Letter: Dave Baker: Why I am running for Senate
My name is Dave Baker and I’m running for the 6th District state Senate seat because I believe in Sussex County’s future! I have the skills, experience and track record to face our challenges head-on and do what needs to be done now for the 6th District, for Sussex County and for Delaware - for all of us.
I am a lifelong Delawarean; my wife, Sandy, and I have lived and raised our four sons in the Milton area for 40 years. I have been involved in the community at every level all my life: scout leader; coaching Milton Little League and Odyssey of the Mind; Cape Henlopen school board member; CHEER senior center board; Sussex County Pension Committee; building committee board chair for Primeros Pasos nonprofit preschool serving mostly low-income families; and member of the governor-appointed Delaware Water Infrastructure Advisory Council. During my career with Sussex County I was director of accounting, finance director and county administrator. In that time, I had a number of contributions to the community of which I’m very proud.
Working with federal, state and local officials, I obtained nearly $500 million, including a USDA loan that was the second-largest ever issued until that time, for a clean water initiative to build wastewater infrastructure and install 60,000 sewer hook-ups from Rehoboth and Ellendale to Fenwick. We funded the purchase of thousands of acres of open space and farmland preservation easements, including collaborating with the Delaware Nature Conservancy to buy the Ponder Tract near Milton: 908 acres and nine miles of trails.
As county administrator, I collaborated with Delaware Technical and Community College to start the Airframe Mechanics Training Program, providing skilled workers to retain a major employer, Pats Aircraft, saving 300 well-paid jobs. During my entire tenure I worked with our federal and state legislators on a bipartisan basis to advocate for funds for continued sewer infrastructure, affordable housing and economic development.
I am running to make major improvements here in this community, the county and the state.
Traffic and highway infrastructure: Although the population of Sussex County is 23 percent of the state total, we received only 9 percent of the state allotment for major capital road improvement funds last year. We do receive additional funds, but that’s just for maintenance and repairs - potholes and repaving. A major capital road improvement funds expansion is needed in order to fix the traffic congestion problems and plan for growth.
Clean water: Providing clean drinking water for our people is a matter of life and death that is not being given the urgent attention it demands. All of our drinking water here comes from groundwater. We have to learn - and fast - how to have a thriving poultry, agricultural, tourism and marine economy, and an entire population, that depend on clean streams, marshes, bays and water supplies.
Shortage of medical care and opiod addiction: We have a doctor shortage. I support a downstate residency program and doctor incentives for moving here. I plan to explore the possibility of establishing a school of medicine at the University of Delaware. The drug crisis where an average of one person per day dies in our small state should be handled aggressively. I will push for greater emphasis on education for prevention; facilities and additional help for rehabilitation; and other actions that are showing positive outcomes elsewhere.
Long-term financial plan for Delaware: We must establish a sufficient, usable financial reserves fund to avoid last year’s budget problem that brought on 20 percent cuts to fire companies, paramedics, senior centers, mental health providers and other important services, many of which serve to head off future, much higher, costs.
If I am elected this Nov. 6, I promise to take us to the front of the line. It’s time to elect a state senator from the 6th District with the experience and ability to take a leading role in the upper chamber and make us the role model on these fronts that we should be. That’s why I’m running!