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“If the position advanced here is the State’s full position, it is experimenting with our children which have no recourse from a failure of the experiment. Here, the legislative experiment with implimenting Common Core has impacted Delaware children’s K-12 opportunity to learn for almost one-third of their k-12 educational experience (2009-10 through 2012-13).[4]”

In plain spoken words:  What on earth are we doing to our children?

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Sussex County is bereft of republican leadership. Taken over by the tea party then abandoned, there is no structure that supports or represents Republican values still left standing. The Republican Party in Delaware is in freefall.

There are scattered remnants still trying to get on the ballot, but electing one of these would be like a random hand dunked into a pond trying to catch a frog. One could get lucky.

In the absence of Republican leadership, into which void the blog Delaware Politics dares enter, words like philosophy, and phrases like “think like us” get tossed. Those phrases sometimes sound nice but certainly don’t bring any money to the bank.

What does bring money to the bank is a strong political party that is on your side. What does bring money to the bank is someone in Dover to whom the party in power is beholden to, who says “I need this”.

Jane Hovington is in the unique place to get more done for District 19 than has been done in that District any time since the passing of Thruman Adams. Because she is part of the ruling party, instead of the party of opposition, her vote carries strong weight. She is also because of her conservative district in the very unique position of being one who can build the necessary bridge between Democrats and Republicans. If Ernie Lopez in the neighboring district, needs a favor, Jane Hovington is the one who can get it done.

Her opponent may be a nice man. But he is in no position to accomplish anything for Senate District 19.. As possibly the only Republican in the General Assembly, he is doomed to get ignored. One has only to look to the 41 representative district out of Millsboro, to see a lot more happens there now that their representative who used to be a minority Republican, is now, in the majority as a Democrat. Same man: no clout as a Republican, bringing home the bacon as a Democrat. It is…. all about the party.

“I, Brian Pettyjohn, need this road fixed in my district. It’s potholes are swallowing up chicken trucks, they are so deep.”

“Uhh, who are you again?”

Now from Democrat Senator Jane Hovington: “If you want me onboard i will need these highways fixed by April 22. ”

“I don’t see why that can’t be done.”

District 19 is the heart of Sussex County. Not the play area of the east but the hard working, farming area of the West. Life moves forward on a very thin margin between success or failure. The citizens of District 19, a very beautiful district from Georgetown to the Maryland border, need the best representative they can find.

One hailing from the party of Thuman Adams is far superior than someone who was thrown into the race helter skelter at the last minute by pontificating people, more worried about philosophy, and “their” anti democratic beliefs, than whether you as a citizen can make it or get chewed up. Brian Pettyjohn is “their” candidate.

You deserve better. Jane Hovington, has done very well in answering questions posed by those living in the district. She is in a far better position as a member of the party of Thurman Adams, to make life better for Senate district 19, than a fly-by-night guy thrown into the race at the last minute, whose only support is by the clique of gadflies hovering around the blog, Delaware Politics…

They cost you too…

The drop in payroll tax from 6.2% to 4.2% results in a savings of about $1000 a year to every wage earner.

(If truth were widely known, that tax cut is actually a bad idea. It hemorrhages a dying social security fund, requiring the eventual death of the program or an expensive emergency last ditch surgery in the future.)

But it is hard not to give a $1000 present to every voter. Even if it only comes out as $19 dollars and change each week… But, still again, if your electric bill is $198 and you only have $189 in your account, that additional amount is, well, a lifesaver…..

But, Republicans in the House, even after Republicans in the Senate voted passage, overwhelmingly voted….. not to vote on the measure…

They didn’t vote against it… THEY VOTED NOT TO VOTE ON IT……
(speculation is that they lacked the votes to keep it from passing)..

So, how does that relate to you?

House Republicans (read Tea Party) just voted NOT TO VOTE on whether or not you will be losing an extra $20 a month out of your next paycheck.

Imagine what this is doing to payroll clerks around the country?
Imagine what this is doing to family budgets around the country?
Imagine what this is doing to businesses who rely on consumer spending around the country?
Imagine what this is doing to businesses heavily involved in the financial sector, around this country?

So what would normally happen?

Normally a group that can’t find agreement, acknowledges the sad fact, and long before the deadline, announces that they failed to reach agreement and that things would continue as they were on a temporary basis, to unfortunately allow for more time to solve differences.

