Markell, Cragg agree economy matters most
Published: Monday, October 22, 2012
Updated: Monday, April 22, 2013 19:04
Students, media and guests watched Wednesday as gubernatorial and lieutenant gubernatorial candidates squared off in Mitchell Hall.
The evening’s events were moderated by vice resident of Delaware First Media and communication professor Nancy Karibjanian and political science and international relations professor David Wilson.
Incumbent Democrat Gov. Jack Markell and Gubernatorial Republican Nominee Jeff Cragg agreed that Delaware’s poor economy is the most important issue to the candidates, but they each have different ideas of how to fix it.
Markell said he plans to help constituents who lost their jobs find work. He used the closed Chrysler plant in Delaware as an example of a mass of constituents now unemployed who he wants to help.
Markell said during his term as governor, Delaware has seen job growth and he cited companies such as JP Morgan Chase, Amazon, Bloom Energy and Valero that have made commitments to business within the state of Delaware.
“We’re putting people back to work,” Markell said. “We’ve certainly got a ways to go and we’re going to continue to focus on that.”
Cragg said Markell and his administration downplayed what he considered to be a high unemployment rate of 6.9 percent in the state.
Cragg said it is not the government’s position to create jobs, but it is their responsibility to create a market-friendly environment.
“We still have too much burdensome regulation, we still raised taxes going into this recession, which we need to roll back—gross receipts tax, personal income tax—and we need to create a stable business environment,” Cragg said.
The two candidates also discussed rising crime rates in Wilmington. Markell said he has taken action with police at the state level to introduce efforts that he hopes will curb crime.
Cragg said the crime problem has far-reaching implications within the city.
“Wilmington will not develop economically until we solve the problem of public safety,” he said. “Jack has talked about a lot of good things we’ve done. We haven’t done enough.”
He said he would make reducing crime rates a priority and wants people to feel as safe walking in Wilmington at night as they do walking around the university’s campus.
Markell, who attended Newark High School, talked about his administration’s educational accomplishments for the state. He talked about the “Race to the Top” contest the state won and federal grant money for.
He said the state is trying to increase funding for early childhood education because it is the most effective economic investment a state can make.
“If you’ve ever met a five-year-old kid who is already a couple years behind their peers, it’s a tragedy every time,” Markell said.
Cragg said the department of education should refocus on preparing secondary school students to join the work force when they graduate.