Written on: August 31st, 2012 in Effective & Efficient Government
Labor Day weekend is upon us – the unofficial end to summer. This is a great time to look forward and I’m excited by some great opportunities for Delaware. Here are just a few.
This school year, Delaware’s first group of young students will begin learning in Spanish and in Chinese, as kindergartners and first-graders become part of our inaugural World Language Immersion Program. We have teachers from China and Spain working at several Delaware schools to get the program underway. As I mentioned in my State of the State earlier this year, this program is a critical part of preparation for the future. We know when these students grow up, they will be competing for jobs in the global marketplace and when employers choose where to locate jobs, they will look at where employees have the skills to communicate across markets. That will mean fluency in not one, but two or three languages. And so, we begin four World Language Immersion programs this year, involving more than 340 Delaware students. As we add programs, we estimate we will reach more than ten thousand students over the next ten years.
A strong educational program is one of the key things employers look for when deciding where to build and grow their business. Another is quality of life and we’ve been working hard to make community enhancements that not only benefit our neighbors and friends, but also serve to attract new business to Delaware. As part of our Trails and Pathways initiative launched last year, we recently celebrated the grand opening of the first phase of the new Auburn Heights Trail. We also broke ground on a runway extension at the Sussex County Airport, which will help Southern Delaware land more aircraft, and more job opportunities, for the local economy.
At a time of year when elections are very much on voters’ minds, we have made great progress in giving voters greater and more timely information. I recently signed three bills that make significant improvements to Delaware’s campaign finance and lobbying laws. One bill, the Delaware Elections Disclosure Act, is the most significant reform of our state’s campaign finance laws in more than two decades. Voters know they deserve to know more and we are making sure they will.
We also took a significant step forward recently in our efforts to combat prescription drug abuse and diversion, with the official launch of the Delaware Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP). Prescription drug abuse is the fastest-growing drug problem in Delaware and the nation. The PMP is a system that collects information on all controlled substance prescriptions from Delaware-licensed pharmacies and prescribers who dispense controlled substances. It will reduce misuse of controlled substances and promote improved professional practice and patient care. Most importantly – it will help save lives.