Great Seal of the State of Delaware
Jack Markell's Blog

Delaware Governor: Jack Markell

Facebook  Twitter  Google+  Instagram  Pinterest  Flickr  YouTube

  Archived Posts From: 2010


Confronting Prescription Drug Abuse

Written on: July 16th, 2010 in Effective & Efficient Government

Yesterday, Delaware was honored to host the Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, R. Gil Kerkikowske, to mark another step on the difficult road to curbing prescription drug addiction.  It’s always encouraging to see state and the federal government working together, particularly when the issue is deadly serious.

Since 1999,  drug-related deaths have doubled nationwide, surpassing homicides, suicides and gunshot wounds as causes of death. This increase is largely due to the abuse of prescription painkillers.

This is a substantial national problem that requires coordinated local solutions to address. We need to continue sharing information to ensure that we find the most effective approach to dealing with a problem that has fueled skyrocketing national statistics and heartbreaking local tragedies.

Our new law, sponsored by Senators Brian Bushweller and Bethany Hall-Long, and Representatives Larry Mitchell and Melanie George, authorizes the creation of a database of prescription information from pharmacies.  This will help accomplish two things:

  1. Doctors will be able to check the database and screen for abuse before giving prescriptions for controlled substances.  This helps prevent “doctor shopping” by allowing to the doctor to see if a patient has similar prescriptions from other medical providers.
  2. Physicians can also easily verify that they are not prescribing drugs that could interact dangerously with existing prescriptions from other doctors.  This can save lives and improve health outcomes for anyone taking more than one prescription drug.

Other states have implemented similar prescription drug monitoring programs and are collecting and analyzing prescription data more effectively.  Now we will too.

The statistics are astounding.  From Office of National Drug Control Policy blog:

  • In recent years, the number of individuals who, for the first time, consumed prescription drugs for a non-medical purpose, exceeded the number of first-time marijuana users.
  • From 1997 to 2007 there was a 400% increase in treatment admissions for individuals primarily abusing prescription pain killers.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported recently that prescription and over-the-counter drugs were responsible for the 25% increase in drug-related emergency room visits between 2004 and 2008.
  • By 2008 emergency room visits for misused prescription and over-the-counter drugs were as common as emergency visits for use of illicit drugs such as cocaine and heroin.

Tags: , , , , ,


Governor Jack Markell’s Update

Written on: July 9th, 2010 in Job Creation

So far this summer, Delaware added thousands of new jobs. Some of this growth came from the success of existing Delaware companies and some resulted from the decisions of others to become Delaware companies.

We are committed to becoming the best place to start and grow a business, and we’re seeing results. Here are four exciting examples:

Who made the first moon spacesuit?

Cutting the Ribbon at ILC Dover!Delaware’s very own ILC Dover. Since 1947, ILC has been contributing to Delaware’s legacy of innovation.

In June, ILC secured a contract to field a Lighter-than-Air aerostat-based radar system to help safeguard our troops. To win this contract, ILC had to move quickly, so state and local agencies worked together to ensure efficiency. As a result, ILC just opened a new facility where 70 people will be employed.

“In concert with the State of Delaware and the City of Dover, we have been able to ramp up our production rate to our customer’s demands in a time frame believed to be unobtainable a few months ago.”

– Bill Wallach, President, ILC Dover

Why move a headquarters to Delaware?

Sallie Mae – the leading provider of student loans and administrator of college savings plans – chose to relocate to Delaware because of our skilled workforce, which understands their industry and is ready to get to work. When these new jobs arrive, they’ll find a government invested in job creation and committed to moving quickly.

“We appreciate the business spirit of officials at the state and local levels and that Delaware has made clear it will be a great place to grow our business.”

– Albert L. Lord, CEO, Sallie Mae

Here’s more on what brought Sallie Mae to our state.

Do companies like what they find in here?

TMI's Solar SystemTesting Machines Inc. (TMI) employees are experts on analyzing the quality of all kinds of things – and they like what they’ve discovered about us.

TMI, which manufactures physical property testing instruments, just moved from New York to New Castle. Their new plant employs 28 people, with 22 more workers coming soon. With a grant from the Green Energy Fund, TMI is also reducing their energy use by 80% by using cutting-edge systems installed by local contractors.

“It is really incredible what we have been able to accomplish with the help of both the local bank and State agencies, which have been efficient, effective, responsive, and timely.

– John Sullivan, President, The TMI Group of Companies”

What can you do with an old carpet?

Cutting the Ribbon for Modular Carpet Recycling!Modular Carpet Recycling (MCR) is turning old carpets into high-purity renewed nylon (Renewlon™) and 30 new jobs, while reducing waste in our landfills. MCR recently chose Delaware as the site of their new corporate headquarters and manufacturing facility.

To learn more about what Delaware has to offer ground-breaking entrepreneurs like MCR, check out this post from Alan Levin, Director of the Delaware Economic Development Office.

“Delaware is a great place for us to build our initial facility and headquarters. We found a talented workforce, combined with an excellent site at a central location and a government that knows what companies need to create jobs.”

– Ron Simonetti, CEO of MCR

Tags: , , ,


Hope You’re Not Driving Right Now…

Written on: July 8th, 2010 in Helping Our Neighbors

“It’s like Russian roulette every time you pick up your phone in the car.” – Oprah Winfrey

On Tuesday, I signed legislation that restricts the use of cell phones and bans texting while driving.

