One Democrat State Representative in Delaware turned the cart upside down in the late days of June when she voted no on tax hike legislation. She also put forth legislation that mandates cursive be taught to Delaware students in their early elementary years. Andria Bennett definitely had an impact in 2017. Continue reading 17 Who Made An Impact In 2017: State Rep. Andria Bennett
I’ve seen a ton of hate pointed at State Rep. Andria Bennett since her momentous decision last Thursday night. The whole House Bill 240 personal income tax vote. She didn’t like what it would do to itemized deductions. She heard from her constituents. She did what a State Rep. is supposed to do: represent. Let’s face it, it was a crappy bill in an even crappier situation.
It isn’t the Republicans who are trouncing her. It is her own party. Even some of her own colleagues in the House. That is just wrong. There is someone out there with a fake name called Delaware Way. When I got the friend request, I thought it was Nancy Willing because her blog is called The Delaware Way. But last night I defriended this anonymous troll who is NOT Nancy Willing. This anonymous Facebook personality was bashing Bennett very hard with ugly words that are public. This person told me to get off my high horse. That’s fine, I own that. I’ve been hard on many in Delaware politics at one point or another. But I don’t bring out heavy curse words in my descriptions of elected officials. I learned my lesson from doing that ONCE with DSEA over opt out. And it hurt my reputation for a long time. But I never went after someone personally and out of the realm of their lives as a public figure. That is the key difference.
This is what I know about Rep. Bennett. When the IEP Task Force was created back in 2014, I hounded the legislators to add parents to the task force. I received responses from many that it was a done deal. But Rep. Bennett, along with a few others, got the Delaware Senate to rescind their vote, add an amendment to add parents, and vote again on the concurrent resolution. Last year, when I ran for the Capital School Board, she wrote a letter endorsing me. This year, I watched her fight hard for a cursive bill that passed the House and Senate. She voted against the budget back in 2015 along with five other legislators. They were all branded by their own party as Benedict Arnolds but they all showed courage in the face of kicking the can. That same can blew up all over the state budget this year. She always says hi to me when I see her, unlike some down at Legislative Hall. I am sure if I dug around a bit, there are votes she has cast that I would like and hate. They all have those votes.
I have no doubt in the world she upset a lot of plans last Thursday night. But the reality is simple: House Bill 240 was NEVER going to pass the Delaware Senate. With 10 Republicans out of 21 Senators, on a vote that required a 3/5th vote? It wasn’t going to happen. If anything, Bennett saved the bill from an even bigger defeat. There was NO door opening if it passed the House. It was going to die no matter what.
The General Assembly is messed up. The leadership is horrible. If we don’t have legislators on the Right storming out instead of actually voting, we have certain Dems falling all over each other congratulating themselves on their monumental victory last night. Schwartzkopf is not a good leader. He is a great micro-manager though. One of those bosses who is all over you if you do something he doesn’t like. And he STILL hasn’t returned my email I sent to him a few weeks ago. Bennett would within 24-48 hours, no questions asked. And she isn’t even my State Representative!
Like every legislator, they wear different hats. They have the face they put on in front of the public as an elected official. But then they go home to their families and loved ones and they are just like anyone else. So to trounce Bennett the way I’ve seen, calling her the things I’ve seen, that is despicable. You didn’t like her vote? That’s fine. But don’t take it so personal. She is a human being just like Pete and Val and John and Kim and Danny and Tim and all the rest of them. She has a family and friends. She had her reasons. Get over it!
She does the right thing. There is no other reason than that to vote for Kim Williams in the 19th District. But for those few and far between in Delaware who may not know Kim Williams, let me explain why I am endorsing her.
Kim Williams is the Vice Chair of the House Education Committee. She has served on that committee since she was first elected in 2012. In that time, she has dealt with charter school reform, opt out, charter school audit, teacher evaluation, special education, education funding, Smarter Balanced, the Wilmington Education Improvement Commission, bullying, and so much more. She votes with her conscience every single time. Not how others vote, or the popular vote, but how SHE wants to vote. And behind that vote is her love of children. Not just the children of her district. Not just the children in the Red Clay Consolidated School District. All the children of Delaware.
If there are issues going on at a school, she is there. She isn’t afraid to ask questions when it has to happen. If there is something big going on in education, she is there.
My favorite “Kim Williams” moment was when I was talking to a friend that lives in a school district 45 minutes south of me. Kim’s district is way up in Newcastle County. This friend told me how she was working with Kim on an issue. I was amazed that Kim would help someone who lives so far away. That’s just who she is.
But she is more than just an “education” state rep. She is the people’s representative. To me, she is the heart and soul of Delaware, at least what I would like it to be one day. I wrote a fake article last year called The Last Exceptional Delaware Post. In this imaginary future, Kim Williams was the Governor of Delaware in the year 2024. I’m not ruling that out!
In writing this article, I wanted to find a picture of Kim that represents who she is. It was very hard. As I looked through her pictures on Facebook, she is always surrounded by people. All the time. Whether it is her family, her friends, her constituents, her peers in the General Assembly, she is always with people!
