Your Guide To The New Delaware 150th General Assembly

In January, 2019, Delaware will embark on the 150th session of the General Assembly.  Yesterday’s election changed the face of our legislative body in a big way!  Who runs Delaware for the next two years?  Who makes the laws?  All can be seen below.  If you don’t recognize some of the names, do some research.  If you want changes in our laws, seek out your State Representative or State Senator.  If you are having issues that aren’t being taken care of, call your elected officials.  Whether you agree with the party or not, your elected officials are there to represent YOU, not themselves.  If they don’t help, call them out for it. Continue reading

Dover State Rep Candidate Alleges He Got The Shaft From DSEA Over Endorsement

Ralph Taylor, a Democrat candidate for the 31st District Representative Primary, just unleashed a tirade against the Delaware State Education Association over what he alleges are unfair practices for endorsements.

Continue reading

Candidate Message: Robert Mitchell, State Representative 35th District, Republican

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.

Continue reading

Breaking News: State Rep. Mike Ramone Is Having A Pool Party!

State Representative Mike Ramone from the 21st Representative District is hosting a pool party for constituents on September 9th, three days after the Primary Election.  In lieu of his Coffee Conversations, he is holding this bash for his 200th constituent meeting. It looks like this is open to ALL of the constituents of the 21st!  Ramone faces Democrat Stephanie Barry in the General Election this November.  I hope he gets a lot of hot dogs!

For those who may be wondering why I am posting this, it is an inside joke which Mike Ramone will definitely get.  I have no doubt he will appreciate the irony here!

Candidate Message: George Parish, Sussex County Council, District 4, Republican

Exceptional Delaware reached out to candidates for Delaware’s election this year to freely promote their message.  Thank you to George Parish for being the first!

Continue reading

Breaking News: Kathleen Davies Issues Press Release On Slanted News Journal Article

Kathleen Davies, a Democrat candidate for Delaware State Auditor, issued an official press release today about the very controversial News Journal article that appeared online and in print over the past couple of weeks.  This answers many questions I’ve had and confirms many suspicions I’ve harbored over this matter. Continue reading

Auditor Forum: Davies Shines, McGuiness Blunders, & Williams Rants

Last night, the Kent County Democratic Committee hosted a forum for the Democrat candidates for State Auditor at the Kent County Levy Court in Dover.  The well-attended debate was clearly won by candidate Kathleen Davies. Continue reading

Earl Jaques Has An Opponent!

I wasn’t expecting this.  State Rep. Earl Jaques, who has ran unopposed the past few election cycles, has an opponent!  Bill Hinds has been nominated as a Libertarian in the 27th Representative District.  This just got interesting!

Some of you might be scratching their head and saying “How?”  The answer is simple.  If a candidate runs unopposed, the minor parties can nominate someone to run.  The deadline for that is August 1st according to the State of Delaware election website.

DSEA Endorses Kathleen Davies For State Auditor

Kathleen Davies received the crown jewel of endorsements today when the Delaware State Education Association endorsed her!

Kathleen Davies has the experience needed to get done the critical work of the State Auditor’s office. With more than 25 years of auditing and accounting experience, Kathleen is the most qualified candidate with the skills needed to serve as a strong watchdog for Delaware’s taxpayers. DSEA members want an auditor who is going to hold state agencies and school districts accountable for taxpayer dollars. We enthusiastically recommend Kathleen for State Auditor and believe she’s the best choice for voters to make on September 6th.

This just adds to Davies’ growing list of endorsements and accomplishments in this race!  On September 6th, vote Kathleen Davies!  There are things going on in this state as I write this that will demand someone with the full capacity and knowledge to do this job.  That is Kathleen Davies.  We need her now more than ever!

Kathy McGuiness Victim Shaming Kathleen Davies Is A New Low

Kathy McGuiness issued a victim shaming press release today against her State Auditor candidate, Kathleen Davies.  Seeing this is showing McGuiness has to be worried about losing a primary (again) in September!  In her latest stunt, she sent an email to her “supporters” today about the News Journal article on Davies that appeared online yesterday.

The urban dictionary describes victim shaming as this- “When the victim of an event is blamed, or partially blamed, for their own attack.”

While I first wrote about why Davies was unfairly dismissed from the Auditor’s office on June 5th, it took the News Journal twenty days to (finally) catch up with that news.  But they didn’t assign a political reporter to the story, but rather an education reporter.  Both of our articles were very similar in citing the unemployment hearing report.  I did my thing but the News Journal did have some new information.

