UD’s Chapman eyes state senate seat
Meredith Chapman, director for digital communications at the University of Delaware, will be challenging longtime incumbent David Sokola for his state senate seat this November.
The 31-year-old, who lives in Fairfield Crest with her husband, City Councilman Luke Chapman, announced her candidacy Wednesday. She is hoping to represent residents living in District 8, which encompasses most of the city of Newark as well as parts of Pike Creek and Hockessin.
Chapman is running as a Republican and said shortly after her announcement Wednesday that the decision to challenge Sokola, who has been in office since 1991, didn’t come lightly.
“It really has been years of dialogue and consideration,” she said, adding that she has heard from several residents that there is a desire for change. “We really need someone to step up and advocate for the issues that my neighbors say matter.”
Chapman said she knows District 8 well – she grew up in Beech Hill near North Star and attended Pike Creek Christian School. She earned a bachelor’s degree in communication and masters in education at UD, where she was a cheerleader, and also coached cheerleading at Newark High School.
She began her career in television as a reporter and producer at WHYY-TV and then served as a communication manager for then-congressman Mike Castle.
Chapman has been employed at UD since 2010, when she was hired as a senior news editor in the school’s media relations department. She currently serves as director for digital communications and also teaches classes on social media and digital communications at the university. Outside of UD, she sits on the board of the Newark Senior Center and the marketing committee for the Delaware Community Foundation.
If elected, Chapman plans to stay in her position at the university and said she will recuse herself from voting if there are any conflicts of interest.
“That’s certainly not a unique situation for someone to find themselves in,” she said. “It is Delaware.”
Chapman hopes to harness the power of social media throughout her campaign, which she said will focus on three key areas that impact the state’s economic stability: innovation, education and finance.
“Referendums are simply a band-aid to the education problem in Delaware,” Chapman said in a statement announcing her campaign on Wednesday. “We are among the top states for education spending, yet in the bottom third for performance. It’s time to evaluate how we spend taxpayer money and the effectiveness of how our children are being prepared for the future.”
She also she wants to find innovative solutions to job creation and work on developing new funding mechanisms to get the state’s budget under control, so Delaware can stop “living paycheck-to-paycheck.”
Chapman acknowledged that knocking out a longtime incumbent like Sokola can be hard. Still, she urged voters to ask themselves if they are truly happy with the way things are and the education their children are getting.
“Sometimes you just need someone to step up, and this is me stepping up,” she said.