But NOOOOOOOOOOOO, …. WE ARE STUCK WITH A TEA PARTY THAT FUCKS THINGS UP.

Instead, we have a vote not-to-vote, then get all sorts of very lame excuses from those who are delaying, none of which apply to the real problem that Social Security is doomed unless drastic action gets taken (higher rates, not lower), and we get nothing….

The tax cut will expire…

It is like sequestering a jury in a room, where everyone after much fact-covering argument has agreed to a judgment, except for one person who’s been bought off. And nothing, nothing, logic, emotional appeal, bullying, snuggling up to, befriending, produces any change. And you go years, every working day, to the same court house, the same jury room, they same chair at the same table, hear the same arguments, hoping against all odds, that today, he will see the light and switch. You go the next day.

That is today’s Congress. Held hostage by Tea Party Republicans who live in a dream world untouched by the reality of living under $185,000 a year. Like that bought-out juror, every day, they hold up progress with the unjustified belief that, if they wait long enough, the other 11 jurors will give up and sway over to the sole juror’s way….

Two things can happen… 1) return to the public and announce a hung jury, and do a complete retrial.. or 2) sneak up to that one juror, put a gun to his head, say nothing, pull the trigger, clean up the mess, dispose of the body, then go out to the public and announce what the 11 of you have decided…..

One is the nice way, sanctioned to due process of law. The other is the American Way.

It’s time to initiate the kavipsian policy of expression or what is otherwise known as “Show Us How You Really Feel”… Who knows? It could become the next great movement? The next time someone you know (or don’t), says anything about how millionaires should keep their tax cuts and the poor should pay, nod your head in agreement, smile a little bit, then hit them as hard as you can in their mouth, I mean as hard as you can! Put them flat on the ground holding their jaw… Then loudly say, “Don’t every talk that stupid way to me again!” Who knows, if 99% or all 303,930,000 would respond that way to our fellow congressional delegates, and the other 3.9 million of their like who advocate such madness, we might actually get the very progress we need, not because of intimidation, but because such policy is right….

For those who argue expression of violence is un-American, I’ll remind them that tonight, is John Wayne Night on AMC: view it!… I argue that such action is VERY American and perhaps it has been the lack of such spontaneous expressions of frustration from working American people, that has caused the logjam where nothing gets done because of one holdout, who thinks he can sway the world to his opinion and face no consequences… ….

Practice now, by punching brick walls.

The story goes that Warren Buffet, rather worried about his investments early 2008, wanted to talk to God… God told him to use his phone and he’d send him the bill… He got and paid the $333 million dollar charge. His investments flourished, too… That would be the end of the story, except he was down in Sussex County recently, following up first hand on a corporate case being processed out of Georgetown… once again, he asked God for the right to call, and agreed to accept the charges… When he got his bill, he was fuming… He was only charged 25 cents… “God”, he said, “you ripped me off on that first call, big time!”… God said, “Warren, don’t you get it? In Sussex County, that’s a local call…”

Local call or not, Sussex County is weighing in on whether to say a prayer before County meetings or to not… Here are a few takes on that policy: one, two, three, four……

As someone who grew up where prayers were always said before football games and county meetings, it isn’t a big deal…… That is, as long as everyone agrees it isn’t a big deal. You don’t see prayers before meetings conducted in New York.

Not because New Yorkers are heathens, but because in New York, you have a multiplicity of religions, so praying a prayer from one of them, is a slap in the face for all others…

Why it’s even an issue in Sussex County is because the Positive Growth Alliance, has been building condo’s like ants, and lots of people who did not grow up in Sussex County, now live there. Many have different ideas of religion than those who’ve always been there all their lives…

If everyone believe in the same version of God as does David Anderson, then of course, duh, why are we even arguing about it… Of course we’re going to pray to God to guide us through this meeting.. That’s what He’s for!