Bies wrote about an upcoming Merit Employee Review Hearing. This hearing will determine if Davies gets her job back.  Bies did a good job at expressing Davies’ thoughts on the matter:

“Merit employees are subject to a process that is controlled and driven by the state,” she explained in an email. “Hence, I had to follow the state’s guidelines and processes, which meant I had to stay on paid leave as long as the state kept me there in order to exercise my merit and legal remedies. I and other merit employees have suffered through this process with no option other than to engage legal counsel and wait.”

“The state chose to keep me on paid leave for the 19 months before I could move forward with the merit and legal process,” Davies said. “My legal representation, as is the case with other merit employees, is at my own expense. Had I resigned from my position during the 19 months, I would have lost my rights to these remedies.”

But here comes Kathy McGuiness, sending out a VERY misleading email today, calling on Davies to make her merit hearing public AND to release a report that the Auditor’s office paid over $100,000.00 for.  Yes, the Grant Thornton report.  The same report that was incomplete at the unemployment hearing.  Which begs some serious questions- why didn’t Wagner release the full report to the unemployment hearing officer?  Were there allegations against Wagner himself in that report?  Did Wagner’s office have the ability to edit that report or redact information since the full copy wasn’t released to the hearing officer?

The McGuiness campaign wrote the following “press release” today which is begging for a red-lining!

Kathy McGuiness, Democratic candidate for Auditor, responded to today’s News Journal report detailing the latest developments in Kathleen Davies’ dismissal from her post as Tom Wagner’s second-in-command and issued the following:

McGuiness acts like this has been in the press every single day for two years.  It hasn’t.  She wants to put a focus on something that was already solved.  In short, Wagner screwed up!

“In two months, Democratic primary voters will be choosing their nominee for this critical state office and deserve to know what was found in the independent investigation leading to Kathleen Davies’ initial dismissal from the Auditor’s Office. 

Wagner dismissed Davies before that investigation was even complete.  Now if you are talking about the unwarranted and unethical “independent investigation” conducted by an audit manager in the office without any authority to do so, we can talk about that.  Which led to Davies’ wrongful termination and was ruled by the unemployment hearing officer to be unethical.

Based on the News Journal account, the Wagner-Davies Auditor’s Office operated without leadership for years. 

Actually, they did operate with leadership which most likely scared half the people in the office.  All of a sudden, not long after Davies came aboard, that office was doing real audits that wound up resulting in real jail sentences for crooked charter school leaders.  But apparently some didn’t like Davies in a leadership role so they trumped up bogus charges against her.  It backfired.  Davies proved she does have what it takes to get the job done!

The decision allowing her to receive unemployment insurance is only the first step of the investigation into Ms. Davies’ professional conduct while working for Tom Wagner. 

Even though, based on testimony of others in that office, including Wagner himself, it was proven Davies professional conduct was above and beyond and she did her job.  Okay.  It seems like McGuiness is screaming about smoke but there is no fire.

The Auditor’s office has to operate transparently and maintain the public’s trust.

For someone who talks so much about transparency, why doesn’t McGuiness open up the books on her many years on Rehoboth City Council?  Where is the Rehoboth City Council online checkbook?  For a council she served on for so long, how come she never begged for that kind of transparency down there? 

To have critical investigative information about a candidate for State Auditor withheld from the public and to have a hearing closed to the public, where serious accusations about her professional conduct while on the job is a disservice to voters and undermines the public’s confidence. 

To see my own take on McGuiness, just look at this article.  Yes, this is the same McGuiness who wanted LLCs to have voting rights.  Who had to hire an attorney to figure out if she lived in Delaware or Utah in order for her to qualify as a candidate for Lieutenant Governor.  Who changed her political party several times.  For the record, Davies has not said one way or the other whether or not the hearing will be public.  I would imagine she has a lawyer involved and she would make a decision based on her own legal counsel.  And this hearing is NOT about the serious accusations about her professional conduct.  It is about Davies serious accusations against the Auditor’s office which had a light as bright as the sun shining on Wagner’s office after the unemployment hearing.  For McGuiness to sit there and victim shame Davies is very low, even for Delaware politics.  But I guess you have to do what you can to win, right?

Because she is a candidate for public office, I call on Ms. Davies to authorize the Auditor’s office to release to the public, the content of the Grant Thornton investigation as well as any other pertinent information relating into her conduct as Tom Wagner’s top assistant, and permit her July hearing before the Merit Employees Relations Board to be open to the public, so voters have all the facts.” 

