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News from State Senator Bryant Richardson Serving the 21st Senatorial District

Date: March 11, 2017



February 22, 2017
 News from State Senator
Bryant Richardson
Serving the 21st Senatorial District
Improvements in Delaware Will start in the classroom
By State Senator Bryant L. Richardson
A proper education is the key to solving many of Delaware's problems. Here are a few reasons why:
  • Businesses want to locate in areas where quality education is offered
  • A good education opens up opportunities to live a successful and rewarding life
  • Those who can see a clear path to success are less likely to turn to unlawful activities 
  • An informed public can take better control over their personal circumstances and as a result, rely less on government programs
By now most Delawareans know that lawmakers are facing a budget shortfall for 2018 as high as $350 million. That's the budget that former Governor Jack Markell left our new governor, John Carney. Even if Markell had not forecast increased spending, the budget shortfall would still be more than $200 million.
Right now Governor Carney is visiting districts throughout the state seeking suggestions to help our economy. I think this is a wonderful approach, since everyone is given the opportunity to influence the budget-making process.
Right now the Joint Finance Committee, comprised of Senate and House members from both parties, is listening to the requests of the cabinet secretaries for the 2018 budget. There are 16 cabinets in our state with one possible change pending.
Gov. Carney's first Executive Order concerns the future of the Delaware Department of Economic Development (DEDO).
The order establishes a public-private partnership within DEDO and creates a 14-member task force charged with recommending how the state can help businesses thrive.
I salute Gov. Carney for these two actions. Taking time to listen to the concerns and suggestions of the people of Delaware shows he is willing to look for new solutions. Focusing on economic development says our governor will be looking out for our businesses and that decisions coming out of state government will promote start-ups and expansions.
Now back to my thoughts about education. 
I serve on the Joint Legislative Oversight and Sunset Committee, comprised of House and Senate members from both political parties. Every year a few of the entities funded by the state are brought before the committee for review. 
Recently, members of the State Board of Education faced the committee to explain their purpose. Dr. Teri Quinn Gray, board president, gave a summary of the report that had been distributed earlier to the committee members.
Dr. Gray said the board is charged with the responsibility of overseeing 104 regulations. I had to wonder, does this mean the focus is on the regulations and not so much the child in the classroom?
I mentioned that in some states the need for future space in prisons is based in part on the literacy of children in the third grade. In other words, if the child cannot read by the time they are eight or nine years old, their opportunities for success weaken. Two other speakers repeated this concern.
 I don't have room to list all of the responsibilities of the State Board, but the first four refer to the board's role to report to the secretary of the Dept. of Education (DOE) on areas such as regulation-making authority, the DOE's operating and capital budget requests and the student achievement and statewide assessment program. 
The last time I checked the DOE had 284 employees. I have to wonder how much of their time is taken in making sure regulations are being followed.
Delaware has a new Secretary of Education, Dr. Susan Bunting, former superintendent of the Indian River School District. When I spoke with Dr. Bunting prior to her confirmation before the Senate, I asked her to take a close look at the size of the DOE to see if cuts could be made.
I'd like to see our education dollars spent in the classroom with extra effort placed on helping students learn to read at a very early age. When this is the focus, our state benefits from new business opportunities, more rewarding career opportunities for our graduates, safer communities, and reduced prison costs. 
So sad to see young people not given the one tool they need to increase their chances for success: the ability to read. 
That one ability opens up the world of knowledge and understanding and leads to a more rewarding life.
Education is the fundamental principle of what makes America a success. It is the foundation of what truly makes our country 'the Land of Opportunity'. Dr. Ben Carson
Laurel Farmers Receive Environmental Award
From left: Rich Batiuk, Associate Director for Science, Analysis and Implementation; U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Chesapeake Bay Program, Delaware Secretary of Agriculture Ed Kee; Scott Willey; Ted Layton; Eddie Jewell of Allen Harim Foods; Delaware Nutrient Management Program Administrator Chris Brosch; and Delaware Nutrient Management Commission Chairman Bill Vanderwende.
Poultry farmers Ted Layton and Scott Willey have been recognized for their efforts to improve water quality and reduce nutrient runoff with the 2016 Delaware Environmental Stewardship Award.
