Written on: July 6th, 2012 in Effective & Efficient Government
This past Saturday, June 30, marked the end of the 2012 legislative session. It also marked the end of an era for many in Dover, including House Speaker Robert Gilligan. A giant, not just in stature, but legacy, Speaker Gilligan announced his retirement after 40 years of service to the State. While the exits of Speaker Gilligan and several other legislators create vacancies on both sides of the aisle, we are fortunate in Delaware that our strength resides in the capacity of our people, even in challenging times, to work with a common purpose.
The bipartisan efforts of the 146th General Assembly resulted in progress for all Delawareans, regardless of their political affiliations.
We continue to make progress in getting more Delawareans back to work. The long list of legislative highlights focused on creating more job opportunities in Delaware includes the Veterans Opportunity Tax Credit (HB 275), which helps put recent combat veterans to work when they return from service. Strong financial investments were also passed in the FY13 budget to support small businesses and strengthen Delaware’s infrastructure, which is critical to getting people to work and products to customers.
A new book by Geoff Smart came out this week entitled, ” Leadocracy – Hiring More Great Leaders (Like You) Into Government.” I was privileged to be part of its development. In it, Geoff quoted me saying, ” one of my most important responsibilities as governor is to encourage the state employees and others to take healthy risks.”
I believe one of the best examples of a healthy risk we’ve made in Delaware was our statewide investment of $22 million dollars to support early childhood education. We knew making Delaware’s public schools stronger was critical to ensure we stay competitive in a global war for jobs, which really equates to a global war for talent. That investment, renewed this fiscal year, was a key factor in Delaware receiving $49 million through the federal Race To The Top – Early Learning Challenge Grant.
We also continue to invest heavily in our education workforce. This legislative session we signed two bills into law that will help districts recruit great teachers.
Already our efforts are yielding results. This past spring, preliminary results from the Delaware Comprehensive Assessment System (DCAS), showed statewide student gains in reading and math in every grade band.
A $20 million investment in the FY13 budget will continue to support open space and agricultural land preservation projects, which last year helped support the launch of the Delaware Bayshore Initiative. In addition, a new investment of $13.3 million will enhance statewide trails and pathways, an important investment in positioning Delaware as a desirable place to live.
Two significant achievements focused on increasing government transparency: the Lobbying Disclosure Bill (SB 185), which shines critical sunlight on the lawmaking process and dramatically expands disclosure requirements for lobbyists; and the Delaware Elections Disclosure Act (HB 300/310), which requires prompt reporting of third-party spending on advertisements during an election season before voters go to the polls.
I encourage you to review the full FY13 budget to see other great examples of how, together, we built on our existing strengths and made sound choices to keep Delaware moving forward.
To read more about New York Times best-seller Geoff Smart’s work to bring more private sector leaders into government and move our country forward, head to your local book store to pick up a copy of Leadocracy, or get it from Amazon.com, which is putting more than 1,000 Delawareans to work.