You are assuming she has the ability to “authorize” the Auditor’s office to make a report they paid for public.  Regarding a personnel issue.  And once again, the same report that could very well have been doctored to such a degree to make Wagner try to look good.  Which it failed to do at the unemployment hearing by the way.  Even though the unemployment hearing report cleared Davies of the wrongdoing this “audit manager” trumped up against her, that isn’t enough for McGuiness.  She wants this report released which would, in most likelihood, make Wagner look even worse than he already does.

What McGuiness failed to mention in her email is the heart of the News Journal article which was this- Tom Wagner unfairly terminated Davies.  And it went on to state how it was unfair.  Instead she is trying to make a “thing” out of something that was already solved when I put up my article three weeks ago.  These are the actions of a desperate woman who thought she had a sure thing in running for State Auditor.  Someone who likes to talk about transparency but doesn’t even release her own reimbursements with the City of Rehoboth.

But McGuiness doesn’t even bother to write how the Merit Employee Review Board deals with grievances Delaware state employees file against the agency they worked for.  Davies isn’t the one on trial here.  The purpose is to hear what Davies has to say in regards to the grievances she filed against Tom Wagner.  I have no doubt she viewed Davies as a distant runner in the race and didn’t count on her being vindicated in the press.  So she wants to attempt to stir up trouble instead of reaching out to a political candidate.  The right thing for McGuiness to do would be to sympathize with Davies, woman to woman, and recognize that, yes, our state employee merit system is very jacked up.  Nope, she wants to try to throw Davies under a victim shaming bus and that is just wrong.

Kathy McGuiness wants to talk on her campaign stops about diversity as she sits on the all-white and well-off Rehoboth City Council.  She is just wrong for State Auditor and if that hasn’t become clear to anyone in Delaware yet, I strongly encourage you to look beyond the “image” of McGuiness.  She will happily show up at any event in the First State and tell you why she should be State Auditor.  But that doesn’t make her the real thing.

This is an ongoing issue between Davies and Wagner.  Davies was cleared in the first round.  That has been made public already.  If McGuiness wants to victim blame another candidate to make herself look like a viable candidate, that is certainly her right but it is a new low.  Which would make me very concerned about her ability to hold statewide office and how she would deal with those who cross her path in a way she doesn’t like.  This is the Kathy McGuiness that, when she feels threatened, would victim shame a good and decent woman.  While some in the Delaware Democrat party pledge allegiance to McGuiness, they are doing it for all the wrong reasons.  And they know what those reasons are.  They want McGuiness because she is malleable and will serve at their behest.  But I can promise it will be a decision those Democrat power brokers would live to regret down the road.  The optics of politics is a messy thing.  Delaware deserves a State Auditor that is not malleable and will not serve power brokers.  Delaware deserves Kathleen Davies.

Kowalko Endorses Kathleen Davies For State Auditor

Delaware Representative John Kowalko issued the following statement this afternoon:

It is not often that I choose to make an endorsement in a primary election, but sometimes a candidate stands out from the rest and earns my recognition and support. An individual of impeccable integrity, experience and intelligence best describes Kathleen Davies. Ms. Davies stands above the others in my opinion and will administer the affairs and responsibilities of the Auditor’s office with an exceptional consideration for fairness and honesty.

I am proud to endorse Kathleen Davies as the Democratic candidate for the office of State Auditor. Kathleen Davies has more than 25 years’ experience in state auditing with six years as the second-in-command at the Office of Auditor of Accounts. Davies has the expertise to perform independent evaluations of state funded programs. She will work to identify recommendations for process improvements including work to support quality education and to provide recommendations to advance public health and human services. Davies has the qualifications, experience, and commitment to providing transparent public reporting and fiscal accountability.

Representative John Kowalko

I couldn’t agree more Rep. Kowalko!  There is only one choice for State Auditor in both the Primary AND the General Election, and that is Kathleen Davies!  To see what Davies is all about, please go to her campaign website.

Exclusive: The Kathleen Davies Mystery Solved! What Role Did Tom Wagner, The Delaware DOE, & The News Journal Play?

For over two years, Delaware citizens wondered why Kathleen Davies was put on leave by Delaware State Auditor Tom Wagner.  Now, finally, the truth can be told. Continue reading

Kathy McGuiness: Why The Idea Of Her As State Auditor Is Beyond Frightening

Who is Kathy McGuiness?  Yes, she is running for State Auditor.  But who is she really?  Is she true Blue or is she Red for convenience sake?  Who are her best friends and why would that make it VERY dangerous for her to win this election?  She wants to be a state auditor.  Someone whose job is making sure other state agencies don’t break the rules.  But her alliances and allegiances beg the question and puts her on a very slippery slope.  And I’m not just talking about the slopes in Park City, Utah. Continue reading

OMG! Electing Kathy McGuiness As State Auditor Would Be Like Putting A TFA Teacher As Secretary Of Education! Don’t Do It!

