The Best of Delaware politics in 2019

So I guess I should have added Chris Rowe and Nelly Jordan to the Worst of 2019 post. Well, they are both a shoo-in for the Worst of 2020 post. But let’s leave behind the worse of us and now consider the best of us. The next 10 people, group of people or organizations were instrumental in making 2019 as good of a year for progressive, liberal and Democratic priorities as it was. These are the MVPs for all that was accomplished, and in some cases, for all that might or will be accomplished.

10. Matt Meyer.

He has put forward an environmental agenda that included taking on Waste Management to successfully limit landfill height in the county. Also, it’s just nice to have a New Castle County Executive who is not corrupt or incompetent.

9. Shané Darby and the Mothers in Power: The Black Maternal Health Campaign; the Coalition of 100 Black Women and Eugene Young and the Metropolitan Wilmington Urban League

Eugene Young has been working behind the scenes to refashion the Urban League to focus on building progressive Black political power. He has started the Urban League Fellows Program, which has resulted in a new generation of candidates and organizers.

Shané Darby is running for Wilmington City Council’s 2nd District in 2020, but apart from that, she worked with Network Delaware to tackle a hugely neglected problem in our society: Black Maternal Health. The goal is obvious: to end the needlessly high black mortality rate of mothers and babies & to improve the health of Black mothers & babies through newly created state, county and city regulations and polices. Ms. Darby has built upp an all Black women leadership team that’s getting stuff done and we look forward to see her work with the General Assembly in the new session starting later this month. 

And then there is the Delaware Chapter of the Coalition of 100 Black Women. This group has been building a statewide network of Black women through the chapter and also their Mary Ann Shadd and Margaret Rose Henry Civic Engagement Program. If they keep building, you could see a lot of candidates at all levels of government come out of this group.

8. Kathy Jennings

In terms of being a progressive champion in office, I am not sure anyone in Delaware can match the work of Attorney General Kathy Jennings over the past year. Her work with the General Assembly on the Criminal Justice Reform package, which includes ending cash bail, eliminating sentencing disparities, and removing duplicate crimes that only exist to pile up sentences has been excellent. She has also has done amazing work in opposing the Trump Administration. She is the obvious and leading candidate for Governor in 2024, because it is perhaps too much to hope for that she challenge Carney in 2020.

7. Bryan Townsend, Dave Sokola, Sean Lynn and Laura Sturgeon

These four legislators were the prime sponsors of the important gun laws introduced in the first part of the 150th General Assembly session. Only one of those bills, however, passed both chambers and was signed into law, Sean Lynn’s House Bill 63, the Gun Safe Storage Law. Still, I wanted to honor and thank all four legislators for introducing and leading the charge on these bills, and encourage them to keep up their good work in 2020, even in the face of betrayal by their own party leadership.

6. Erik Raser Schramm and Jesse Chadderdon

There are some people out there who grumble and complain about this two exceptional party servants. They say they Erik and Jesse should be spending all of their time catering to the incumbents and protecting them by snuffling out primaries or other threats to the domination of those already in power. They complain about the candidate training sessions that Jesse has organized to provide support to new candidates who may end up challenging incumbents. Their complaints are actually laudable praise of the Dynamic Duo at the head of our Delaware Democratic Party. They have masterfully combined the necessary incumbent service and support with providing a welcoming environment for an activist base that seeks to, at times, challenge the entrenched incumbents and party apparatus. Thank you.

5. Eric Morrison, Medinah Wilson Anton, Larry Lambert, Coby Owens and Jess Scarane

The Progressive Insurgents! All doing the right thing in getting started early to both raise funds and to get themselves known in the district and state. Running for office is daunting in the best of circumstances. Challenging incumbents, even those who are not well liked, is incredibly difficult, so each of these candidates deserved to be thanked and supported. And a special shout out to Jess Scarane’s campaign team (Kirsten Walther, Jamie Rubin, among others) who have expertly launched an unknown into a credible candidate for the U.S. Senate. You all have done a brilliant job so far.

3 (tie). Drew Serres and Network Delaware and Leftward Delaware

3 (tie). Dustyn Thompson and Delaware United

These two people, and their associated organizations, are always in constant competition with each other for the title for best activist progressive grass roots organization in the state. Delaware progressive politics would be desolate without them.

Leftward Delaware is a PAC that focuses on coaching candidates and helping them prepare and execute pre-launch through the election. This year, they are currently coaching 8 candidates (5 are public, 3 more will be by mid-January).

