Back in September, Democrat David Bentz won in a special election that determined who would take over from the resigning State Rep. Michael Barbieri. Both candidates ran a clean campaign. Since he won the election to serve the 18th district of Delaware, Bentz won some plum assignments with the various House committees in the 148th General Assembly. He will be serving on the Education, Energy, Labor and Natural Resources. But a big surprise was his assignment as Vice-Chair of the Health and Human Services Committees. Barbieri served as the Chair of that committee, a role which State Rep. Deb Heffernan will take on.
I am very curious how Bentz will do in the General Assembly. As a former legislative aide to Barbieri, I’m sure he gained a great deal of insight on the legislative process. What kind of legislation will he introduce? How will his votes land in the Education Committee? If the General Assembly attempts to override Governor Markell’s veto of House Bill 50, what vote will Bentz cast? He will definitely be a legislator to watch in the 2nd half of the 148th General Assembly.
In looking at various issues he has written about, I think we can expect to see some definite education, criminal justice, student loan defaults and issues with the homeless in Bentz’s future. As the only “rookie” legislator introduced this term, I expect a learning curve but I think Bentz will rise to the challenge. The most important thing for him to do will be to emerge out of Barbieri’s shadow. He will need to become his own legislator. Which means I certainly hope he won’t follow in Barbieri’s footsteps on House Bill 50! I look forward to seeing what the “rookie” does during his first, albeit shortened, term.