Please check out Kim’s State Rep. Facebook page to see how engaged she is with not only her constituents, but all of Delaware. For those wishing to donate to Kim’s campaign, please go here: Contribute to Kim Williams, State Rep. 19th District Campaign
The Delaware PTA is hosting a parent rally at Legislative Hall in Dover on January 14th, at 2pm. This event is changed from January 12th. Please make every effort to attend: parents, students, citizens, teachers, administrators, superintendents, charter heads, and anyone else you can think of. The latest bomb from the US DOE about opt-out is a slap in the face of every single parent of a child in public school America. We need to make this standardized high-stakes testing madness stop. Take off work that day, bring your kids, and support the God-given, fundamental and constitutional rights of parents. This is YOUR moment. Do not let it pass. For school employees, bring the students on a field trip that day and show them how democracy in America works best. This is about parents rights, pure and simple. This is not a civil rights issue. If anything, the Smarter Balanced Assessment has proven how disgusting and vile one test can cause illusions and perceptions about students who have the most needs for instruction. And if you are the parent of a brilliant child who did great on the test, that is excellent. Your child is going to be brilliant either way and doesn’t need this money-wasting time-consuming test to tell you what you already know.
I’VE HEARD FROM SEVERAL FOLKS THAT GOVERNOR MARKELL IS CALLING ALL OF THE HOUSE REPS AND ASKING FOR THEIR SUPPORT IN NOT VOTING YES TO THE OVERRIDE OF HOUSE BILL 50. While everyone who told me this asked me not to share it, and I pretended with each one this was the first time I heard it, it is far too many for my comfort zone. Jack Markell is telling legislators about how it would be so disrespectful to his office if they override HIS veto. Sorry Jack, this is not YOUR bill. This is not YOUR decision. Our legislators sided with parents over your diabolically insane testing mentality. You are a bully. You do not care about parents. How many of your children took the Smarter Balanced Assessment? We both know the answer to that one!
FOR OUR DELAWARE LEGISLATORS: If you vote no to the veto, you are nothing more than a bully. You are a pawn of Governor Markell and you care more about disrespecting one already disrespectful person than thousands of your constituents. You serve Delaware. The People of Delaware. Not Jack Alan Markell. The people. A no vote on the veto could very well cost you your re-election if you are up again next year. And if you aren’t running or don’t face the ballot until a later date, good luck getting any support from the thousands of Delaware parents who have been spit on, disrespected, bullied and intimidated. I know for a fact some of you have already given your support to Jack on this issue. I would think long and hard about that costly mistake if I were you. Republicans and Democrats alike. This is not the time for you to lend support to a failed Governor on education. Seven out of twelve states who received the latest US DOE threat letter were Smarter Balanced Assessment states. Do more than override the veto. Get rid of Smarter Balanced, and come up with a meaningful and productive assessment for our students without all the strings attached. We don’t need to hire outside consultants and companies to do this. We don’t need to spend tens of millions of dollars to do this. We have the teachers and educators in our very own state to come up with something better for our children. And as for you John Carney, you need to get your head out of the clouds and oppose Markell’s bullying tactics. Loudly and clearly. Stop being quiet on everything and just assuming you are a shoe-in on Election Day. That is weak and tiring, and Delaware deserves better than that.
FOR GOVERNOR MARKELL: Do you hear that? That is the sound of parents becoming more important than you. That is the sound of the legislators in your state supporting those same parents and honoring their rights. It rang like a bell on June 25th when the Delaware Senate cleared the final passage of House Bill 50, and it will ring again when they override your veto. This is your legacy. This is your thumbprint on Delaware: causing parents to rise in opposition to a tyrannical eight years of you. We are done with you. We are casting you aside and praying the next one is infinitely better. For all the talk you had about education, you are no better than a school yard bully taunting those you believe are weaker than you. We are stronger than you and we will show you once and for all how much stronger we are. We know you taunt and tease our legislators with threats about not supporting this bill or that bill, or how you use your executive power to make promises when it comes to the budget. We know you allowed Rodel to use their influence so you could hand-pick your leaders in the Delaware DOE and your unelected members of the State Board of Education. We know which legislators are in your pocket. No more. Your power is waning and you know it. Instead of succumbing to the will of the people you actually think exerting more power will make people listen. No. You are done.
As a state, we need to STOP making every single education decision that is surrounded by the measurements of standardized assessments. The Wilmington Education Improvement Commission is doing it. Our schools do it. Our DOE certainly does it. Our businesses aligned with Markell and Rodel do it. Enough. What about YOUR child. What about their INDIVIDUAL rights? Do they mean anything anymore?
Let me get this out right off the bat, Kim Williams is awesome! And not just because we are on a lot of the same sides when it comes to education. She is the perfect legislator. She cares about her constituents. But more than that, she cares about Delaware. Her heart is in Red Clay, but she knows she belongs to Delaware. If she has pending legislation, I trust these are bills which will help ALL of Delaware, not just her neck of the woods. I’ve talked with Kim many times about the issues facing students in Delaware, and she always listens. But it isn’t just that. When she hears the same themes and problems, she takes action!
I encourage all my readers, no matter what side of the political fence you sit on, to check out Kim’s new blog, Delaware FIrst State. In her pre-legislator days, Kim ran two different blogs, centered around Red Clay. I am happy Kim is writing again as I didn’t get to see her first two go-arounds on the blogosphere. I know Kim will touch on the issues that are important to all Delawareans! Welcome back Kim! Fellow Delaware bloggers, please add Kim to your blogroll.