Exceptional Delaware reached out to ALL candidates in the Delaware election through a post today. Next up is Robert “Bob” Mitchell, running in the 35th State Rep District in a Republican Primary race with Jesse Vanderwende.
My name is Bob Mitchell and I am running for State Representative for the 35th District. My wife Michelle and I will be celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary in November and we have 3 incredible children – Emily – 25, Abbey – 24, and Andrew who is 21. I have served on the board of Delmarva Christian High School for 6 years and I believe in education – whether it is public or private. As a conservative Republican, I did not expect the endorsement of the Delaware State Education Association; however, unlike my opponent, I still took the time to complete their questionnaire and sit down with them for over an hour and discuss the challenges facing our students and our educators. While they were supposed to be interviewing me, by the end, I was asking them the questions and listening to their needs, frustrations, challenges, and accomplishments. They were front line teachers – and they were extremely transparent and honest. We call them teachers, yet so much more is required of them than that. So much of their day is taken up with social issues, documentation of behavioral issues, and counseling that teaching often takes second place. They are often teaching class sizes well above the recommended numbers and are expected to do it all. Again – I was really touched by their openness to share. Perhaps it’s a combination of my experiences with coaching Little League, teaching Sunday School, being on the School Board, and being a parent of 3 – one of whom is a teacher herself – that drives me to do what we can for both our students and our educators. We need to push more resources and more authority to the local level – to the people who understand the needs of their classrooms better than someone sitting in an office miles away. I believe we need to take a top to bottom look at how we can improve everything from the construction of buildings to the number of reports we require on a monthly basis. We need to look at what is working and implement more of it and listen to learn what is not working and eliminate it.
I am a fiscal conservative with 30 years of Finance and Mortgage Banking experience. I like numbers. While that may sound boring, numbers aren’t Republican and they aren’t Democrat – they are numbers and they tell a lot about what is going on. What is going on now is that our state is over $5Billion in debt. Our interest on our state debt for this fiscal year is $197 million and in 4 years is projected to be $242 million. We had a $360million budget surplus this year – yet in unanimous votes, both the House and Senate agreed to spend $320million of the surplus and borrow an additional $218million to create one of the largest Bond Bills ever. On the one year that we could have stopped adding to the next generation’s debt burden, it was a unanimous decision to continue down our “borrow and spend” path. Our unfunded liabilities are estimated to be anywhere from $8 Billion to $20Billion – and while we still have a Triple A Bond Rating, we have to acknowledge that this is in part due to the fact that bond agencies understand that we are one of only 5 states without a sales tax, so if the going gets tough, we could still raise more revenue. I find this troubling at best and appalling at worst. Every politician says they are for smaller government, less taxes, and controlled expenses. So why do we continuously have bigger government, more taxes, and uncontrolled debt? We must get our financial house in order or there will be very big problems in the very near future.
Lastly, I believe that the job of a State Representative is to present the will of the people to the politicians in Dover; not to push the will of the politicians in Dover onto the people. I have not sought the endorsement of ANY elected official in Dover. It is no secret that if you ride the coat-tails of others to get into office, you already owe political favors to the establishment on the first day you show up for work. I refuse to walk thru the doors of Legislative Hall already being in debt to others. I work for my district and the people of this State. I commit to looking at each bill based on its merit – regardless as to which side of the aisle it comes from. I have sought only the endorsement and support of the citizens of the 35th district and I will answer only to them. I will also keep them informed of what is going on in Dover and seek their input and advice on the bills before I vote on them. We are a government of the people, by the people, and for the people – Nowhere in that quote is a “politician” mentioned.
I am asking for the support of my neighbors and fellow citizens of the 35th District on Thursday, September 6th.
If anyone has any questions, or wants to know more, they can reach me by phone at 302-219-6700, by email at email@example.com , on Facebook at VoteForBobMitchell, or at VoteForBobMitchell.com .
Robert “Bob” Mitchell