Sen. Ernie Lopez reflects on his last ten years serving Delaware's beach towns in the state senate, after he announced he won't be running for re-election next year.
Lopez made history back in 2012 as the first hispanic state senator serving in Dover.
Now, the Republican says he aims to end his political career on a high note, and spend more time with his daughters as they head off to college.
Lopez says one of his favorite bills to get passed was banning offshore drilling in the state.
“The fact that we were able to do that — representing a coastal district — and get it passed unanimously and make a stand for our beaches here in Eastern Sussex county,” Lopez says. “Again two pieces of legislation that kind of really exemplifies the focus that I’ve put on bipartisanship and addressing local issues and making sure that we took care of home.”
Lopez also passed a major bill in 2015, allowing children to access physician-prescribed medical cannabis.
He says the next senator will have to focus on bipartisanship as well, and working to balance the economic needs of the businesses in eastern Sussex with the effects of climate change.
“The biggest challenge right now is ensuring the economic stability of a coastal district coming out of COVID,” he says. “Businesses in my district were shut down during our busiest economic time a year ago — and ensuring that recovery continues for the remainder of my term and into the term of a new senator is critically important.”
Lopez will continue through the end of his term next year, and aims to wrap up some loose ends, such as the rollout of 5G wireless towers along Delaware’s beaches.
After that, he plans to continue working at UD’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.
He says there’s still room for a Republican in his district after two moderate Republicans were ousted from the senate in 2020. He adds if they want any chance at winning, working with Democrat colleagues is a must.