State Sen. Brian Bushweller (D-Dover) has not forgone the campaign trail despite no opposition for his seat in District 17 of the Delaware State Legislature.
State Sen. Brian Bushweller (D-Dover) had aspired to become a politician since he was in high school and nothing had put a damper on that dream since it came true in 2008.
But, this time around, Bushweller found himself with no opponent, quite a change for a man who lost a close election in his first run for office in 2004.
"It's kind of good and makes my days less tension-filled," Bushweller told the crowd at the Dover Post debates held at Caesar Rodney High School Oct. 9. "It's not good because the pressure is not on. So, I have to work harder to get out and knock on doors."
The Dover Post followed up with the unopposed Bushweller with a Q&A on Monday.
Q Why did you decide to approach your lack of opposition with shoe leather campaigning?
A I need to put pressure on myself so as to be sure I stay out in the communities, listening to constituents and learning about issues and concerns. The fact that I am unopposed doesn't change the obligation I have to stay in touch. So, you will still see me at community events, debates, forums and meetings. You will still see direct mail from me about my campaign and you will hear my radio ads. You will see my yard signs and I am still knocking on doors.
Q Why do you suppose no one ran against you?
A I can take a couple of guesses. The first is a purely political calculation: both parties have lots of work to do this campaign season and both have to pick their battles and prioritize their efforts. The other guess is the fact that I have tried to be as non-partisan as I can in my representation of the 17th District. When it comes to representing my constituents and my communities, I really do not care about party politics. If I can help someone, I'm going to help them. If I can move a good community project along, I'm going to move it.
Q During that candidates forum, Republican incumbent State Sen. Dave Lawson, of Hartly, said the division that exists between the GOP and the Democrats had led one Democratic colleague to tell him "to sit down and shut up" during the normal discourse of a bill because they had the votes. Have things gotten that divisive in the state legislature?
A I think all of us need to be careful not to characterize firmly stated positions or spirited disagreement or general opposition as incivility or divisiveness. By the nature of the process, most Senate debates would not occur if everyone agreed on the issue at hand. I believe all my Senate colleagues would agree that I personally strive to treat everyone in the Senate - majority or minority - with respect. I also believe that the overwhelming majority of all my colleagues do the same.
Q What legislation will be important for the General Assembly to address once it convenes in January 2013?
A The most significant legislation will probably relate to the sunsets the General Assembly placed on various tax increases during FY 10 and 11. With the economy still sluggish, there is some talk about leaving the increases in place. With state revenues still slow, the overall budget will be a big concern. Also, the governor has indicated he will promote legislation providing for gay marriage. That will be a controversial bill.