I recently conducted an email interview with Richard Korn, the Democratic candidate in the 20th Rep District. Unlike the other candidates who will be profiled in this series, Korn does not need to worry about taking on an incumbent in the race because when he let the word out that he was running the incumbent, Roger Roy, retired. Here Richard talks about how Roy’s version of public service influenced him to run and other issues influencing the race. Jason:
Richard, you’ve been in and around politics for a long time. What motivated you to run this time? Richard Korn: When I read the News Journal investigative report about Roger Roy that was written by Chris Barrish and this is a direct quote:
“Roy said he has abstained from voting on Delaware's operating budget, which pays the contract, since 1998, when the contract began paying part of his TMA salary. Available public records confirmed Roy has abstained.”
I could not believe what I had read. This statement was an admission by Mr. Roy that - at least for the past 8 consecutive years - he was putting his obligation to represent the "public interest" second to his personal interests derived from TMA. I also saw this as a violation of the oath of office which says: "... always to place the public interests above any special or personal interests."
Mr. Roy represented this district for 30 years, the last 12 without any opponent. I felt compelled to run to give the residents of the 20th District a clear choice and an opportunity for a new direction.Jason:
What is the 20th like in terms of political “lay of the land” ?
Southern New Castle folks myself think of your part of the state as being very affluent, so you might be up against a registration advantage – is that the case? Richard Korn: There are approximately 800 more registered R’s than D’s but there are almost 3900 independents. Although Mr. Roy has kept this seat in GOP hands, the 20th District has a long history of voting for Democratic Party candidates. Joe Biden has carried the 20th; Governor Minner has carried the 20th; John Carney carried the 20th; Jack Markell has carried the 20th; Dianne Kempski carried the 20th and Ken Boulden carried the 20th RD beating one of the people running in the Republican primary handily in 2004.Jason:
When you announced that you were running you said, “There is no Republican way to pave a pothole or no Democratic way to clean a park and there is no partisan way to create jobs.” But do you think there is a “Democratic approach” to governing a state?Richard Korn: I do not believe that any one party has a monopoly on "good government." What I'm talking about has nothing to do with partisanship or party label, but rather the kind and type of people that we have put our trust and confidence in to represent us. I feel that the “Democratic approach” to governing a state is predicated upon a democratic and open process - executive or legislative branch - the kind and type approach to "good government" that I support. Jason:
How are you finding the mood of the voters as you go door to door?Richard Korn: Very receptive to me and of my candidacy. Many in this district know me. They know I stand up, ask the tough questions, make my voice heard, take action and fight for the needs of Delaware citizens and … I get things done.
I did it when I challenged and held New Castle County government accountable for the $242 million surplus and when, with my wife, Magda, we approached the Venezuelan Ambassador and arranged to bring the CITGO Venezuelan Discounted Low-Income Heating Oil Program (1,150,000 gallons) to Delaware - with Catholic Charities, Joe Kennedy and Citizen’s Energy Corp. - to help low-income Delawareans stay warm – and we got the program extended for one and possibly two more years and we are working now to include nursing homes, senior citizen centers and public schools. I am committed to helping working families and to making government open and responsive to the people. Jason:
When you let the word out that you were running for this seat Roger Roy retired, and yet the Republicans are looking at this as a top tier race because they really don’t want to lose this seat. So they have kind of put a target on you - How does that make you feel?Richard Korn: There is a Republican primary so I don't know who my opponent will be. However, I'm focused on taking my case to the people and talking about the issues and my commitment to opening a district office to serve the people.
The people are listening when I talk about wanting to go to Dover to:
1. Work to prevent - and so we never again face - a 60% residential and over 100% small business electric rate hike.
2. So our senior citizens on a fixed income don’t have to choose between an electric bill and a medical bill … and so our young families just starting out don’t have to choose between an electric bill and a grocery bill.
3. Work to bring real energy alternatives and real CHOICE for homeowners and small business owners to our state and to do all that I can to help bring down the price of gasoline that Washington has permitted to skyrocket out of control.
4. Work for affordable, high- quality health care for all Delawareans.
5. Work for economic development - through orderly growth - that will create and bring good paying jobs and more good paying jobs INTO this state … and to do all that I can to make sure that Delaware jobs STAY in Delaware.
6. Work to do all that can be done for our youth and that includes job-training programs so our young people can feel and realize some hope.
7. Work to make our educational system the very best it can be so every child has every opportunity possible - to be as great as he or she can possibly be - and to insure greater accountability of our school tax dollars.
8. Fight for fiscal responsibility and accountability and I know how to fight and protect taxpayers against fraud and waste and fiscal abuse, because I've been there and I've done it and my record of accomplishments of fighting for what's right, fighting for taxpayers, and "doing the right thing" speaks for itself.
9. Protect the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the land on which we live and depend; and to act firmly and decisively against polluters who release toxins in our air, in our water, and on our land.Jason:
Thanks for your time and thanks for having the guts to take this on.Richard Korn: Thank you for having me and for asking the questions you have asked. Keep up the good work.