DOVER, Del. - There was a major surprise in Delaware Gov. Jack Markell's State of the State speech Thursday. And it is a huge deal for Sussex County.
ILC Dover is bringing 115 new jobs to Seaford. The governor's office says the deal was just finished. ILC Dover makes items like spacesuits for NASA.
The company is getting hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants to bring the manufacturing operations of Grayling Industries from its current production facility in Juarez, Mexico, to a new plant near Seaford later this year.
"It is an opening opportunity," Rep. Danny Short, R-Seaford, said. "For a vast number of people in our area to have employment, who might not have employment right now.
Grayling's production line includes protective packaging for food, chemical, and pharmaceutical dry powder and liquid applications. It also manufactures brands for the asbestos abatement and remediation industry worldwide. The state says hiring will start in April and run through the end of the year. The company expects to employ roughly 560 people once the new positions are filled.
Markell also talked about proposals for mental health and school safety issues in the wake of the school shooting in Connecticut. He addressed gun control earlier this week. Markell says the number of mental health professionals in Delaware middle schools is next to none.
"I propose a ten-fold increase in the number of trained, front-line mental health personnel in our middle schools," he said.
Markell discussed a law passed last year giving public schools five years to develop state-of-the-art safety plans.
"We can do better," the governor said. "I ask the general assembly to work with me so that every Delaware school has an up-to-date school safety plan within two years."
"Take it and look at it. Here's what we're suggesting. What would it have done if it had been in place? Would it have saved lives? If the answer is yes, let's do it. If the answer is no, let's move on."
The governor also appeared to express support for keeping tax rates up at levels put in back in 2009. The increase is set to expire this year.
"While we want to keep our taxes low - and Delaware's are attractive - we should not shortchange our children and their future to pay for unaffordable tax cuts."
It's a busy couple of weeks for the governor - inauguration earlier this week, the State of the State today. And he'll unveil his budget proposal next week.
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