Guest Commentary: Non-Partisan Delaware candidates ‘represent the broad center’

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Will McVay is a governing board member for Non-Partisan Delaware and the party’s candidate for state representative for District 34 in the general election. He resides in Dover.

It has been a week since the primaries, and some Delaware elections are over. The winners of some primaries and several other candidates across the state face no opposition in November, despite a few of them holding some views far outside the mainstream of Delaware and national politics.

In response to this and to the increasing number of Americans who believe a third party is necessary, Non-Partisan Delaware was formed in June by a group of disaffected Democrats, Republicans and independents to draw Delaware politics back from the brink and represent the broad center.

Yes, even in this polarized age of scathing memes and heated name-calling, there remains a middle ground in American politics. Consider the following:

  • Abortion: Sixty-one percent of Americans say that abortion should be legal in most or all cases.
  • Climate change: Sixty-three percent of Americans believe climate change is both real and a significant challenge to our world and nation, and significant majorities want better energy efficiency and environmental stewardship.
  • Guns: Forty percent of American households contain firearms, but 44%-52% think gun laws should be reformed. Most acknowledge the need to balance the right to self-defense against the need for protections against arming terrorists and criminals.
  • LGBTQ+: Acceptance of LGBTQ+ and marriage equality stands at an all-time high of 62%. While progress remains to be made, a majority believes that gender identity and sexuality should be addressed in public schools.
  • Police reform: Eighty-nine percent of Americans favor police reform in the wake of killings of Black Americans.
  • Public education: Sixty-three percent of Americans believe that public education is critical to making our nation, their communities and the economy stronger, and younger voters favor both school choice and supporting teachers.
  • Taxation: Sixty-seven percent of Americans think billionaires should be paying more taxes, but 55% of Americans don’t trust the government to spend tax revenues efficiently.

There’s a consistent, moderate consensus for reasonable reforms and sound public policy management, but both across America and in Delaware, the opposing parties are so busy being opposing parties that they’ve forgotten that we want them to solve problems, not just campaign on problems they made up.

Too often “the Delaware Way” acts in the parties’ interests and not in our interests.

Example: Delaware has among the worst campaign finance laws in the nation.

Example: Delaware eviction rates are among the nation’s highest: Twenty percent of Delaware’s homeless have been evicted. Landlords or creditors bring attorneys to 86% of those court cases, but only 2% of the people facing eviction are represented. In 2022, the General Assembly failed to remedy this — again.

Example: Civilian police oversight and qualified immunity reform have been stymied for years (in the state with the most extensive set of police protections from accountability in the nation) by the General Assembly’s informal, bipartisan “law enforcement caucus.”

Example: In Delaware, our insurance commissioners, county sheriffs, registers of wills, clerk of the peace and recorders of deeds are chosen in partisan elections. We should be hiring qualified administrators, not aspiring politicians who sometimes campaign on having no experience for the job.

Example: Our lawmakers avoid health insurance reform. Instead, since 2014, they’ve turned over control of the private health insurance market and much of Medicaid to what we consider to be one of the nation’s most predatory, unethical insurance companies.

Example: They’ve subverted the Coastal Zone Act, encroached on the Nanticoke River and plan to place a biogas facility in the midst of one of Seaford’s poorest communities of color, and 97% of our rivers and streams are polluted.

Meanwhile, gerrymandered legislative districts are increasingly less competitive: In the majority of House and Senate elections, either the Democrats or Republicans have declined to run candidates.

Non-Partisan Delaware believes that everyday citizens’ concerns should drive our agenda, and elected officials should be held accountable to their constituents. We have created an open process, providing ballot access to a politically diverse group of grassroots activists. Besides myself in the 34th Representative District (Dover/Camden), we’ve focused on a few key races:

  • In the 41st Representative District (Millsboro), Joseph DiPasquale provides a pro-environment, pro-public education, moderate alternative to a incumbent who believes teachers and new moms don’t deserve paid family leave.
  • In the 21st Senate District (Seaford), Sonja Mehaffey is giving the voters the chance to select a pro-reproductive rights, pro-LGBTQ+, pro-environment candidate over a senator who opposes a woman’s rights to reproductive health care and chooses developer profits over environmental stewardship.
  • In the 5th Representative District (Bear), Mark Parks is a thoughtful advocate of responsible gun ownership, believing we can combat rising urban violence without laws that don’t actually affect the rates of drug war violence in Wilmington’s streets committed with illegal firearms, the main driver of gun violence in Delaware.
  • We have county sheriff nominees — James Brittingham (Sussex), Aarika Nelson (Kent) and John Machurek (New Castle) — running to highlight the waste of elected county sheriff sinecures that are expensive, outmoded and unnecessary.

These candidates are fighting for the chance to become your voice in Delaware’s government. We urge you to think about supporting them in November and joining us online through our website or social media.

Delaware’s future is too important to be left to career politicians.

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