Both candidates running for Delaware's 8th District House of Representatives seat believe that education should be a top priority of government.
Middletown resident and Republican Matt Brown will be challenging incumbent Rep. Quinn Johnson (D- Middletown) in the November general election.
Johnson was elected to his current position in 2008 and is currently serving his second term. He and his wife have owned the Tender, Loving, Care facility since 1994 and are very involved in the Appoquinimink school district, he said.
"We are very committed because of our background in education," Johnson said. "It's not only important for young individuals, but also to give opportunities to adults who need to go back to school and get additional training and their G.E.D."
Brown, who recently became the Vice President of the Appoquinimink Early Childhood Center's Parent Teacher Association, also said that education would be one of his key focuses if elected to represent the Middletown area in Dover.
Brown said that he would have taken a slower approach to handling the area's booming growth in the school districts.
"Middletown wanted people, but didn't having anything to accommodate the growth," he said. "The way the state handled the overflow hasn't been very effective."
Even though he said he loves the education system in Delaware, Brown still feels that it needs tweaking. He says that the Charter Schools in Delaware are phenomenal, and cater to students at a lower price than public schools.
"We need to look how the money is being spent, and at what the Charter Schools are doing that is better," Brown said.
Another area in education that Johnson said that he would always work hard on is disability issues and making sure there are equal opportunities for all students.
He recently passed legislation to get students with autism the services they need at an early stage in their education so that they are physically less likely to need more, expensive services in the future.
"Not only is it the right thing to do, but it's making an investment in the future," Johnson said.
While Brown, a Delaware native, lived in North Carolina for a few years from 2004 to 2009 as his wife finished work on her doctorate, he saw things in the southerner state's school system that he would like to see in Delaware.
Tax rebates for low income families who want to send their children to private school would help them out, Brown said. In North Carolina, he said that low-income families who sent and paid for their children to attend private school would get tax money back from the public school system since their child is not attending.
Page 2 of 2 - "It would benefit low income families because they'll be getting money back to help their kids go to school," he said.
During this time in North Carolina, Brown ran a day care facility.
Jobs and the Economy
As a small business owner himself, small business initiatives are very important to Johnson, he said.
One of his top focuses if reelected, Johnson said, would be to continue work on the jobs and economy.
"We have several types of legislation that we are working on now to continue that," he said.
Brown said that he thinks that legislation to promote growth for all business types would be important.
"We need better business and small business policy," he said. "We should develop a tier rewards system."
By that, Brown means giving initiatives for businesses once they hire a certain number of employees.
"The government can't make jobs, but it can promote them," he said.
Johnson said that part of the small business work he does in Dover involves working with the Governor and looking at different legislation pieces that may be hindering business growth.
"We're working on more legislation to improve capital investment in small businesses," Johnson said. "We need to continue with jobs, getting people back to work and the additional growth in the Middletown area such as supporting companies that are growing."
Brown said that if he were elected, he'd work on coming up with policy to make growing a business easier.
"Right now, policies are hurting businesses from growing and promoting," he said.