Delaware Governor Eyes Schools, Infrastructure in State of State
Delaware Gov. Jack Markell gives his state of the state speech, Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015. (Photo: State of Delaware live stream screen capture)
DOVER, Del. (AP/WBOC)- Gov. Jack Markell is calling for new job training initiatives in health care and information technology to create more opportunities for Delawareans.
The proposal was among several Markell made Thursday in his State of the State speech, in which he also set a goal for 65 percent of Delaware's workforce having college degrees or professional certificates by 2025. He said only 40 percent of the state's workers have training beyond high school today.
Markell also said he would create a school-funding task force to study ways to spur innovation and address inequities for the state's neediest students.
Last year the governor made a dead-on-arrival proposal to raise Delaware's gas tax to pay for infrastructure improvements. This year he turned to lawmakers.
"Bring me your ideas on how to fund our infrastructure responsibly," Markell said. "And I will work with you to pass and sign legislation to accomplish this important goal."
"I was encouraged by the fact that at the end he asked for our ideas," said Rep. Danny Short, R-Seaford, the House Minority Leader. "So, we we're going to run out our ideas, and put them in legislative form to pass bills. Maybe he'll take some Republican ideas to heart."
Markell also called for more spending on substance abuse programs and quick action to address violent crime in Wilmington, which he called "unacceptable."
"This isn't just Wilmington's problem or New Castle County's problem. It's Delaware's problem," Markell said. "Wilmington belongs to all of us - and from Delmar to Claymont - the outlook for our state is tied directly to the fate of our biggest city."
Senate Minority Leader Sen. Gary Simpson, R-Milford, called the speech light on details.
"It was a little short on specifics. It was certainly optimistic," he said.
Sen. Brian Bushweller, D-Dover, agreed the speech had a positive tone. But he said he wasn't as ambitious as previous State of the States.
"It wasn't real ambitious. Let's remember this is - he's beginning his last general assembly," said Sen. Bushweller. "We're in a sluggish economic time, so he can't be that grandiose in his proposals."
Click here to read the full text of Markell's state of the state speech.