Own your beliefs, Rep Smith

Published: September 29, 2020

Author: Luann D'Agostino

Since when does your party affiliation determine the value you place on the health and safety of your constituents? The answer to that is March, 2020. We have seen a great divide in this country and our own state when it comes to dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. If you are an elected official or candidate this season, do the right thing, own your view, and allow voters to make an informed choice.

Although Representative Michael Smith frequently tries to sweep his Republican views under the carpet, they still come through loud and clear. Reading Representative Smith’s August 12th e-newsletter, his words touched a nerve. He notes, "Despite an aggressive testing campaign by state officials, the seven-day average of new positive cases has dropped steadily over the past 30-days." Numbers have dropped and continue to stay low because of the aggressive testing campaign and response, not despite it. Perhaps you, the reader, may think that this was just a poor choice of words, but it is part of a consistent attack on the responsible approach set forth by Delaware’s leaders.

The following quote comes directly from Representative Michael Smith’s campaign site:

"My career has been defined by bridging the divide and building partnerships. Labels have no place in getting things done. Elections bring labels. Are you Republican or Democrat? The labels that define me are Husband, Father, Caregiver, Coach, Professional, Volunteer and Grandson. I will listen, learn and be actionable for District 22 and the State of Delaware. Let’s show Washington the correct model for governing!"

This sounds impressive and, if true, would be an ideal model for an elected official. Let’s look at the facts.

On April 30th, Representative Smith, along with other Republican House members, signed his name to a letter to Governor John Carney calling for the prompt re-opening of Delaware businesses. He backed this up by actively joining a social media group advocating against Governor Carney’s restrictions. As a former small business owner and advocate for small business owners in our state, I understand the dire situations that many business owners are facing, but expedited and irresponsible re-openings have never been the answer. We have seen this catastrophe play out in many other states and can be thankful that Delaware’s leaders have had the courage to stick to their plan.

The April 30th letter also found, "most troubling," the administration’s plan to "prioritize increased testing." The CDC and leading scientists agree that increased testing and tracing, combined with social distancing and face coverings, in public are currently the best tools to combat the spread of COVID-19. This has proved to be true in countries that have successfully suppressed the virus.

On June 12th, Representative Smith declined to vote on HB346, the Vote by Mail bill that is now law, which ensures that every Delawarean will have a safe and secure way to vote in the remaining 2020 elections without risking their own health or encouraging community spread. Representative Smith cited procedural issues in his choice not to vote, issues that 38 of his colleagues did not recognize. In failing to vote he also failed in his commitment to be "actionable" for his District.

On August 19th, the Delaware GOP filed a lawsuit to stop Delaware from counting mail-in ballots resulting from the above-mentioned law. Representative Smith has again refused to speak out against the actions of his party so we can only assume his support.

When I filed to run against Representative Smith in December of 2019, no one would have ever expected what 2020 had in store. What I do know is that I have stood true to my beliefs while others have built dangerous walls between their words and their actions. If the actions Representative Smith has shown here sound familiar, it is because they are; they toe the line with Republican opinions throughout our country that come directly from the Trump administration.

Representative Smith, this is not an attack on what you believe is the right path for Delaware; everyone is entitled to their own opinion. The issue is between what you say and what you do. Own your actions. You can address your constituents’ issues, attend events, repair their roads, and be their buddy, but the job that you have been entrusted with requires more. Your constituents deserve honest communication and to know where you really stand on issues. If this is how you "show Washington the correct model for governing," then your job is done; Washington has already perfected your game.