Platform

Responsive Government

I believe that constituent services are key to being a member of the House of Representatives because, in my view, the role of a member is to amplify the collective voice of the district that they represent. This necessarily means that the House member must be skilled at setting aside their views on a matter in order to give opposing perspectives a fair hearing, earnestly presenting and attempting to convince the public of genuinely better options, and knowing when to let go of such attempts and accept that legislators do not have individual vetoes against the public. Unfortunately, far too many of our elected officials don’t value constituent services at all and patronizing behavior has become the rule instead of the exception. 

As your next State Representative, I will work to reverse these problematic norms by providing or advocating for:

Equitable Economic Development

As an accomplished African-American economics scholar who has lived in gentrified and/or gentrifying cities such as Boston, Harlem, and Washington D.C., I know all too well that the trickle-down effect is a myth and that new development projects almost always hurt low-income families and other groups that have historically been ignored by or purposely excluded from public policy. I believe that businesses should provide real value to the communities that they become a part of. I also believe that public-private partnerships should be evaluated in light of modern economic knowledge, not outdated and oversimplified theories. As your state representative, I will support:

Youth Services & Education

I became interested in public policy through my determination to aid the development of Wilmington’s youth. These youth and their families are still my North Star, but unfortunately, the support that they receive has sharply declined. As a first-generation college graduate and former social worker and youth program coordinator, I’ve seen how the support that youth and their families receive has been severely limited over the last decade and I know that when children do not have opportunities for safe fun or jobs they are more likely to make poor decisions.

In 2016, the U.S. D.O.J Department of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Program ranked Delaware well above national rates in regard to juvenile arrests for aggravated assault, robbery, larceny, drug abuse, and weapons. We can reverse these outcomes by increasing and improving the services and opportunities available to Delaware’s youth. 

Chief among these services and opportunities are access to culturally relevant curricula and the resources that will allow youth to indulge their individual interests. We must ensure that our youth are supported by flooding the systems that encounter them with the support that they need. 

As your state representative, I will pursue:

Housing

I believe that providing housing to unhoused individuals in the 2nd district is simply a matter of local and state governments aligning their priorities with their constituent values. Recent events have shown that the majority of our neighbors at both the local and state level are appalled at both the idea and the reality of people being turned out into the street in the country’s most prosperous small state. They also disapprove of the current level of homelessness that exists in the 2nd District and throughout our state. 

There is also a business case for a just and equitable housing policy. Since the rise of remote work during COVID-19, many people have begun to rethink living in major metro centers and are relocating to smaller, more affordable towns that feature inclusive communities, walkable green spaces, and amenities that are both sensibly family-friendly and sensibly priced. Millennials, whom our current development schemes target, are overrepresented in that group and place a premium on real community and social justice. 

Taking all of these facts together, it is clear that the 2nd District and Delaware more broadly will benefit more from a development strategy focused on realizing Wilmington’s potential to become one of the Mid-Atlantic’s pre-eminent commuter cities than it will from our present strategy of mimicking cities that are seeing residents move away in significant numbers and mistreating our most vulnerable citizens in the process. Put another way: providing affordable housing and avoiding gentrification should be obvious solutions for any sensible legislator or policymaker.

As your next state representative, I will be sensible and support the following: 

Holistic Public Health 

While living abroad in Italy, I got to see how a society fares when a government assumes the necessity of its citizenry a healthy work-life balance, daily exercise, and the consumption of fresh, high-quality food. The health outcomes that I witnessed were staggering and are summarized here. While we can’t control all of those factors of public health, Delawareans can enjoy a comparable quality of life, if we decide to take advantage of our geography and local resources. The first step is targeting outdated norm and coordinating policies that concern our collective wellbeing. We can then multiply those gains by helping Delaware’s non-profit community take a collective impact approach to the intervention work that they do around these policy areas.

To empower Delawareans to pursue healthier lifestyles, I will work toward:

Criminal Justice & Gun Violence

Like most Delawareans, I know several people who have either lost their lives or loved ones to gun violence. What makes these tragedies even more painful is that many of them were avoidable.

The 2015 CDC report commissioned by the Wilmington City Council informs us that “focusing comprehensive wrap-around services to individuals at the highest risk of violent crime involvement” can go a long way toward reducing gun violence. The report goes on to list “peer outreach/mentorship, medical care/counseling, educational support, economic assistance, and/or other services” as tactics that we might employ — tactics that have been successfully implemented by programs such as the Community Empowerment Project. 

I agree wholeheartedly with the researchers’ findings and applaud the work of community leaders and frontline professionals who have been achieving spectacular outcomes with our at-risk youth population and our neighbors re-entering the community post-incarceration. 

We have discovered what works and established that not only as a state but as a nation we agree on the need for effective gun reform and a shift toward both respectful policing and restorative justice. 

To support the progress that we are making in this area I will use the State Representative’s office to pursue: 

Environmental Justice

I believe we must not only transition Delaware into a green state but we must ensure environmental justice for all residents while doing so. Environmental justice means transitioning from a status quo wherein the most vulnerable populations bear the majority of environmental burdens to one in which there is a fair allocation of both environmental advantages and burdens. 

Transitioning to a green state will create sustainability within the environment and the economy. Some states have found that every dollar invested in environmental efficiency returns a minimum of $2 in net economic benefits. In addition to the economic benefit transitioning to a green state will also support Delawareans’ ability to lead healthier lifestyles, as urban green spaces, such as parks, playgrounds, and residential greenery, can promote mental and physical health, and reduce morbidity and mortality in urban residents by providing psychological relaxation and stress alleviation, stimulating social cohesion, supporting physical activity, and reducing exposure to air pollutants and excessive heat. 

As your state representative, I will support: