Over the last five weeks I have had the privilege to serve our community in the Delaware General Assembly. On a recent tour of the Delaware Archives Building, steps away from my office, I had the opportunity to view founding documents for our State including the original Delaware Constitution. The impact of the visit strengthened my belief that we are part of a larger commitment to our past, present and future to help ensure independence for the individuals and families we serve.
Learning the ins and outs of Legislative Hall and the duties of State Representative, I have made research and constituent services a priority. I have been selected as a member of several committees including Education, Health & Human Development, Natural Resources, Housing & Community Affairs, Energy and Telecommunication Internet & Technology. During the month of January I personally met with the Secretary and staff of each of these Departments to learn their responsibilities and needs as well as share the concerns and ideas from our residents.
Just as important as helping to shape State policy is the ability of a State Representative to make time for constituent services. As a result of phone calls and emails in the month of January from our district, we have committed funding to main roadways in Milford, addressed speeding in Lincoln with new digital radar signs, scheduled road paving in Ellendale and addressed street repairs in Milton.
As promised on the campaign trail I am working at connecting our local employers with our institutions of learning. My first bill will be to expand the scholarships for nursing through the Department of Education by increasing the eligibility of post-graduate work to include nonprofit hospital and healthcare practices. This will allow more nursing students to take advantage of these programs, which now only allows them to work in State facilities. With no fiscal impact needed, this will help local students advance their education and allows them to work in our local healthcare sector. I have also started discussions with the Department of Education and Department of Labor on how to improve the way the State identifies careers and jobs needed in the future of our evolving economy. This will allow us to provide education opportunities to train our local workforce for those jobs ahead of a shortage of workers or labor crisis. I am happy to hear that our institutions of higher learning are providing these services and they are excited for expansion in this partnership.
Committing to my promise of more Open Government and Fiscal Responsibly I will be cosponsoring Bills like HB 341 that mandate 48 hours before voting on the Budget, Bond Bill and Grant-in-Aid. This will allow not only legislators but also the public and media to have the opportunity to read and react to these critical documents that determine the finances of every State Department, agency and tax dollar. I will also cosponsor HB 460 that supports the Budget Smoothing process for legislators that limit spending growth to economic factors and creates an account to use during economic downturns to be used to avoid reactionary tax increases and cuts of critical programs.
This month the Joint Finance Committee meets to discuss the proposed annual budget by the Governor. Although I am not on this committee, I am attending several times each week to further understand the needs, concerns and financial impacts from the agencies in which I serve on committees. Also in February there will be several opportunities for residents to meet with me through Town Halls and Community Coffees. On Monday, February 11 at 6pm the Governor will be at the Carlisle Fire Hall along with local Senators and Representatives as he gives his State of the State presentation. On Saturday, February 9 I will host a Community Coffee at the Ellendale Fire Hall to share a Legislative Update and listen to concerns and ideas from residents. On Thursday, February 21 at 8am, Representative Charlie Postles and I will have a Community Coffee at The Palace in Milford.
Thank you for the opportunity to serve, I am humbled by the trust you have put in me to help advocate for our community and its people. It is an honor to serve our community and I look forward to building our relationship over the next several years. My office is always open and I can be reached at 302-744-4171, Bryan.Shupe@delaware.gov or on Facebook at State Representative Bryan Shupe.