Delaware ADA Condemns Move to Silence Legislative Hero

Organization supports Rep. John Kowalko’s work to bring more transparency to state government

Wilmington, DE – Progressive organization Delaware Americans for Democratic Action offers its full support to State Rep. John Kowalko (D-25) for his unwavering effort to hold state government more accountable and roundly condemns action taken by House leadership last week in stripping Rep. Kowalko from his seat on the House Education Committee and taking away his chairmanship of the House Energy Committee.

“What the House leadership has done to Rep. Kowalko this week is nothing short of an act of retaliation for Rep. Kowalko’s long history of attempting to make the House a more open and transparent body,” said Delaware ADA Chapter President Mike Matthews. “It’s disturbing that Speaker of the House Pete Schwartzkopf would use such dissent-stifling tactics to silence a lawmaker who is one of the most responsive to not only his constituents’ needs, but the state of Delaware’s needs, particularly on education and energy issues.”

In last year’s Delaware ADA Legislator Report Card, Rep. Kowalko was the only member of the House of Representatives who scored a perfect 100%. On issues ranging from minimum wage to support for expanding healthcare to redistricting reform, Rep. Kowalko has been a solid and consistent voice demanding change in how the government holds itself accountable and best serves its citizens.

Educators and families were up in arms when they learned Rep. Kowalko had been removed from the House Education committee, presumably because of his vocal opposition to the Governor’s “Priority Schools” plan in Wilmington.

“Rep. Kowalko is our highest-rated legislator for one reason: He never gives up fighting for what he knows is right,” said Matthews. “As a teacher who lives and works in the City of Wilmington, I know full well I can count on him to take up the issues that have the most impact on the students in our neediest schools.”

Also concerning to Delaware ADA members was the removal of Rep. Kowalko’s as chair of the House Energy Committee. Rep. Kowalko played a major part in questioning the actions in the State’s pursuit of a power plant in the city of Newark, which could have had negative ramifications for local residents as well as those throughout the region.

“John’s removal from education and the taking of his energy chairmanship for representing his constituents should not be tolerated in a democracy,” said ADA board member and chair of the Action Planning Committee Catherine Ciferni. “This ‘gag order’ imposed by the House leadership is an assault on the open and transparent government Delawareans so richly deserve.”

Delaware ADA roundly condemns the action taken by House leadership last week and offers its full support to Rep. Kowalko.

If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Drew Serres at 503.507.9135 or email at drew@delawareada.org.

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Posted in Opinion Articles.