Suddenly, thanks to Rich Collins and the Positive Growth Alliance, we have tons of people who do object to having David Anderson’s version of God, one who dislikes Homosexuals, and one who casts pox on Democrats, one who believes married people should have sex only when they have children, one who believes sex between animals is immoral, one who believes taxes are caused by the devil, one who believes that nature was made to bulldoze and pave with a combination of petroleum and gravel. … one who believes that oil companies have the divine right to pollute oceans, one who believes that animals were made for us to kill. … one who believes a national religious holiday should fall on the first day of deer season.. one who believes pick up trucks and baseball caps are proof that homosexuality is a sin,… on who believes killing someone with a gun is not a sin, but taking that gun away for the safety of others is…

(yes, I’m having fun and talking tongue in cheek)…

The point I’m making is that Sussex County is changing; and it is changing mostly thanks to Rich Collins and the Positive Growth Alliance.

Can you make new citizens join the current religion? If so, then by all means, just like the days of old, they will see no qualms in having a tiny prayer before the meeting.

But if they don’t want to join that religion, then, to force one group of religious people to impose their prayers on others, is not American…In fact, it’s kinda creepy…

If in an effort to show fairness, the Sussex County decided they would do prayers from all religions in alphabetical order, when they came to “B” and hit Buddahism, giving an Buddahist prayer before the session, most of those in the audience would be saying WTF! This is our nation, why do we have to listen to such crap…

Which is… exactly what those Buddahists think, who have opened a business in Millsboro, and have come before the county to ask for a variance on something or other that is in their antiqued code….

So… If it is unnatural for a Baptist to suffer a Buddahist prayer, it is equally unnatural for a Buddahist to sit through a Baptist prayer…

It’s not about one religion being right and the other wrong. It’s about who the citizens are that make up Sussex County. If you want to blame anyone over this controversy, the blame solely lies with those who built up Sussex County and brought in all these new people to begin with… Now that they are here, we have to make Sussex County as fair to them as New York, is fair to us, when we take our business up there……

Positive Growth, huh? Depends on your version of positive I guess………….

Tony DeLuca, Delaware’s other DeLuca, will again be president pro tem of the Senate.

There never was much of a challenge.

Doug Denison, one of Delaware’s better sources of information, has it all here….

Katz and his supporters needed 11 votes to deprive DeLuca of the pro tem’s seat in the coming legislative session.

That meant they’d have to get all seven senate Republicans (ha, ha, ha) plus four Democrats to vote against DeLuca.

When the vote came, the Democrats got what they needed from their side, with no votes from Katz and Peterson, plus “not voting” designations filed by Sen. George Bunting, D-Bethany Beach, and Sen. David Sokola, D-Newark.

Karen Peterson was a little chatty. “Bonini told me he was going to vote against DeLuca, but he sold out!” she muttered in disapproval.

Bonini (of course) denied he had mentioned that, and responded: “I know some people are mad at Tony about things, but Tony is a strong leader and we need a strong leader in these times,” he said. “I really think with Tony as pro tem and the leadership they have and the leadership we have, I think we’re going to make progress.”

Translated into English from Delawarean…. ” Tony got to me.”

After all, that’s what an effective pro tem does….

So what now? It’s up to us. Katz, Peterson, Sokala, Bunting will be shut out… However, if we make enough of a stink so DeLuca loses credibility with the populace, the same way we did with Deskdrawer Adams,… he will have to back off a little. Look how we defined and reshaped Delmarva’s preplanned “wind debate”? Bottom line, he has to face re-election in two years. He can’t afford to NOT be a knight in shining armor this session.

Katz, Peterson, Sokala, Bunting! If you get shut out, let us know every detail. 🙂

Of course there is some hyperbole; I’m speaking of Delaware’s General Assembly.

But having witnessed this session go all the way up to it’s closing hours, I must confess, that without the hard right Republican party in the House, and without the former President Pro Tempore and his desk drawer, my overall impression was that this General Assembly, was one of hard working individuals, who got things done.

Yes there are egos still roaming the halls. But, this year, perhaps because of the newness of some of the leadership in both chambers, they were not part of the legislative process… Bob Gilligan, having spent many years on the other side, shaking his head silently at Terry Spence’s way of doing things, was determined to show how things “could” be done…

And I’m not even talking about agendas… I’m speaking strictly of an attitude that addresses work ethic. It could come down from the top. Governor Markell is not Governor Minner.

And yes. I too scoff at some of the bills brought forth… Dwarf awareness month? But those of us who do things, all realize we have to give a little to get a lot… If a promise to assist a fellow legislator to get something very important to him upon the table, if that can get his vote solidified on a major piece of legislation, then so what; do it.

