Up and down the First State
Almost every morning, I take the train down to Washington from Wilmington to go to work in the U.S. Senate, and almost every evening, I return home to spend time with folks from across the First State and to get some sleep in my own bed. But every month or so, the Senate designates certain weeks as “in-state work periods,” often called “recesses.” For me, it’s anything but a “recess,” as I usually spend the entire week traveling up and down our state hearing from Delawareans about the issues facing them, their families and their neighbors. Last week was one of these “recesses,” and I wanted to take a moment to share with you some of the exciting things I saw happening across the First State.
Helping connect job-seekers with employers ready to hire
I kicked off the work period by joining the other members of our congressional delegation, my friends Chris Coons and John Carney, in hosting a job fair in Sussex County on April 30th. The fair brought together more than 700 job-seekers and 60 employers at the Rehoboth Beach Convention Center. Combined, the employers were hiring for 1,000 open positions, and John, Chris and I were happy to do all we can to help more Delawareans find new, good-paying jobs. Stay tuned for more information on an upcoming job fair in Kent County in June!
Preparing our kids for success
I was so impressed by the strides our state is making in early education during my visit to the University of Delaware’s Early Learning Center in Wilmington. The hard-working teachers there are doing great work with children ranging in age from 6 weeks to 3 years old to help them reach important developmental milestones. The work happening there and in early learning classrooms across the state will prepare our kids for lasting success in elementary, middle and high school — and far, far beyond.
Appreciating Delaware’s natural bounty
On May 3rd, I visited two farms in Bridgeville down in Sussex County. At Centaur Training, I saw the immense strides our farmers and agricultural producers are making in conserving our natural habitat. Its owner, Dean Roles, won the 2013 Governor’s Agricultural and Urban Conservation Award for his commitment to protecting the land and water that Delawareans rely on for future generations. Later, I stopped by T.S. Smith & Sons, a fourth-generation family farm in Bridgeville, for the launch of its sparkling peach wine. The Smith family farm takes part in the USDA’s “Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food” initiative, as well as Southern Delaware Tourism’s Local on the Menu initiative, to bridge the gap between consumers and farmers and give Delawareans more information about the economic and health benefits of eating locally grown and produced foods. Both of these producers showcase the best of what Delaware’s vital agricultural industry has to offer, and I’m excited about the work they’re doing to preserve and protect our state’s natural heritage for the future.
Old Dover Days
On May 4, I helped celebrate the 80th anniversary of Old Dover Days, Kent County’s largest festival and one of Delaware’s longest running public celebrations of the First State’s rich history. At the heart of Old Dover Days’ activities is The Green. This one-acre expanse of grass and foliage is where Delaware voted to ratify the U.S. Constitution and become the first state in this great nation. The Green was recently recognized by President Obama as part of the First State National Monument — Delaware’s first unit in our country’s storied national park system. Celebrating our state’s storied traditions with friends and neighbors from Dover and across Delaware reminded me of what a unique and special place the First State holds in the story of our country. What a proud day to be a Delawarean.
It was a great week traveling up and down the First State hearing from the businesses, citizens and friends who make our state so special. Now, as I take that train down to Washington, I’m reminded again of how our nation’s capital could learn a thing or two from Delaware. I’ll keep working to bring our state’s sense of community and compromise to Congress every day.
With warm personal regards,