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Politics & Government

State Rep. Viola gets primary challenger

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State Rep. John Viola

State Rep. John Viola (D-Newark) is facing a challenge to his seat by a former legislative staffer.

Madinah Wilson-Anton

Progressive Madinah Wilson-Anton is launching a campaign to oust Viola in House District 26.

Viola has represented the southern Newark district since 1998.

Wilson-Anton is 25 years-old and she’s currently employed at the Biden Institute at the University of Delaware.

She said some people have questioned her age, but she sees it as an advantage.

“So I think of it as a strength," she said. "And you know, that’s why I’m running, I think that I could do a good job and I don’t think I need to be older to be able to do that.”

Wilson-Anton said she better represents the district, which she describes as younger and more diverse than other areas of the state.

Wilson-Anton faults some lawmakers for not taking politically hard votes. She said she has the courage to do that.

Wilson-Anton said she worked for three years as a staffer in the state legislature before becoming disillusioned with the lack of progress on issues she considers important.

“I saw a lot of lack of courage to take action on different issues that we see in our community and a lot of those issues have had solutions that like identified for them already," she said. "And people just weren’t taking a stand and actually voting for them.”

She said her top issues are the education funding formula, universal pre-k and quality health care.

If elected, Wilson-Anton would be the first Muslim-American to serve in the state legislature.

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