We will pay for our big budget. Lean is better. But we will never in our lifetimes see another legislature as well behaved as this one..

These men and women rode in on the waves of change… The fact that those old carryovers from the previous legislatures, changed under this new leadership too, shows just how far this new group has brought us…

And if you were a regular observer of the last sessions of legislature’s past, you probably picked up the fact that far more special interest lobbyists had longer faces than usual… and that advocate groups for the people, were showing more smiles…

And that, I’m afraid, is something we won’t see again in our lifetimes. This is a very special moment in time.

Here is just a taste of some random samplings of line items in our state’s budget…

It’s what we fought for, and (by flipping the state House from Republican to Democrat) won, so…… here it is…. Your open government in action.

Section 127. The Delaware Heritage Office shall investigate which out of print books and writings on Delaware history should be considered for republication. Further, the Delaware Heritage Office shall investigate which writings in these categories would be valuable for republication.  A report
shall be made to the Controller General and Director of the Office of  Management and Budget by December 1 of each fiscal year.

Section 129. Section 1 of this Act makes an appropriation to Libraries (20-08-01) in the amount  of $2,608.7 GF and $1,760.8 ASF for Library Standards. Of that amount, Libraries may reserve up to  $436.9 for planning and evaluation grants to determine each library’s attainment of state and federal  library standards. The remaining funds shall be paid to libraries in two installments equal to 50 percent of  the total amount allocated to that library, one installment upon signature of the contract and the second
installment in January of the fiscal year. Funds granted to any library under the provisions of 29 Del. C.  c. 66,  if unspent at the end of the fiscal year shall not revert to the General Fund, but instead shall be held in an account for the benefit of the library from which the unspent funds came. These funds may be spent in subsequent years for purposes described in 29 Del. C. c. 66. The use of such carryover funds shall not  be used as part of any subsequent years’ formula payment.

Section 215. Section 1 of this Act appropriates $40.0 in Personnel Costs to the Department of   Correction, Community Corrections, New Castle County Community Corrections (38-06-06) for the  purpose of maintenance overtime costs at Riverview Cemetery. Implementation shall not commence until the City of Wilmington agrees to be financially responsible for tipping or hauling expenses  associated with Riverview Cemetery.

Section 283. (a) Section 1 of this Act provides an appropriation of $425.0 in Employment and  Training, Employment and Training Services (60-09-20) for the Delaware State Summer Youth  Employment Program to operate a program commencing July 1, 2010. The budget will take into  consideration the funds required to commence the program at the end of Fiscal Year 2011, on or about  June 15, 2011. This sum is to be allocated in the following manner:
New Castle County (outside the City of Wilmington) $ 69.7
City of Wilmington $256.7
Kent County $49.3
Sussex County $49.3
TOTAL $425.0

Section 284. Section 1 of this Act makes an appropriation of $497.8 ASF to the Department of  Agriculture for the Delaware Agriculture Land Preservation Foundation pursuant to 29 Del. C. §  6102A(d)(3). The Foundation shall not operate any accounts outside of the State accounting system.

There….. that should get things started….

….. and now Steve Newton of Delaware Libertarian is bowing out….

Forgive me for getting some out of order, but his name now goes up on the wall next to those of Dana Garrett, Mike Matthews, Jason Scott, Shirley Vandever, Dave Burris.

All gone, leaving only these few greats are still left: Nancy, Tommywonk, Kilroy, LiberalGeek, Pandora, David Anderson, & Hube.

The era over which these giants roamed was between the elections of 06 and 08. Some started earlier, but these few individuals were the only source of information during that time stamp.

Today, the News Journal has lost its paternalistic viewpoint touting the union of construction labor and developers formerly known as the Delaware Way, and is actually reporting news ahead of bloggers for a change. Likewise today, WDEL has both on its morning show with Al Mascitti and afternoon show with Rick Jensen, steered discussion away from the likes of (who?) Sean Hannity… and Al Loudell has kept us abreast of local politics in ways unheard of before bloggers began typing in their briefs…

So in a way, since these bloggers were successful back then, today they are not as vital as they once were… Many saw their blogs as the only way to get the truth past the News Journal censors, those higher ups who would not publish any truth that showed an elected official in bad light….

