Senator Bryan Townsend had a big year! Not only did he introduce tons of legislation that actually passed, he also announced his run for Congress. He has many running against him, but the slot John Carney filled as the US House Representative will have a new person come January 2017. Will it be Townsend? This is really a guess at this point. His main opponent appears to be State Rep. Byron Short, also a Democrat. This will be one hot primary!
On the education side, Townsend introduced legislation that would increase the requirements of the Delaware Secretary of Education. This was done as a result of former Secretary Mark Murphy’s severe shortcomings in the Delaware Department of Education. On the data side, Townsend sponsored a few bills that would protect student data. He did vote yes for the controversial opt-out bill, House Bill 50, but not without a introducing a potential stumbling block along the way.
When House Bill 50 hit the Delaware Senate the first time, Townsend introduced a legislation to allow high school juniors to opt-out of the Smarter Balanced Assessment. By the time it went back to the House of Representatives, many Republicans felt this could cause a slew of problems with parents who might want their teenager to take the test. Eventually, the House voted the amendment down and House Bill 50 passed the House again, and then the Senate again. As we all know, Governor Jack Markell vetoed the bill, but it may come up for an override when the legislators come back in January. How will Townsend vote if that happens?
Recently, Townsend has been supporting Governor Markell’s decision to allow Syrian refugees into Delaware. Following the Paris attacks and the recent shooting in San Bernardino, California, many folks in Delaware oppose this. Will Townsend be able to overcome this on Election Day? It will be interesting to watch. What do you think? Does the newer Senator have what it takes to beat the established State Rep? Or will one of the Republicans running come from behind and do the unthinkable?