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Politics & Government

Democrats Gonzalez, Taschner compete in 22nd House District race

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Delaware Public Media
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With Republican State Rep. Joe Miro retiring after twenty years, the 22nd Representative District is up for grabs. And the vacancy has drawn four contenders—two Democrats and two Republicans.

Democratic candidates Guillermina Gonzalez and Renee Taschner have very different backgrounds.

“I embarked myself in Corporate America, worked for Corporate America for a variety of years, one of which brought me to the US, [through] Exxon,” said Gonzalez.

“I don’t come from corporate America,” said Taschner.

Taschner has twice run unsuccessfully for positions on New Castle County Council.

For Gonzalez, it’s her first foray into politics. But she comes from a family of politicians in Mexico.

“So the notion of public service is deeply ingrained, but I never thought that I was going to be one,” she said.

Both Democrats have prioritized the issue of “safe communities.”

Taschner points to her 21 years as a law enforcement official. She retired as a senior sergeant with the New Castle County Police.

“When you have officers in the community interacting with the public in non-crisis situations, when the unfortunate crisis does occur, you have already established a trust,” she said.

Gonzalez advocates for passage of what she calls the last four elements of sensible gun legislation.

“Raising legal age to buy firearms, updating law on unsafe storage of firearms, ban sales of large capacity magazines and, finally, ban sale on assault weapons,” she said.

Both Democrats say they respect the Second Amendment — with Taschner stressing the need for responsible gun ownership.

“I think we need to educate folks who have weapons in their homes, obviously the severity of the weapon itself, but safe storage options,” she said.

As for legalizing recreational marijuana, each candidate is open to discussing the issue— though Gonzalez says she is for it.

“Improves consumer safety, it phases out black markets, it could free up police resources, and finally it offers a chance to boost Delaware’s economy,” she said.

Taschner is more cautious.

“You have some very reputable medical facilities, doctors saying if you legalize Marijuana, then children will start to smoke it at a younger age and it will affect their brain development,” said Taschner. “You have others that say, no that’s not true.”

Gonzalez says she’ll bring her business experience to bear, with economic development grounded in support for entrepreneurs.

“The dependency on large corporations, like the AstraZenacas, Duponts and the likes, is gone. And it’s not coming back,” said Gonzalez. “So we need to keep an eye on small businesses, because they make 46 percent of the economy of the state.”

She also cites her experience as director of the Delaware Arts Alliance, where she says she achieved statewide funding goals.

“Third in the nation in per-capita support for the arts, developing a vast network and coalitions across the state,” said Gonzalez.

She considers herself fiscally conservative.

“Thirty-four percent of the budget goes directly to public education, thirty percent goes to healthcare costs, and sixteen percent goes to criminal justice,” said Gonzalez. “So if you want to be efficient, those are the three items.”

She says she’ll dig into where the state is spending money.

“I’m a free agent and I’m able to ask the pertinent questions because I don’t have allegiances to the right or to the left,” said Gonzalez.

Taschner hopes to hold companies accountable for environmental pollution.

“I believe very strongly that when these companies close shop or they re-establish themselves under a different LLC, the state of delaware should always be first at the front of the line to collect any monies that they are owed,” she said.

Taschner wants more collaboration between mental health professionals and law enforcement officials.

She also wants more support for addiction recovery in correctional facilities, and re-entry programs.

“It’s also a good opportunity when they are incarcerated to give them training,” she said. “Give them the skills so that when they come out of jail they’re not just wandering around aimlessly, they have something to look forward to. And that’s a job.”

Taschner advocates updating to school funding formulas. She’s on the New Castle County Vo-Tech Board of Education.

“I’m a firm believer that not every child is destined to go to college,” she said. “So we need to have apprenticeship programs and certification programs that give options.

Taschner says her experience helping a diversity of crime victims over the years gives her the ability to connect with and fight for all kinds of people in the General Assembly.

As an American by choice rather than birth, Gonzalez says she brings a fresh perspective — and is able to connect with people on a deep level.

“It’s refreshing. It’s like going back to the American dream again,” she said.

Guillermina Gonzalez and Renee Taschner face off in the Democratic primary election on Sept. 6th.

 

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