2020 gubernatorial dossier: Agriculture/Environment and Transportation

This is the first part of a series taking a deeper dive into various important topics in the 2020 Delaware gubernatorial election. On the 100-point scale I am using to grade candidates, agriculture/environment is worth 6 points and transportation is worth 7.

These will normally be presented in a randomized order. It’s also worth noting that, thanks to the withdrawal of the IPOD candidate, the lieutenant governor’s race comes down to just two people and I’m not voting for the incumbent Democrat. Luckily, Donyale Hall is quite the impressive candidate – the first Delaware candidate I’ve donated to. (Originally LG was intended to be part of this series.)

The half-dozen 2020 Republican Delaware gubernatorial candidates have talked about a lot of stuff, but these are two categories I haven’t been able to find anything on. In asking them directly I have received generic responses from the David Graham and Colin Bonini campaigns basically telling me they will get back to me.

Yet the balance between agriculture and environment is an important one for Delaware. Not only is Sussex County #1 in broiler production nationwide (within one mile or so of me there are, by Google Maps and my count, 58 chicken barns) but in the nearly a year I’ve lived out here I’ve seen countless melon buses* and not a few semi-trailers presumably full of watermelons from the packing house down the road, tractors up and down my road at all times of the day and night, and even a cropduster spraying the field across the road from me one Saturday morning. And that doesn’t count the corn and soybean harvest that will start in the next few weeks as the field corn is beginning to dry out.

On the other hand, there are concerns about the by-products of chickens, a nasty odor I sometimes catch a whiff of coming out the door. And those environmental concerns don’t even cover the beach on the other end of the county. So I would love to know how my candidates will balance these interests.

Those farmers also need methods to get their products to market, and Delaware seems to be lacking in that department. Once you get north of Dover, there are interstate-level highways to take you north and south, but downstate drivers are snagged in a morass of traffic lights and beachbound traffic limping its way down congested Delaware Route 1, U.S. 113, and U.S. 13 toward Ocean City, Salisbury, and points south. (East and west could use some improvement, too, but that’s on Maryland.) These highways need to be addressed, too.

So there we stand, with no points issued yet. Now I do have a little bit to work with on the next category, social issues, so that will be the next installment.

And I didn’t forget about odds and ends…I meant to do it last weekend but my site was down for a couple days and I began working on this piece of the project which I want to complete by Labor Day. So that’s coming in the next couple weeks.

*For those readers outside Slower Lower Delaware, a melon bus is a well-used school bus that has had its back seats, windows, and much of the sides and/or roof removed. They put padding on the floors, remaining side walls, and window sills so the watermelons aren’t damaged in transit, and they fill the entire back of the bus up to the windows with melons – it’s quite a sight. These jalopies come up from Florida (at least that’s where they are tagged) with running school buses which have retained their seats to transport the workers who pick the melons from mid-July to about mid-September.

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