. It’s no wonder that the majority of people don’t vote. How can we expect folks to cast a ballot if we don’t even offer policy proposals that would actually improve their lives?

I’m running for U.S. Senate because we need to reimagine the Delaware Way. It’s time for it to mean fighting tirelessly for legislation that lifts up working people, being accessible to constituents, not corporations, and working closely with organizers and activists to lift up their policy demands. I hope you’ll fight alongside me to create the Delaware Way we deserve.

Vote Sept. 15!

Jess Scarane
Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate
Wilmington