Network Delaware is a nonpartisan nonprofit that focuses on leadership development and getting people involved and engaged. It has an open Candidate School (which many of the new candidates went through), Campaign Management Program, Ella Baker Black Organizers Group, and many other programs. Network Delaware does NOT endorse or support specific candidates, as it is nonpartisan.

Delaware United works to elect progressive political candidates at all levels of Delaware government; works to educate the community about progressive issues and causes, in numerous ways like its Legislative Accountability Report Card; participate in other types of community activism and activities throughout the year.

2. Sarah McBride, Kyle Evans Gay, Jaci Hugg, Stephanie Barry

Another group of Democratic candidates, all phenomenal women, that have wisely started their 2020 campaigns early. I have separated them out from the progressive insurgents because these candidates are not challenging Democratic incumbents, but are either challenging Republican ones or running for open seats. Our party’s success in 2020 is going to depend of the success of these four campaigns, and they all got off to great starts in 2019.

1. Kerri Evelyn Harris

I chose Kerri Evelyn Harris for one simple reason: she has done what I always pray all progressives would do, even when and especially when they lose campaigns. Losing a first battle does not mean you lose the war, especially when you stay engaged and work to change the party. Kerri did that and successfully campaigned to become our Democratic National Committeewoman. 

When I was preparing this list, I sought out nominations from various politicos throughout the state, and the response I got from fellow state Executive Committee Member Jack Bucchioni:

“Yes, many progressive’s think I’m a grandpa who is too conservative and conservatives think I’m too progressive (Labels sometimes don’t apply to a child of the 60s; still out here fighting the war trying to make a difference.).  Having worked with Kerri Evelyn a lot this past year on numerous Sussex County advocacy causes I have developed a real respect for her work ethic, authenticity, and ability to bring the hard rain when needed to amplify any overlooked justice. Change is coming as the tipping point is near down here with the rapid  influx of “Come-Heres” moving in. […]

Kerri Evelyn Harris is a very competent leader who always keeps the people first and foremost; that is the key that Sussex needs for the next chapter. For the record,  I believe Kerri Evelyn is the future of Delaware’s Democratic Party; she get’s it and gets things done. Kerri Evelyn is my kind of champion, she works very hard and never wants the limelight; rare in today’s political world for sure.” 

Delaware politics from a liberal, progressive and Democratic perspective. Keep Delaware Blue.

24 comments on “The Best of Delaware politics in 2019

  1. Steve Newton

    I’m kind of curious about the inclusion of Coby Owens here, which leads me to two questions up for anybody.

    1. Is there any concern with his closeness to the current Chair of City Council (as in, that doesn’t appear to be a hugely “progressive” attachment)?

    2. Challenging incumbents is all well and good, but exactly how has the incumbent in this district (Linda Gray) failed to live up to progressive ideals since her appointment to the seat?

    • RE Vanella

      Linda Gray is a placeholder. She was hand selected in a odd situation to fill a vacate seat. Wasn’t even the first choice. Didn’t win an election.

      Coby is a progressive activist. Active. In the streets and in leftist circles.

      Linda joined to cohort to defend against the BPG mayor. That’s good. Nothing bad to say about it. We can do much better.

      Can you elaborate on the “closeness”? Seems like a vague slur.

  2. RE Vanella

    Oh, also, i won’t link to it, but this topic was discussed in some detail on the podcast that dropped today. Guest is Network DE organizer Branden Fletcher.

    • In other words, you don’t know what she’s done or not done (or you’d have said so), and you’re either playing coy about Coby’s connections to Hanifah or you’re just not paying attention.

      Ah, the intellectual rigor of today’s politics.

      For the bonus points: why would it be a slur to suggest Coby has a close connection to Hanifah rather than an observation?

      • Annoymous

        I couldn’t help but jump in on this coby talk. He went to 40,000 dollar a year elite prep school playing rugby and acts like he roughed it a penn high. I never
        Got the obsession. He takes a lot of selfies and have no idea how the man actually pays bills.

        • RE Vanella

          Do you know how he lives? OK.

        • The tuition at Salesianum is currently $15,400 per year, well under the price at the state’s “elite prep schools.” Don’t know when he attended, but that adds up to barely more than $40,000 for four years.

          It’s not even northern Delaware’s elite Catholic prep school. That would be Biden’s alma mater, Archmere.

