leg hall

Lawmakers gathered at Legislative Hall in Dover to begin the 152nd legislative session on Tuesday, Jan. 10. (Photo: WBOC) 

DOVER, Del.- Delaware lawmakers are getting back to work as the General Assembly begins its 152nd legislative session.

As legislators gavel back into session some issues on their minds include affordable housing, raising wages for teachers and healthcare workers, and state retiree healthcare benefits. 

The first day of the session was all about formalities. Freshman lawmakers from Kent and Sussex Counties are eager to get to work though. 

The House of Representatives and the Senate began opening exercises at 2 p.m. Tuesday afternoon. 

Rep. Pete Schwartzkopf (Dist. 14-D) was re-elected as speaker of the house, a position he has held since 2012. 

Others were sworn in for the very first time including Rep. Kerri Evelyn Harris (D). 

Harris will represent the 32nd house district, which includes the Dover Air Force Base. 

She said, as a veteran herself, caring for service members will be a top priority. 

"We hear community members saying we support the troops but often times we are forgotten," said Rep. Harris. "I want to make sure that when we pass legislation we are really considering our veterans and their families."

Jeff Hilovsky (R) will represent the new 4th house district, encompassing the Long Neck and Oak Orchard area. 

Rep. Hilovsky said education is on his mind. 

"I'll tell you where my passion lies and that is education," he said. "You know we are educating the next generation of leaders and we need to make sure that we do the right thing, for the right reasons, at the right time."

Sen. Russel Huxtable (Dist. 6-D) is another new face in the legislature. 

Sen. Huxtable represents voters who live in the Dewey Beach and Lewes areas. He wants to tackle population growth in Sussex County. 

"I've worked in the non-profit housing industry and affordable housing industry for a long time so I'm wanting to advance good policy that helps us all grow together," he said. 

On Wednesday, the House will meet for multiple committee meetings. The Senate has nothing on their agenda just yet. 

Some Republican representatives have already pre-filed legislation. Those bills address topics such as police recruitment funding and voter access in Delaware. 

A spokesperson from Governor Carney's office said there will be focus on bringing more jobs to Delaware through economic development programs. 

As well as other priorities such as strengthening schools, climate change and climate resiliency.