I just caught part of the Delaware United forum with the candidates for State Auditor and Attorney General.  I heard Kathleen McGuiness babbling about her qualifications.  She is NOT a certified accountant.  She took some crash course in NY last year to be a “fraud investigator”.  She is a pharmacist and a realtor.  This would be like putting a crash-course Teach For America teacher as Secretary of Education.  She is NOWHERE close to being qualified.

I understand the Speaker of the House, Pete Schwartzkopf, wants her.  As well as other legislators who seem to think she would be the best.  They aren’t basing that decision on any amount of qualification for the office but because Pete wants her.  Because they are friends.  It is Delaware politics at its worst!

For this office, we need someone who is qualified.  We could argue whether that would be Kathleen Davies or Dennis Williams.  For my money, I’m going with Davies.  She worked in the Auditor’s office.  She knows exactly what to do and how to do it.  There would not be a “learning curve” that McGuiness would stumble through.  Williams tends to tick off a lot of people.  I agree the Auditor’s office should be independent of political party.  But Williams already has a ton of burnt bridges which would not be helpful in getting things done.

Yes, there is a cloud with Davies.  Why was she put on leave by Tom Wagner?  I still firmly believe that was due to someone wanting her to shut up.  I have never bought the bogus News Journal article from 2016 suggesting she was inappropriately reimbursing herself for travel expenses.  I believe whatever happened was cooked up, kind of like McGuiness’ auditor campaign over the past year.  I believe we will find out in due time what happened and I also believe it will come out that something was cooked up.  Davies for State Auditor by a landslide!

If you really want to learn about Kathy McGuiness, just Google “Kathy McGuiness” and “Delaware Liberal” to get the scoop.  There is plenty of stuff in there to keep you reading for hours!

State Auditor Race Heats Up As Kathleen Davies Files As A Dem For Three-Way Primary

One of the biggest events next September will be the primary race for the Delaware State Auditor.  Current State Auditor Wagner is retiring and so far, three have filed to run under the Democrat banner.  Today, Kathleen Davies filed.  Facing off against Kathleen McGuiness and Dennis Williams, I see Davies as the strongest candidate with experience that leap-frogs and catapults over the other two.  She is EXACTLY what Delaware needs and will by far do the best job should she win.

While there are some unanswered questions regarding her paid leave from the Auditor’s office, you simply do not pay someone for that long if they did something as egregious as what appeared in the News Journal in 2016.  I firmly believe there is much more to that than meets the eye and someone wanted her to shut up and took swift action.  But it is a new day and a new administration in Delaware.  It is past time the sun shined brightly on The First State and the best place for that is in the State Auditor’s office.

What Tom Wagner’s Retirement Means For The State Auditor’s Office

The loooooooong-time State Auditor, Tom Wagner, announced he was retiring last night at the annual Delaware GOP Lincoln Dinner.  He couldn’t think of a single Republican to take his place.  As many have suggested, the flip-flopper Kathy McGuiness should switch from Democrat to Republican since that is where her heart lies.  Which would leave Dennis Williams as the sole filed Democrat.  May I present a third option… Continue reading

Will The General Assembly Pony Up An Additional $18.5 Million For Christina By June 30th?

The latest Memorandum of Understanding concerning Governor John Carney’s plans for Christina has an ask of $18.5 million in additional state funding to implement the plan.  This is, of course, based on approval by the Delaware General Assembly as they hammer out the FY2019 budget over the next six months.

The latest draft of the MOU, authored by Carney’s Education Policy Adviser Jon Sheehan, is a red-lined version.  The new wording in the document is all red-lined.  Keep in mind this is more than the initial ask from the Wilmington Education Improvement Commission.  Carney, from all reports I’ve heard, wants this plan to go through more than anything in the world.  How much so?  He will most likely do anything to make it happen.  I’m not sure why he has made this his top priority in education matters.  I think it is a red herring with danger signs written all over it.  I believe he is counting on the Christina Board of Education to vote no on it so he can launch some dastardly punitive action against the district.  I believe it is the same tactic Governor Markell used with WEIC.  Get everyone talking about it knowing full well the General Assembly wasn’t going to approve it.  The key difference between this and that is with WEIC the state already had a budget deficit when faced with that vote.  This time around, Delaware is boasting of a budget surplus.  I believe there are some smoke and mirrors with their numbers and I believe there is some fuzzy math with their formulas.  We shall see.