Those studying this phenomena will see that there was much agreement between bloggers on both sides of the aisle… It was very rare for this group to be divisive over the prime issues of this state’s business.. All of them were for Atkins removal. All of them were for beginning offshore wind in Delaware, … All of them were for the slowdown of work force housing… all of them were for the betterment of Delaware’s educational opportunities…

Of course we quibbled on who would become the next president, but that is to be expected… No family lives without arguing at least once…

There were rises and falls among each giant’s influence… But at the core of each individual was the feeling that each had a unique insight into the current problem staring us down, and wrote about it with an urgency that turned out usually to be correct… And usually, if agreement was not forthcoming by the first comment, by the end of the comment thread, some form of agreement among the blogger’s roundtable, was visible…

As politicians came to realize the News Journal wasn’t changing, they began contributing to these giant’s pages, giving substance in ways unheard of among those writing for the Community Board of the News Journal… Reading the blogs gave us a real time insight into the workings of our state government in Dover……

But it was the wind controversy that elevated the giants to their current stature… Only the blogs could get the message out that Delmarva was incredibly concerned about losing control of their monopoly, and that wind power for Delaware would by offering competition, lower our energy prices. And they did, so well, that the entire legislature at the end of their 2007 session, voted unanimously to approve of the landmark agreement between Bluewater Wind and Delmarva Power….

Some of us think that they, shaking in their boots, didn’t dare vote otherwise… For bloggers have long memories as well as does the public….

But these giants among men, did more than just push wind. They publicized the eminent domain controversy. They scoured local politics. They broke the work force housing pact apart. They clamored against Atkins, forcing him to resign. They dogged the SEU. They picked apart candidates so much that those who had flaws, couldn’t win. Dana Garrett could be heard almost weekly on WVUD.. Tommy Noyes, for a while was a weekly guest on Al Loudell’s award winning newscast. They OOGAcised the fight for open government, forcing one flustered legislator to call out for a prayer dedicated to just for the bloggers, asking for their salvation of their souls… Apparently those prayers were answered; for by their souls we have open government today….

But amongst the best, the very concept of government was debated back and forth, no doubt as it once was during the beginning of this nation during its infancy… Torture, domestic spying, gun ownership, thieving Vice Presidents, all had their day in court upon these pages….

And today, there are new names who in the years ahead might be considered to be the giants of this contemporary time zone..

Deldem, RSmitty, El “S”, Donviti, Cassandra, all came into prominence after the defining moment of passing the wind act…. As well as Sussex Green, Red Water Lily, Mourning Constitution,… all of which became big as the 2008 election season came upon us….

And from the ranks of commentators came a Sussex County Councilwomen, a candidate for a House seat, as well as a last minute candidate who took on Mr. Pam Scott, and began nailing his shoes to the floor…. Miro had a contender for once; that commentator speaks up often…

Steve Newton will be missed.

With his passing is the last of the great thinkers… Today, we have bullets fed to us… But Steve took on all other blogs, all other commentators and wrote posts about them… Steve looked at everything with fresh eyes…. Giants can do that, since they see things from way up…….

I won’t go in to praising Steve… for I’m here to call attention to the passing of a era. Perhaps those times when benevolent giants roamed our state, will be considered by us dying men and women, to be the glory times we hark back to, the second we close our eyes for their last time…..

For when you look back as what we’ve done, the word “giants” is not really a bad moniker….

If the following statement is true,

“Choose your enemies carefully, for they will define you”

then no matter how much I protest: I am defined by Thurman Adams.

Often those who fought against the will of the one passing, are banned from that person’s parting rites, as well they should be. However, it is those very ones who are one’s adversary, who like two snipers dueling across no-mans land, probably know best how the other person thinks…

Thurman did provided us OOGA people an attractive lighting rod because of his opposition of open government. His use of his desk drawer to table legislation that would have otherwise passed, made him the stuff from which legends are spawned. He provided us both the symbol and the actual visual of someone stuffing bills into a drawer and never pulling them out again. …. a visual which I used over and over again unmercifully against him. He got clobbered with it, excessively.

But I have learned over time that one must separate the man himself, … from what he does. As is common, amateurs tend to get angry at each other… High school kids on opposite benches fill the playing fields with arms flailing when tensions get too high..

