Just one week ago, the confidence millions of Americans hold in the integrity of their elections was shaken when the Iowa Caucus, a long-standing political institution, descended into absolute chaos. The results of that caucus are, due to errors and delays in reporting, still unclear. Delaware does not hold a caucus - however voters here might still be worried about the security, accuracy, and transparency of our election systems. This week on Whip Count we spoke to Rep. Paul Baumbach about what he saw in Iowa at the caucus and efforts the House is making to expand voting rights, and Delaware Elections Commissioner Anthony Albence about the failsafes we've put in place to make sure that our elections work.

February 4, 2020

The Budget Episode

Delaware's General Assembly is constitutionally obligated to do only one thing - pass a balanced budget. Last week, Governor John Carney announced his proposed budget and today the Joint Finance Committee is meeting to begin its process of writing it. However, for many people this process started just after the last budget was passed this summer.

In this episode of Whip Count we speak to Secretary of Health and Social Services Dr. Kara Odom Walker, Director of the Office of Management and Budget Mike Jackson, and House Co-Chair of the Joint Finance Committee Rep. Quinn Johnson to learn about the budget process from beginning to end.

Last week, Governor John Carney gave his annual State of the State Address to a joint session of the Delaware General Assembly. Here is the full audio of the speech, outlining his priorities for the coming year.

This year, House Majority Leader Valerie Longhurst and Governor John Carney announced an influx of funding for clean water infrastructure in Delaware. Communities up and down our state have been facing problems with access to clean water, stormwater management, flooding, and waste water. This investment will help rebuild drinking water infrastructure, protect our waterways and support vulnerable communities. We spoke to an advocate for clean water, the Mayor of Milford, a southern Delaware town, and Rep. Longhurst about the history of this bill, the impact it will have on our state, and where it is in the legislative process.

In 2008, Governor Ruth Ann Minner left political office having led one of the most extraordinary political careers in Delaware history. A twice-widowed mother of three who never finished high school, she worked her way up from a job as a Delaware House of Representatives attache to being a two-term governor. 

While in office Ruth Ann tackled tough issues head-on, and has left a lasting legacy in our state and throughout our country. Last week she celebrated her 85th birthday on her Milford farm, surrounded by the towing business she built with her husband and the houses her sons still live in. We spoke to her about her life and legacy to cap off this two-part special for the premiere of Whip Count Season 2.

Welcome back to the 150th Delaware General Assembly and to Season 2 of Whip Count! This season we're going even farther into the quirks, history, and characters of Legislative Hall.

Our session begins with a momentous occasion: former Governor Ruth Ann Minner's 85th birthday. Governor Minner has a fascinating and unique story, and this week we delve into it with some of the people who knew her best throughout her life and career. 

Stay tuned: next week we finish off this 2-part special with an interview with Governor Minner herself.

In 2019, Democrats in Delaware's General Assembly began an unprecedented effort to reform our state's criminal justice system on a large scale, introducing 19 bills aimed at reforming sentencing, reentry, and more. At the same time, Delaware's new Attorney General Kathy Jennings has been changing practices within the Department of Justice to make the system more equitable. This week on Whip Count, AG Jennings sits down with Rep. Sean Lynn, a defense attorney and the chair of the House Judiciary Committee, and Dubard McGriff, an activist and organizer with the ACLU Campaign for Smart Justice for a wide-reaching conversation on the criminal justice system and the work they're doing to reform it.

A Delawarean dies every 22 hours from an opioid overdose. This crisis has reached a point where it affects nearly everyone in our state, and Delaware lawmakers are fighting back. This week we are joined by Rep. David Bentz, the chair of the House Health Committee, Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long, the chair of the Behavioral Health Consortium, and David Humes, a board member of Attack Addiction to discuss steps we have taken to fight the opioid epidemic and what we can do going forward. Get access to help with addiction and mental health issues today: https://www.helpisherede.com/

On a busy session day Legislative Hall is bustling and crazy, but underneath that chaos there is a team of people who make sure everything runs smoothly. Many of the people who work here have years of insight into our state government, and their unique stories and backgrounds are part of what make this building special. We sat down with staff from the Legislative Library, Facilities, the Leg Hall Cafe, the print shop, a long-time House Democrats receptionist, and a Master Corporal from the Capitol Police to hear what they had to say about their lives and their important work.

In 2019, 8 new legislators joined the Delaware House Democratic Caucus. They come from a variety of backgrounds and bring unique perspectives and experiences to the General Assembly, which has helped them already make an impact on the policies that affect every Delawarean. We spoke to five of the new representatives about their lives, their journey to the House of Representatives, and the unique experiences of being a freshman legislator, including learning the building and running their first bill.

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