From a legislator’s point of view, the funding for this is based on Wilmington schools.  As WEIC learned the hard way, giving extra and significant funding to one portion of the state and not the rest is not an easy task.  Like I said the other week, everyone and their mother will be jockeying for their share of the mystical “budget surplus”.  In an election year, incumbents will NOT want to tick off voters in their districts.  I think Carney knows this.  Or he is that stupid.  But I’ll go with the former on this one.  Which is why I think it is a red herring.

The latest draft appears to have concessions granted to the Christina Board from their last discussion.  The Christina Board wanted to change the timeline from the 2018-2019 school year to the 2019-2020 year.  But the wording in the draft suggests Carney wants the Dual Generation Center up and running in 2018.  If that went through, there would definitely be some type of building movement by August of this year.

In the meantime, check out the latest Jon Sheehan penned draft of the MOU which the Christina Board will vote on at their next board meeting on January 16th.  It would have gone to a vote tonight but the meeting was postponed due to inclement weather.

18 Who Will Make An Impact In 2018: The Voter

Never before has a citizen’s right been more important.  This could be said of any election, but the only one that matters now is the next one.  Candidates are slowly filing for office.  This will ramp up big time in the next few months.  Candidates from the same party will face off against each other throughout the state and then they may face someone from the other party, or, hopefully, some more 3rd party candidates!

Every single vote is important.  In Virginia, a House seat ended with a tie until a recount.  One Democrat vote won the race.  Your voice, as well as your vote matters.  If you support a candidate, go as far as you possibly can with that support.  Help them out.  Put signs up.  Talk to people about your choice.  Nothing is pre-ordained.  Nothing.  It may seem that way, but that is why they coined the term “dark horse”.

Whether it is a school board or a city council or your state legislature or U.S. Government, it all matters.  Do not sit on the fence and think your vote doesn’t matter.  It does.

18 Who Will Make An Impact In 2018: Bill Bush

The name is familiar to folks associated with Legislative Hall or Caesar Rodney’s Board of Education.  Bill Bush filed to run for Trey Paradee’s seat in the 29th Representative district.  Bush, who serves as a House of Representatives attorney, also has his own law firm.  As well, he is the Vice-President of the Caesar Rodney School District Board of Education.  Can the Democrat win?

He has no challengers… yet!  I expect that to change in the coming months.  Paradee usually had challengers for this seat so I don’t expect anything different this time.  This is a seat that typically goes blue.  Bush has a lot of clout in Dover and at Legislative Hall as a House Attorney.  But many folks don’t want to see another “insider” at Legislative Hall and Dover Republicans are hungry for change.  The 29th district includes parts of Wyoming, Dover, and Smyrna.

I’ve seen him in action down there.  He knows his stuff and what they can and can’t do.  I don’t always agree with him 100%, such as what happened with the opt out veto override.  The way it all went down could have and should have been handled differently from a legal perspective.  When State Rep. John Kowalko talked to Bush about bringing it up again at the end of the 148th General Assembly, it was found the procedural rules for the override should have been handled differently. But at the end of the day, there was no way in hell Speaker of the House Pete Schwartzkopf was going to let Kowalko do anything with it.

From Caesar Rodney’s website:

William Bush is the vice president for the Caesar Rodney School Board. He and his wife Carrie reside in Wyoming and have three children. Mr. Bush received a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Finance from the University of Delaware and a Doctor of Jurisprudence from Widener University School of Law. He currently works as an attorney in private practice.

 

18 Who Will Make An Impact In 2018: The Women of Delaware

4 out of 21 Delaware State Senators are women.  9 out of 41 Delaware State Representatives are women.  Which gives women a small 21% portion of the Delaware General Assembly.  I am predicting that number will rise in January of 2019 after many women win seats in the upcoming Delaware General Election.  From Laura Sturgeon to Donyale Hall, from Elizabeth Lockman to Krista Griffith and Rachel Blumenfeld, we are seeing fresh new faces running for office.  We even have Kathleen Davies taking on her former boss for the Delaware State Auditor.  Factoring in the shameful season of men getting blacklisted from Hollywood and the media over sexual harassment of women, the time is ripe for a major shift in politics. Continue reading