Signing the billsStarting January 2, 2011, you may not use a hand-held cell phone, send or read text messages and emails, use a computer or browse websites while driving.  You could be fined $50 for the first offense and $100-200 for a second offense.

Here’s a fact sheet that outlines the new law and lists exemptions, including people who use a mounted, two-way communication device as part of their jobs; FCC-licensed amateur radio operators; and individuals reporting emergencies.

“Texting while driving can be more dangerous than drinking and driving.” – Bayhealth Trauma Medical Director Dr. Ed Alexander

The danger of distracted driving has been tragically clear.  Here are some facts from

  • Nearly 6,000 people died in 2008 in crashes involving a distracted driver, and more than half a million were injured. (NHTSA)
  • Drivers who use hand-held devices are four times as likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves. (Source: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety)
  • Using a cell phone while driving delays a driver’s reactions as much as having a blood alcohol concentration at the legal limit of .08 percent. (Source: University of Utah)

In Delaware, there were 230 crashes in 2009 that involved the use of a cell phone.  As of last month, 94 crashes have involved the use of a cell phone and another 17 have involved texting in 2010.  Countless others go unreported.

For every two seconds you take your eyes off the road, you are two times more likely to get in a car accident. AAA

Our state is the 30th to ban texting while driving, and the 8th to ban the use of hand-held cell phones behind the wheel. Rep. Darryl Scott spearheaded the effort, with Sen. Brian Bushweller and Sen. Karen Peterson sponsoring the bill in the Senate. Rep. Peter Schwartzkopf and Rep. Ruth Briggs King sponsored HB 493 and 494 respectively, the companion bills that delineated key exemptions.  More information on their work to pass these bills available here.

Over the next few months, the Office of Highway Safety, Bayhealth Medical Center and AAA Mid-Atlantic will work to raise awareness of the new law.

Please help us share the news about the dangers of distracted driving.

Call, text, and email the people you care about…

just not when you are behind the wheel!

Governor Markell and the team from the Office of Highway Safety and the Delaware State Police thank you!

Tags: , , , , ,


Agencies Come Together to Help Homeowners

Written on: July 6th, 2010 in Guest PostsHelping Our Neighbors

Guest post from Anas Ben Addi, Director, Delaware State Housing Authority:

In June, Governor Jack Markell and Delaware State Housing Authority (DSHA) hosted the first Governor’s Foreclosure Summit. The purpose of the Summit was to bring together people on the front lines of the crisis affecting Delaware to recap efforts over the past few years, assess the current status of foreclosures, as well as to share ideas, programs and best practices that are available to help families in danger of losing their homes. 

Delaware historically averages 2,000 foreclosure filings per year.  In 2009, that number tripled to more than 6,000 and the trend continues on track through 2010.  In response, last year Governor Markell introduced a three-part plan to help mitigate the impact of foreclosure filings in Delaware consisting of three basic ideas: 

  1. Creating connections between homeowners, housing counselors and servicers before the mortgage is in default;
  2. Providing tools to help homeowners with emergency financing and long-term solutions; and,
  3. Helping families and communities recover from the effects of foreclosure.

Since last June, DSHA, the Attorney General’s Office, the Office of the State Bank Commissioner, legislators, housing advocates, as well as a host of other partners throughout the state, have been busy implementing this plan.  We’ve been working together assisting housing counselors with getting the training they need and lobbying for grants to help the families and communities that have been affected by the foreclosure crisis.  Clinics, forums and seminars have been held throughout all three counties—bringing together the mortgage servicers and the homeowners to work out a plan to save their homes. 

Additionally, Delaware has several programs available to help homeowners in danger of foreclosure including:  Delaware Foreclosure Mediation Program, Delaware Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program and the Homeownership Grant Assistance Program.

It is important that homeowners be encouraged to take action as soon as they anticipate problems in paying their mortgage payment by contacting their lender, working with a HUD-approved housing counselor, and taking advantage of the Attorney General’s Foreclosure Hotline at (800) 220-5424. 

For more information about Delaware resources available to help families facing foreclosure, including the list of housing counseling agencies through the state, please visit

Tags: , , , ,


“The Signal State” with Trinidad & Tobago

Written on: July 5th, 2010 in Guest PostsRecognizing State Employees

Guest Post from Major General Frank Vavala, Delaware National Guard:

"The Signal State" partnering with Trinidad & TobagoWe continue to develop our State Partnership with the Republic of Trinidad & Tobago. Established in 2005, the program is designed to exchange ideas between military, government and economic leaders.

In June, a team of communications soldiers from T&T visited our Bethany Beach Training Site to learn how we communicate during natural disasters. We taught them about some of the unique capabilities and equipment here in Delaware that lets us talk among emergency responders when normal communications are down.  This is the first meeting for this group and the next step is to discuss how we can build on the exchange.

The Delaware National Guard is known as “The Signal State” because of our history and expertise in communications.

Our training site hosts a number of courses that are attended by Soldiers from all over the United States.  As a result of this exchange, one of the new tasks will be for the Soldiers in Bethany Beach to establish a communications line with the Soldiers in Trinidad. Its great training for both the U.S. military and the Trinidad & Tobago troops

Through sharing best practices and lessons learned, we agree communication is one of the most critical aspects in disaster response and management.  As part of the State Partnership Program we are working with our partners again next month as we participate in a regional disaster management exercise and conference with civilian emergency responders.

For news on the Delaware National Guard, please visit us on Facebook or Twitter.

"The Signal State" partnering with Trinidad & Tobago

Tags: , , , , ,