When Joe Booth won the special election for the 19th District Senate seat, his seat opened up.
An special election for the 37th District will be held on Saturday, August 12.
Ruth Briggs and Rob Robinson are the Republican and Democrat candidates respectively for Booth’s seat.
Both candidates have backgrounds of civic involvement.
Rob Robinson is a well-known politician for Hoy en Delaware. He and his elder son Clemence (4 years), were with the Hispanic community last August, 23 at Festival Hispano in Millsboro.
We made the first part of this interview there: Robinson told us about the importance of the Hispanic community that he respects because it shows a different language and tradition, which contributes to the American culture.
Thirty seven years old and an enjoyable family who is the five generation history of bipartisan public serve to Sussex County, Robert Robinson (Rob) grew up in Georgetown. Son of the former publisher of Sussex Countian and a republican attorney who ran for lieutenant governor in 1984, he was a republican too.
As a public defender, he protects the constitutional rights of citizens who cannot afford legal representation.
He loves this area and he is not running to increase taxes.
He thinks that together we can find solutions to the many key issues facing the state.
In private practice, Rob helps people started small businesses and helped local governments draft ordinances that improve government efficiency.
Nowadays he is chairman of the Georgetown Planning Commission.
He disagree with the bloc vote in reference to the tax increases proposed next year and he sad that he won’t be part of a bloc vote because he knows that families and small businesses cannot afford more taxes.
Hoy en Delaware interviewed him.
These are Rob Robinson’s answers
HOY EN DELAWARE: If you are elected on Saturday where and how will Sussex County grow?
ROB ROBINSON: As a Georgetown native, I remember the many open fields and simple country roads throughout the area. As a member of Georgetown’s Planning and Zoning Commission, I also understand the need to balance the growth we need for the future with the duty to protect our quality of life by standing up to special interests that want to see unchecked development.
For too long, unchecked growth has choked our country roads and swallowed up our open fields. Our infrastructure can’t handle any more unrestrained development.
The state can take several steps to preserve open space and plan for smart, responsible growth:
Ensure developments are not approved unless they properly address the stress they place on our roads and utilities.
The state should consider a program allowing landowners to sell their development rights to concentrate development in areas where infrastructure is already in place.
Restore funding for the Agricultural Lands Preservation Fund to preserve as many farms as possible and keep farming as a viable industry.
Green construction – New construction should incorporate the latest green technology to reduce demands on utilities.
Public transit – Cutting down on the number of vehicles on the roads is one of the best ways to reduce congestion and pollution.
HD: How can you improve the education in our community?
RR: Delaware currently spends near the top in the country per student, yet we rank near the bottom in performance. Latinos in particular have the highest dropout rate (12 percent). We must lower that dropout rate and close the achievement gap. We must create an atmosphere in which all Delaware students can earn an education that will help them compete in a 21st century economy.
To do that, we need to get money out of the administrative offices and into the classrooms where teachers can educate tomorrow’s leaders. We need to be able to attract and retain qualified teachers and pay them competitive salaries. We must provide them with the tools they need to educate our children.
One of the important tools we must provide in the classroom is English Language Learner (ELL) educators so all students have every opportunity to learn and gain a quality education. Federal law requires every student to be on equal footing when it comes to getting an education.
HD: What initiatives do you propone to encourage new businesses to locate in our area?
RR: According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, small businesses owned by Hispanics have the fastest growth in the economic sector, opening businesses five to six times faster than other demographics. There are things we can do to help businesses owned by minorities by ensuring they have the opportunity to bid on state contracts. Too often, special interests prevent small business from competing for government contracts, and I will stand up for Delaware small businesses. We must ensure that minority-owned businesses have the same opportunity to succeed as any other business.
HD: Last August 5, Alan Levin said in a Chamber’s Commerce meeting that “we can’t wait for the government to solve our problems””We have to put America to work”. What’s your opinion about that?
RR: We must strengthen our economy, and the best way to do that is by creating good-paying jobs. Delaware is a small enough state that we should be able to use our small size to our advantage and coordinate when it comes to business. We must cut through the government red tape that slows down businesses from getting started and expanding. We must create a climate in which businesses can thrive and grow. While in civil practice, I most enjoyed helping people start businesses, working closely with them to get started, so I am familiar with the red tape and how to cut through it.
HD: Ruth Briggs proposes to balance the budget by reducing government spending. Levin said exactly the same. Aren’t so far Democrats and Republicans?
RR: I will not vote to raise your taxes next year, but we must be willing to make difficult decisions to cut programs we can no longer afford. The state budget shrank for the first time in nearly 20 years, and the state will cut 1,000 positions, but more must be done.
We must ask the difficult questions about money being spent. Simply because something has been done a certain way for years is not an acceptable reason to continue that practice. The executive and legislative branches must put pressure on all of our governmental agencies to operate more efficiently and to cut government waste. For example, consolidating school district purchasing – textbooks, supplies, etc. – and combining government functions to eliminate redundancies are examples of ways to save money and cut back on government.
HD: Is this a special election for the state representative of the 37th district or is the election to obtain the absolute 3/5th’s majority?
RR: I grew up in this area and when it came time to decide where to raise a family, my wife and I settled in Georgetown because this is home. I am running to represent the interests of all residents of the 37th District. I would be running for this office whether I would be the only Democrat or the 41st Democrat.
My opponent has used the 25th vote as a scare tactic to encourage people not to vote for me. I have been very clear that I will not vote for any tax increases that might be proposed next year. I will always vote the conscience of the 37th District, not along a party line.
HD: What can do Rob Robinson for the Hispanic Community and what can do the Hispanic Community for Rob?
RR: I spent a recent morning visiting with Hispanic business owners in Georgetown and I learned quite a bit about their needs and concerns. Our economy, our educational system and our state function best when everyone, regardless of race or creed, is able to move forward in a positive direction. We must ensure that Hispanic children are equipped to succeed in schools and minority business owners have the opportunity to start and grow their companies. We must work to close the disparities that exist for minorities, and we do that by listening to their concerns and addressing them head-on.
As your next state representative, I have met and will continue to meet with leaders of the Hispanic community and with business owners and families throughout the community to listen to your concerns. I will fight to eliminate the barriers that prevent minorities from achieving their dreams and work to provide, protect and preserve the quality of life that everyone deserves. I ask for your support and I ask for your vote on September 12.
HD: Why do you think you would be better state representative than your opponent?
RR: I was raised in a family that values community and public service. Those values were instilled in me at an early age. I am focused on the issues affecting residents of the 37th District rather than resorting to scare tactics and negative campaigning. I do not have ties to any organization or special interest, so I will go to work every day on behalf of all of you, not the special interests.
During this short campaign, I have very clearly stated my goals to improve the economy by creating jobs, managing our growth, building the education system we need for a 21st century economy and preserving the quality of life we hold dear. I’m asking you to hire me for the job of representing you in Dover to help create jobs, and I would appreciate if you give me the honor of going to work for you in Dover.