The race in the 29th Representative District is shaping up between Democratic challenger Charles “Trey” Paradee and Republican incumbent Lincoln Willis, who is coming off of his first term serving in the Delaware General Assembly.
The 29th District runs north to south from Wheatley’s Pond Road to Willows Grove Road, and east to west from Brenford Road to West Denneys Road in Kent County. For the constituents in this district, some of the hot topics for the candidates include education, government spending, transparency in government, and unemployment.
Charles “Trey” Paradee, Democratic candidate
Paradee decided to run for representative of the 29th District because of his love of giving back to the community. Returning home after college, he became involved in community organizations such as the Boy Scouts and the Chamber of Commerce. Now, Paradee wants to extend this desire to give back to a higher level.
Paradee’s concerns for the 29th District are job creation, lobbying laws, government spending and education.
In terms of job creation, Paradee feels in the short term the state needs to craft incentives to encourage small business owners to invest in new facilities and employees. In the long run, he feels the best opportunity for Delaware to attract large employers and higher paying jobs is to have an educated, capable workforce.
He also feels voters are fed up with the influence of money and lobbyists in politics: “If elected, I pledge that I will be a voice for greater transparency and reform of our campaign finance and lobbying laws.”
As far as government spending, Paradee feels the government needs to be better stewards of the taxpayers’ money as Delaware has one of the highest per capita spending rates in the nation. He believes the government needs to cut waste, fraud and abuse in Medicaid, while taking care of the children and elderly who are truly in need.
Education is also a huge concern for Paradee.
“Our teachers are being forced to do more with less, and, in some instances, seeing nearly twice as many students daily as they did 30 years ago,” Paradee said. “We need to divert money from administration into the classrooms.”
He suggests expanding vocational programs either through the traditional high school or through the construction of an additional Polytech facility that would be more accessible to children from the Smyrna-Clayton area.
So why does Paradee feel he’s the right candidate? Because of his understanding of business, finance and economics, which he believes is essential in a leader.
Rep. Lincoln Willis, Republican incumbent
With his first term nearing an end, Rep. Lincoln Willis is ready for round two. Serving his district for the past two years, Willis said the most rewarding part was taking care of folks who have meaningful issues that they need assistance with.
“I feel that we were able to successfully represent the citizens of the 29th District and bring their voice to Legislative Hall,” Willis said.
Some of the things he worked on in his first term include the passing of House Bill 26 — an open government bill — and pushing for the future Kent County Sports Complex near Frederica. Willis worked with a coalition of businesspeople, concerned citizens and governmental leaders to bring this project to fruition. He said the Kent County Sports Complex is an excellent example of how government can create and sustain jobs in a positive way.
“The reason I like this project so much is that it will be profitable on its own and it will support existing businesses and jobs,” Willis said. “As an added and important benefit, it will provide a facility that will help improve the health of our community."
Willis decided to run again because he feels there’s still more work to do in terms of bringing in jobs, cutting government spending, and improving education.
The past two years saw some good jobs bills passed, but Willis said the state needs to do more to protect the jobs Delaware has and bring more into the state.
Spending is also a major concern: “Since Fiscal Year 2010, the operating budget has increased almost 14 percent,” he said. “The 29th District deserves to have a voice that is willing to stand up to irresponsible government and vote against a budget that lacks common sense.”
His belief on the current state of education in Delaware is that the government needs to get out of the way and “let teachers, principals, and parents have the power to decide how to best educate our children.”
“As I have for the past two years, I will continue to fight for these issues in my next term," he said.
Email Jennifer Dailey at firstname.lastname@example.org.