Layton and Willey are co-owners of T&S Farms near Milford, growing broiler chickens for Allen Harim Foods on a 44-acre farm. They have four poultry houses, with a capacity of 134,000 birds per flock. As part of their efforts, they have installed a manure shed and composter, have a stormwater pond, and will plant a tree buffer. They focus on weed control, lane maintenance and pad cleanliness, and have all manure transported by Ellis Farms.
"These farmers are great examples of how Delaware's farm families are wonderful stewards of our land and water," Chris Brosch, Delaware Nutrient Management Program administrator said. "It is due to their hard work and dedication that has made Delaware a leader in nutrient management efforts."
Also recieveing awards were runners up:
Alvin and Norma Warner of Milford, who grow for Perdue Foods growing the Coleman Organic Program, with a capacity of 62,000 organic broilers. They have created 15 acres of riparian buffers and wildlife habitat, planted tree buffers, and installed heavy use pads and a composter.
>> Tracey Hill of Laurel, who grows for Mountaire Farms, with a capacity of 116,000 broilers. He has grassed waterways and all pipes lead to a fish-stocked pond which treats stormwater from the production area.
Out and About
Smith's Cafe
At the grand opening of Smith's Restaurant in Seaford. Looking forward to eating some of their great chicken and dumplings. 
100 Years
Photo Courtesy Paula M. Shannon Photography
Laurel Chamber of Commerce
Senator Richardson, a local businessman himself, helped the Laurel Chamber of Commerce celebrate their 100th Anniversary on Feb. 7.  Seated at the table with Gov. John Carney (far right) and Rep. Tim Dukes (center), Sen. Richardson enjoyed discussing achievements in the Laurel area. 
Sunset Committee to Meet Feb. 22
The Sunset Law in Delaware, Chapter 102 of Title 29, enacted in 1979, provides for the periodic legislative review of the State's boards, commissions, councils, and other agencies. This enables the Joint Sunset Committee to determine if the public interest is best served by the continuation, modification, or repeal of an agency's governing statute.
On Feb. 22, the Oversight and Sunset Committee will review the Delaware Information and Analysis Center (DIAC). 
DIAC provides analytic and intelligence services to law enforcement partners, public safety and government partners as well as private sector partners throughout the state and region. DIAC also works with the Delaware Emergency Management Agency in our state's prevention, preparedness, response, recovery and mitigation to natural, biological and technological hazards.
Sussex County Habitat to hold Rock the Block
Sussex County Habitat for Humanity (SCHFH) is partnering with the Town of Laurel and City of Seaford to hold a community-driven Rock the Block daylong event, where neighborhood volunteers will work together in sprucing up their own streets. 
 On March 11th, homeowners, volunteers, and Habitat staff will be "rocking the blocks" of Oak Street, Market Street, Central Avenue, and Front Street in Laurel.
 On April 8th, Seaford locals will be doing the same, focusing on the Downtown Development District area right within city limits.
Following each event, residents will later come together to celebrate the accomplishments on that same day.
All of these efforts are driven by the Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative, inspired by the success of other Habitat for Humanity affiliates. By collaborating with engaged citizens, SCHFH is able to expand on our typical offered services for owner-occupied homes. Volunteer work on the day of Rock the Block will include landscaping, painting, trash pick-up, gutter cleaning, power washing, and more. Habitat wants the local community to understand that their involvement will not stop there. Instead, the Rock the Block event could be considered a "kick-off" to future Neighborhood Revitalization efforts. Focusing work in select areas of the town will allow for an increased impact on the overall community. One of the main goals of this SCHFH program is to improve the quality of life for both current and future residents of Laurel and Seaford.
Interested in being involved or learning more?
Contact Audrey Miller, Repair Program Coordinator, at 302-855-1153 x 207 or
Photo:  Kevin Gilmore, Executive Director; Traci deWolfe, Affiliate Relations; Audrey Miller, Repair Program Coordinator; Sara Clendaniel, Site Volunteer Coordinator
Service Academy Information Night
U.S. Senator Tom Carper will host an information session for students, parents, teachers and counselors who are interested in attending a Service Academy after high school on Wednesday, February 22, 2017, from 6 - 8 pm at Delaware Technical Community College's Dover Campus.
On hand will be representatives from the Congressional Delegation offices, United States Naval Academy, United States Air Force Academy, United States Merchant Marine Academy, United States Military Academy, United States Coast Guard Academy, Delaware National Guard, U.S. Navy, Air Force and Army R.O.T.C. Programs and other organizations.
Congrats Delmar Field Hockey State Champs
I was honored to present the Delmar Field Hockey Team with a tribute from the House and Senate congratulating them on their State Championship Win! Congratulations team.
PO Box 1401, Dover, DE 19903

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