However professionals know that their opponents like themselves, also have a duty to their owners. They have the duty to fight for their team’s side just as hard as you would fight for your team’s side…. Real seasoned professionals understand that the teams can change their players, but the actual person playing inside the suit, will always, always remain the same. And that … when the game is finally over, it’s best to shake hands, drop the game face, and give each other sporty man-hugs.

Thurman Adams was actually an amazing man. Even In this democracy he was able to assemble out of a crowd of legislators who were too chicken to challenge him, .. a block of votes that would kill legislation of which he did not approve… Very little could be passed without his blessing. And to be honest, sometimes on the most frustrating of days, I too wish I had that much power at my disposal….

If you think what he did is easy to accomplish: try it. I have and even though I’m a young jedi, I sit in awe of how easy Thurman made it look…..

But what I want to comment most is his resolve and deep seated beliefs on homosexuality. I respect his view point. To be clear it is different from mine, and I spared no bullets in bringing that to light everywhere in our state’s public opinion…. But also a little like me, Thurman felt he was fighting God’s war and that he, as one of God’s soldiers, had to pull all stops to minimize the spread of something his deep set beliefs told him was very wrong…

At one point in my life I would have honored him as a hero for doing so… but events showed that similar to Governor George Wallace of Alabama, Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia, Ernest Hollins from South Carolina, Trent Lott from Mississippi all of which came to realize that some of their views were morally antithetical to the constitutional principles they were sworn to uphold… i too was given insight into realizing that certain people should not be disrespected for things they cannot change….

Adams apparently didn’t see that billboard alongside of the political highway.

And his steadfast refusal to open the desk drawer and put the open government bill on the table, was primarily rooted out of his distaste for homosexual unions. For if all sessions were open, this bill would be voted into law simply because not enough votes would be be willing to stand up against it and say no….

But one part of the Adams legend is worth hearing again. And that is his propensity for keeping his word… I can’t even do that. I hope one day to learn…. lol

But Adams accomplished one of the most difficult pieces of human engineering. He “almost” always kept his word…

It is sad but fitting that his passing marks the end of an era. I can still remember the blogger’s comment deriding Adams for not being present when one of the important votes were taken. Someone said he called in sick.. We now know it was true. He was sick, very much so.

It is interesting that these two events happened at the same time. Those positions languishing as bills in the drawer for years, finally slipped out and became law…

The symbolism is not lost upon us that once escaped, the old man felt hanging on was no longer necessary…

So I wish the family of Thurman Adams well, I pray for their loss for it has bothered me considerably as well… The world, my world, is quite empty without him…. Now I have to struggle to find a center, a core upon which to focus…

I have heard comments that so very few people are saying much good about Thurman Adams and some are interpreting that to mean he had few friends.

Well, I am one of those who will praise him.. Studying him in order to anticipate his counter strikes, has made him into someone I most deeply respect. He was able to surprised me multiple times (which is hard to do) and each of those times of being caught off guard, impressed me with his ability to scramble.

His tactics became my tactics.

In a sense, he was very little different from myself… Very little. His only sin was relatively minor: he just was on the other side.

So Thurman Adams, may you rest in peace. May the state and area you loved so much, always come to honor you..

Sleep well, my former foe. Sleep well.

There is little argument.

We need someone who has experience, but is far enough removed from the old way of doing things that they will not be trapped by the inertia from their own past…

“We’ve always done it that way” are the worst words ever uttered. The environment we live in today is one fraught with new challenges. The old school of how things went down during the Carper years, of Cordroy, Sharp, Minner, Roy, George, DeLuca have shot their wad… Now all we are left with, is their mess.

“How can we maximise this opportunity” are the best words ever uttered. Following Karen Peterson’s fight for open government over the years has shown us that she utilises her opponents for her advantage.

We need a Senate Leader like that. It’s time for her supporters to come out of the woodwork of General Assembly and begin to demand that change, the change we must have if we are to remain economically viable against our neighbours, begins today.

If you don’t say it, we’re stuck with DeLuca… His argument for continuity will have no antithesis. The counter argument must begin today. It must start with “now”..

Lobbyists, as much as we bash them here sometimes, … serve a valuable purpose… Anyone in either chamber can inform you of that…. But, they don’t elect… Real Live people do…

So to continue to put the wishes of lobbyists over real live people, can be argued as being un democratic, un Constitutional, and un American.

And the very last thing Delaware needs, is an undemocratic, unconstitutional, and un-American in charge of the Senate.