Delaware State Representative John Kowalko has a challenger in the 25th District. Mike Nagorski did not file in the early July deadline, but he was nominated by the Delaware Republican party last week. But who is Michael Nagorski?
Information on Nagorski is hard to find. According to the Newark Post, Nagorski graduated from Charter School of Wilmington in 2004. According to his Facebook account, he graduated from University of Delaware in 2008. He is married with a child and one more on the way later this year (congratulations). But in May of 2014, he won a legal name change, from Molaski to Nagorski. I’m not sure of the reason for this name change, but it is perfectly legal. His wife is a registered Democrat. Which is okay, my wife and I don’t agree on everything. He lives in the heart of the Newark Charter School populace along with Kowalko. He has a Master’s Degree from the University of Delaware, and he very recently obtained employment as a Senior Consultant at MHI Global. The biggest thing I see mentioned of Nagorski (then Molaski) is an article from the News Journal two years ago about his weight loss and a get healthy initiative. While this is certainly admirable, meeting the Governor at a gym doesn’t make one a State Representative.
In terms of his politics and what he stands for, that is difficult to find online. In response to the Newark Post article, he wrote on his Support Michael Nagorski Facebook page: “Delaware has tremendous opportunity. Now is the time to listen and act, not criticize and oppose.” What does that even mean? No one should question anything? I’m pretty sure that both Democrats AND Republicans criticize and oppose. Does this mean, if elected, Nagorski would never question anything? I would venture to say John Kowalko was elected five times because of his ability to not only listen and act, but also to criticize and oppose. It’s called politics! I think every candidate running for public office in Delaware will agree that Delaware needs to get more employers in the state to increase revenue. That isn’t a sea change in Delaware politics. He seems to be against state incentives to attract employers, which I would assume would be corporate tax cuts. That is something Kowalko has said for years. He said in the Newark Post article his three main reasons for running are “healthy living, improving education and growing the economy,” but the article did not give any of his ideas in any of these areas.
In another Facebook post where someone called him “the second coming of Reagan“, Nagorski responded that “if I had to choose someone I’m closest to, it’s Castle” While Mike Castle served a long and distinguished career in Delaware and national politics from 1966 to 2010, I don’t see a lot coming out of Nagorski that would give me that impression. In fact, I don’t see anything coming out of Nagorski that shows anything about why he is running. No website, no stances on any subject. Not to be too critical of Nagorski, but trashing your opponent in a newspaper article while not giving any substance or meat to why you are running, aside from an alternate voice and things every Delaware politician says, isn’t going to have me running to push your button on Election Day.
The Newark Post wrote:
“What people see is someone who’s certainly passionate and an advocate,” Nagorski said. “But what they don’t see is someone who is listening to everyone. He’s putting himself out there and not necessarily listening to everyone else.”
I would say being the State Representative for ten years would qualify Kowalko as someone who listens to a great deal of people.
I will fully admit the following things: I support many of Kowalko’s sponsored legislation, I worked with Kowalko on House Bill 50 (the opt out bill), and I have enjoyed many conversations with him about Delaware education. Is Kowalko boisterous and speaks from the cuff? Yes he is. Has he said things with an angry tone in the past? Yes he has. Does that disqualify him as a worthy Delaware State Representative? No, it does not. In fact, I would go so far as to say this should be a requirement for all Delaware politicians. We’ve had far too much of the “Delaware Way”. Far too many closed door meetings deciding the fate of the many with little to no transparency. If I were sitting in the 29th Representative seat at Legislative Hall, you better believe I would be very vocal about things.
I am sure as time goes on, we will learn more about Mike Nagorski. But until then, I see someone running just to run. I would urge all in the 25th District to vote the same as you have since 2006, for John Kowalko. As someone who is a fervent supporter of transparency, limiting corporate windfalls, stands up for parental rights, is against discrimination of any sort, and doesn’t sell out to the Delaware Way, Kowalko is one of the best State Representatives in the Delaware General Assembly. Perhaps if we had more John Kowalkos, we wouldn’t see Delaware’s education system in shambles and our fast reducing revenue getting lower by the year.
I would assume, based on his attendance at the Charter School of Wilmington, Nagorski supports school choice. But does he support the very controversial enrollment practices at both CSW and Newark Charter School? How does he feel about the Christina School District? School vouchers? The Smarter Balanced Assessment? Opt Out? Common Core? Teachers? Does he think the University of Delaware should be more transparent? Does he support choice in all political matters? I know where John Kowalko stands on those issues. I’ve been to several of the key education conversations in Delaware the past couple of years. I’ve seen John Kowalko at many of those events. I don’t recall seeing Mike Nagorski at any of them.