John Bucchioni is the first candidate to announce a bid for the 6th District Senate seat vacated by Sen. Ernie Lopez, and he’s hit the ground running.
The Milton Democrat who challenged Rep. Steve Smyk, R-Milton, in 2018 said he learned a lot from his first campaign, and he plans to build on it.
“I’m doing it early, and the reason I’m doing it early is because you have to these days,” he said. “My plan is to do old-school shoe leather and meet and greets, but also do digital marketing to the end voter.”
Bucchioni, 70, said the environment, quality of life, and transportation are big focus points of his campaign. Since his 2018 run, he said, he has served as a gadfly – largely for clean water issues affecting underserved communities – and he keeps his eye on funding that is supposed to make improvements in those communities.
“I follow the money as it comes from the federal and moves into the state,” he said.
Transportation, particularly for people who rely on public transport to get to work, he said, is an issue facing Sussex County, and he wants to go big.
“Building a transportation network is important – electric buses, and light rail up and down the state,” he said. “My vision is to go big with light rail, or high-speed trains or monorails north and south and east and west.”
To fund it, Bucchioni said, he sees potential in President Joe Biden’s infrastructure bill.
On a national level, he said, he supports Medicare for all; he also believes in a woman’s right to choose, and gun control for assault-style weapons – issues that also crop up on a state level.
Bucchioni said he wants to see Sussex County get Democratic representation.
“We as Democrats have to start getting the down ballot back,” he said. “We’re not winning in Sussex County ... we need funding to come to back to Sussex County, so we need representation.”
Jan. 6 also made an impact on him.
“I was not happy with what I saw on Jan. 6. I’m not happy when I hear Joe Biden is not the president of the U.S.,” he said.
The father and son from Laurel who broke into the U.S. Capitol – the father displaying a Confederate flag – was abominable, he said.
“I believe our quality of life is being threatened with all this rhetoric, and it can happen here,” he said. “That’s why I’m running.”
Bucchioni can be heard on his blog, Blue Coast Talk, which he started in 2018. He moved to Milton in 2011 after three decades of experience as a business executive and also as an educator. He is a member emeritus of the Milton Lions Club, and a member of American Legion Post 17, League of Women Voters and St. Jude Catholic Church in Lewes. He earned a bachelor’s degree in education from Bloomsburg University, where he also played football, and earned a master’s in education from Binghamton University.
He and his wife Linda have two sons, a daughter and five grandchildren.
Bucchioni said he has formed and filed his campaign, and will officially file as a candidate once the redistricting lines have been drawn. His home in Milton is centrally located enough that he believes he will continue to reside in the 6th Senate District even after redistricting.