The candidates for governor faced off virtually at the Wilmington Rotary Club’s candidates forum Thursday afternoon.
Republican Julianne Murray claimed the incumbent Democrat, Gov. John Carney, failed to deliver on his 2016 campaign promise to make crime in Wilmington a top priority, citing rising violence there.
She adds that’s a problem for the whole state.
“Crime and murder affect the entire state it also affects the ability of Delaware to attract businesses,” said Murray. “One of the things that businesses look at when they’re selecting on a place to relocate is the crime rate.”
Carney defended his record, offering one example of his work with Wilmington mayor Mike Purzycki and police chief Robert Tracey.
“The city has now a partnership with a state called GVI – Group Violence Intervention, an evidence-based program based on science and research by David Kennedy (Director of the National Network for Safe Communities at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice) targets individuals and approaches them and presents a choice either stay in this gang and group and put down the guns take assistance we’re offering or we’re going to prosecute to the full extent of the law,” Carney said.
Carney says that effort was hurt by the pandemic, which has limited one-on-one personal contact.
While discussing early education Murray again criticized Carney’s response to the pandemic, calling for schools to be completely open.
Murray also believes the state is not putting enough money into early education.
“We are 39th in spending, and I believe that early education is critical to success for our children and I would support additional funding being directed to that cause,” said Murray.
Carney pointed out the state is funding early education now at levels not seen before.
“The state now spends 88 million dollars a year on early education. That’s more than it ever has in the past. For so many reasons we need to continue that investment for the success of our children and the success of our economy.”
The candidates also sparred over the state’s COVID-19 response and the effectiveness of masks during the pandemic.