Cruice challenging Viola in District 26 house race
Republican Justin Cruice will seek to unseat 20-year incumbent John Viola, a Democrat, in the District 26 state house race on Tuesday.
District 26 covers an area south of Newark, stretching from Interstate 95 to Route 40.
Cruice see education, infrastructure and the economy as the most pressing issues in District 26.
He works as a consultant for a software company that connects with school districts throughout the country to evaluate teacher effectiveness in classrooms and previously served as vice president of sales for a small business. He believes he will be able to use his experience to improve the education system and the economy.
“I was able to interact with many small business owners and through that gained keen insight into the needs and desires of small businesses to help develop the economy better here, as well as to give ideas to bring corporations back into Delaware for upper-level management positions,” he said.
For infrastructure concerns, Cruice mentioned recent construction projects on Route 72 and Walther Road that forced traffic onto Salem Church Road.
“I would like to pass measures that would better hold them accountable to on-time and on-budget completion of projects as well as better strategies for risks that may occur as they perform the project,” he explained, adding that he’d also like to require construction sites to be spread out to avoid the “funnel-effect” onto other roads.
Cruice said he would like to bring better jobs to the state by “better educating and equipping our workforce to be ready for the new management jobs when they come,” he said, adding that he would like to require businesses that incorporate in Delaware to bring jobs here.
As a Republican, Cruice said he will rely on bipartisan support to get into office and to get things done in office.
“I have listened to constituents and the needs and concerns they’ve shared and given them direct access to me so that we can work together to make sure that everybody has a fair playing field in Delaware,” he said. “While I appreciate that my opponent has served for 20 years, I believe that we deserve the opportunity to have fresh ideas and new energy and passion to represent District 26 in Dover.”
Viola, who has served 10 terms in the state house, said his record speaks for itself.
“It’s always been about giving back to the community,” he said. “It’s what I’ve done ever since I was 18 years old.”
Viola said that he’s been involved in volunteerism for 40 years, adding that he was in the first class to become nationally registered EMTs in the state. He enlisted in the military and joined the National Guard and has been active in the civic arena, he said.
In office, he said that he’s sponsored bills that focus on infrastructure improvements, job creation and bettering the education system to make it more equitable for everybody. He supported the effort to enlarge the Port of Wilmington.
“Hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars will come in to build the new infrastructure,” he said. “The projection is around 5,000 or so additional jobs in that endeavor. That’s what we need. We need to put people to work so that they can live their everyday lives.”
Should he be re-elected, he hopes to continue working on controlling the budget, infrastructure improvements and criminal justice and bail reform. To accomplish those priorities, Viola wants to work with stakeholders, have open conversations and reach across the aisle to get things done.
Viola said that, because he is retired, he has the ability to meet with people as things arise.
“I think I have the dedication, the experience and the leadership abilities to get stuff done,” he said. “At the end of the day, it’s about serving the community, responding to the community that you serve. I will continue to respond my constituents and do the best I can to meet their expectations.”