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State Rep. Hudson contends with challenge from Democrat Krista Griffith in re-election bid

Republican State Rep. Deborah Hudson and Democratic challenger Krista Griffith

Krista Griffith is challenging House Minority Whip Deborah Hudson for her seat in the 12th House District.

Hudson, a Republican from Fairthorne, has represented the 12th House District since 1994. She was first elected civil court clerk in New Castle County in 1986. Before that, she was a teacher at Claymont Middle School and an educator at Winterthur Museum.

Hudson said her focus is solely on her work as a state representative. She said that allows her work on local issues - as well as important statewide initiatives and creation of new public policy.

“Because I am a full-time legislator, I get assigned to a lot of extra committee or task forces and it gives me a chance to make the deep dive into something that’s more of a statewide issue than something that’s localized,” she said.

Democrat Krista Griffith is a Fairfax resident and mother of two. She defeated public school special education teacher and former attorney Rachel Blumenfeld in the Sept. 6th Democratic primary with nearly 64 percent of the vote.

She is a former deputy attorney general in the state Department of Justice prosecuting crimes against seniors and cases of domestic violence.

Griffith said she left her job in 2015 when her younger son Nate, who was born with Down Syndrome, received a cancer diagnosis. She said they were lucky that his treatments worked.

She said health care would be a big priority for her if elected. She said that while health insurance that covered a lot of her son’s care, she’s met other parents who didn’t have the same coverage or were uninsured.

“So it was really troubling to see families you know dealing with the worst days of their lives, you know dealing with such a medical catastrophe, but also you know the financial issues that accompany that," she said. "So that affected me deeply.”

Hudson said, if re-elected, her top priorities would include passing the Equal Rights Amendment and putting more funding into classrooms. She’s also like more money to fight the opioid crisis.

“We had some successful bills that went through this year, but none that would actually create a funding stream to help with people that are helping to recover,” she said.

Griffith said her priorities would also include education and preparing youth who don’t go to college for careers. But she also sees protecting the environment as important, pointing out the 12th District includes a piece of state’s national park.

“We have Brandywine Creek State Park, we have Red Clay and we have a Superfund site in Hockessin," she said. "So, water and the quality of water is definitely a concern.”

The aquifer under central Hockessin officially became a federal Superfund site earlier this year after qualifying because of groundwater contamination.

Griffith believes she can better represent the district and address its issues than Hudson. She argues Hudson has become more conservative and out of touch over time, while her constituents remain moderate. Griffith promises to be more responsive to their needs.

“I will show up at civic association meetings, which my opponent is not doing," she said. "I will be present down in Dover on key votes, which my opponent doesn’t always do and I will be you know be very in touch with the community.”

Griffith also criticises Hudson’s vote against same sex marriage in 2013.

But Hudson said she holds independent views and doesn’t shy away from controversial topics - citing her support for an assault weapons ban if it comes up again next year. The controversial legislation sponsored by State Sen. Bryan Townsend never made it to the House because it did not get out of committee in the state Senate, despite an attempt to suspend the rules and bring it directly to the floor for a vote.

She also touts key legislative accomplishments through her years in office like the Clean Indoor Air Act enacted in 2002, the Child Victims Act of 2007 and Delaware Cancer Treatment Access Act of 2012.

She said she might have missed more votes last year than she’s ever missed, but in life, sometimes people miss work.

“I apologize for that," she said. "But usually if I’m going to miss a day of work, I let the sponsors know on the bills that might be a close vote just to be sure if they need my vote they could have another day, run the bill another day because I would never want to hold up legislation.”

Griffith said she believes her background and the experience with her family’s medical challenges gives her the perspective to tackle policy issues on behalf of her constituents.

Hudson said she wants to be re-elected to pursue legislation she’s been working on like creating a separate committee to decide Grant-In-Aid funding. She also wants to strengthen the integrity of the political process by having candidates disclose unpaid state or federal taxes or child support before running for office.

Registration in the 12th District is evenly split. Republicans hold a mere 145 person advantage over Democrats with about 5,300 people unaffiliated or registered to other parties.

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