Re­tired elec­tri­cian chal­leng­ing Townsend for District 11 state se­nate seat

Newark Post - - ELECTION PREVIEWS - By JOSH SHAN­NON jshan­non@ches­

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.



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