Retired electrician challenging Townsend for District 11 state senate seat
Republican Daniel Kapitanic is challenging incumbent State Sen. Bryan Townsend for the District 11 seat in Tuesday’s election.
District 11 encompasses an area southeast of Newark, including Brookside, Scottfield and Todd Estates, and also extends to parts of Bear.
For Kapitanic, a retired electrician and army veteran from the Fireside Park neighborhood, the race is his first foray into politics.
“It’s time for a change,” he said.
Kapitanic, 62, said his initial focus would be on constituent services as he gets more up to speed on specific issues.
He said he was prompted to run because he feels Townsend has not been attentive to the district’s needs.
“He’s a nice guy. If you don’t talk politics, you’d want to call him your friend. But he seems to be more concerned with climbing the political ladder,” Kapitanic said, referring to Townsend’s unsuccessful run for congress two years ago.
He also criticized Townsend for not doing more to preserve the Our Lady of Grace orphanage property. After an outcry over a housing development planned for the site, state and county officials attempted to buy it for parkland, but the deal fell through.
“I would have tried to push for parkland any way possible,” Kapitanic said.
If elected, he said, he would work toward improving safety in schools, such as installing metal detectors and cracking down on bullying.
He also wants to find a way to house the homeless and make the state’s prisons safer in light of the prison riot that killed a guard last year.
“Guards should not be fearing for their lives,” he said.
Townsend, an attorney from the Timber Farms neighborhood, was first elected in 2012 after upsetting longtime incumbent Anthony J. DeLuca. After serving a redistricting shortened, two-year term, he was re-elected for a full term in 2014.
He said his proudest accomplishments include advocating for clean water, helping reform the unclaimed property law and bringing attention to the need for better funding for primary care physicians.
“In a short period of time, I have shown that there are politicians willing to work very hard and willing to work across the aisle as much as possible,” Townsend, 37, said. “At a time when people are looking for no-nonsense politicians, even if they don’t agree on the issues, that’s what they have in me. I’ve proven that, and I hope to have another four years to continue to show that.”
If re-elected, he hopes to address what he sees as inequalities in the way infrastructure and schools are funded. While growing areas, like Middletown, get funding for new school buildings, older neighborhoods, like those Townsend represents, are left out, he said.
“There’s an increasing unfairness when you’ve got the southeast suburban Newark area with a lot of schools that need to be significantly upgraded or built new,” he said. “We have to find a way to craft in our budget resources for older areas of Delaware.”
Townsend said he understands the community’s frustration over the orphanage property, but pinned the blame on New Castle County leaders. He said that in hindsight, he wishes the state had pursued the project on its own, without involving the county.
“I will never, ever forget this, and I will always be forever frustrated,” he said, noting that he and other state officials are trying to work with the developer to improve hiking trails on the portion of the property not being developed.