          • Thanks for the clarification. I’m sure the working class and middle class folks in Delaware are in total agreement that 15k a year for non higher education School is just a drop in the bucket. Do you white guilt dudes from Greenville with your trust funds ever crawl out into the real Delaware. Thanks for making my point. You always been a smart one. You give re va and his incoherent rambling pod cast that your circle jerk listens to a run for his money

            • RE Vanella

              Who fucking cares.

            • In point of fact, most of the parents of Salesianum students are middle class. As I noted, the richer ones who want a Catholic education try to get into Archmere, or Ursuline or girls.

              You also seem to be unaware that financial aid is available on the same basis as it is to college students — you fill out the same form.

              I don’t now and have never lived in Greenville. I do not have a trust fund. I do, however, have a lot more brains that you, something you prove every time you comment on anything.

              Conservative Democrats are cowards who don’t have the guts to join their intellectual brethren in the GOP, where their greed would be allowed to run free. Instead you stay a Democrat, where your greed conflicts with the party’s stated goals, and as a result you’re angry at leftists without understanding why.

              You’re afraid of us, or you wouldn’t waste your screen time attacking us. You hate us because we remind you of your greed. MAGAts at least embrace their role as villains. You’re too chicken-livered to do that yourself.

              You’re a dead skunk in the middle of the road, and you stink to high heaven.

      • RE Vanella

        OK, give me the intellectual end, professor. You’re so fucking rigorous. I’m all ears.

  3. RE Vanella

    The elite prep school is Sallies. OK. He’s been a full time organizer as an adult on a paltry stipend. The critique about his millennial political ambition is fair enough. But most of the criticism I run into with regard to Coby is just hating on selfies and the fact he went to Sallies. OK.

    Also, it’s funny how Steve insinuated something and when called out says, why would it be an insinuation. That’s a fun game.

    Also, I’m not intellectual and he is very smart. Make note of that.

  4. RE Vanella

    I’m waiting for the portfolio of Linda Gray’s accomplishments over her 9 months as a second place appointment. I expect rigorous citation and impact analysis of course.

    The simple fact that she hasn’t even faced a vote in an election should be enough, don’t you think? Or is a second choice appointment enough democracy for you as a non-city resident?

  5. Stan Merriman

    Stifle the negativity. These are all amazing activists and leaders. Thanks to all of them.

  6. RE Vanella

    This looks rigorous enough. But just so there’s no confusion w/r/t education. Coby did attend the very prestigious “Ivy of the Appalachians” University of West Virginia.

  7. Damn, the man can’t be an true activist if he went to a private school? Whomever believes that is an idiot.

  8. Sean Lynn’s gun law hasn’t done one thing to slow the number of shootings here in Dover. He’ll continue to stand for criminals while preferring to go after people who actually obey the law. Call me names or beat me with bicycle locks… that’s how it is.

    • drinkin the kool aid made with brown water

      Dover’s Police Department has been undermanned for more than a decade based on a variety of manpower studies ordered by the City itself. Then ignored. More studies ordered, they say the same thing. Then ignored again. Has the latest manpower study been released?

      The former conservative faction of Dover’s City Council had, for years, refused to address these issue, in order to keep the property taxes low. Instead borrowing money from the City’s failing electric infrastructure and water system to keep the City afloat (albeit in brown water).

      In fact, Dover’s former conservative leadership bloc had even neglected the majority of their own capital improvement plan, the manpower issues of Dover PD, their own power plant (now down to only 2 units after years and years and years of neglect and deferred maintenance AND unable to be offered up to run during peak times), their water infrastructure and many other issues – all in an effort to keep their property taxes low.

      Meanwhile, guys like you cheer on the “fiscal conservancy” – all the while complaining about the crime.

      You know what stops gun crime? Addressing poverty. Getting people education and jobs. a reformed criminal justice system. Gun control. Hope.

      That’s why Dover is crumbling beneath resident’s feet. The City looks tired, and it is.

  9. Other names are missing please update your list. In God we trust@

  10. Laura mallow

    It’s sad you believe Sean Lynn is one of the best ! While pushing your gun agenda he slipped in deleting a bill that deals out a felony charge for someone who injures or kills a first responder ! He decided we are all equal and a crime is a crime …. he forgot to ask those he represents how they felt about that . Your best just slapped the first responders , nurse and doctors in the face ! Pretty sure your best ended his career …. maybe pick better bests next time

  11. “He decided we are all equal and a crime is a crime …. he forgot to ask those he represents how they felt about that .”

    Yeah, I’m thinking that maybe people who think they’re more equal than others don’t get a say in how actual progressives choose their best. In fact, I’m thinking that maybe people like that are assholes.

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