New­comer chal­leng­ing State Rep. Osien­ski in Dis­trict 24

Newark Post - - LOCAL NEWS - By JES­SICA IANNETTA jian­netta@ches­

With sev­eral months to go be­fore the July fil­ing dead­line, in­cum­bent State Rep. Ed Osien­ski is al­ready fac­ing a Repub­li­can chal­lenger for his Dis­trict 24 seat.

Wil­liam “Bill” Dilks Sr., a 63-year-old res­i­dent of Ch­est­nut Hill Es­tates, filed to chal­lenge Osien­ski last week, just one day af­ter the in­cum­bent Demo­crat filed his own re­elec­tion pa­per­work. If no one else files be­fore the July 10 dead­line, the two will not have to par­tic­i­pate in the Septem­ber pri­mary and will in­stead face off in the Novem­ber gen­eral elec­tion.

The 24th dis­trict rep­re­sents sev­eral neigh­bor­hoods in east­ern Ne­wark – in­clud­ing Foun­tain­view, White Chapel and Stafford – as well as Brook­side, Scot­tfield, Ch­est­nut Hill Es­tates and other sur­round­ing neigh­bor­hoods.

For Dilks, this assem­bly run will be his first ex­pe­ri­ence with pol­i­tics. The son of a school teacher and an elec­tri­cal en­gi­neer, Dilks said he was raised with “high morals and a solid ground­ing,” two things that he sees as al­most nonex­is­tent in Dover these days.

“I in­tend to get to Dover and stir the pot. I like to use the term — with­out mean­ing it in a harsh way — that some peo­ple just need to be taken to the wood­shed and straight­ened out on what’s right these days,” said Dilks, who has promised to bring com­mon sense and de­cency back to Dover. “Some­body needs to get down there and af­fect some change and get Delaware back on track with what’s right and what’s de­cent. Enough is enough.”

A New Jer­sey na­tive, Dilks has lived in the area since 2003 and be­gan his ca­reer as a full-time mu­si­cian, hav­ing at­tended the Berklee Col­lege of Mu­sic in Bos­ton. He cur­rently works as a jazz or­gan artist as well as a pi­ano and or­gan in­struc­tor. How­ever, he spent much of his ca­reer in in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy and project man­age­ment, re­tir­ing from BlueCross BlueShield of Delaware in July 2016 af­ter 30 years.

If elected, Dilks said, much of his work would be fo­cused on the ar­eas of ed­u­ca­tion, jobs and crime, par­tic­u­larly the opi­oid cri­sis. While he has yet to fi­nal­ize his ed­u­ca­tion plat­form, Dilks said he’s been do­ing a lot of re­search on the Christina School Dis­trict and plans to for­mu­late some views on this in the next few weeks. How­ever, Dilks said he’s been dis­ap­pointed with some of the statis­tics he’s seen from CSD and statewide.

Dilks also hopes to tackle crime and said con­victed crim­i­nals too of­ten end up back on the street. In ad­di­tion, Dilks also wants to push what he be­lieves will likely be an un­pop­u­lar po­si­tion: forced rehab for drug ad­dicts.

“I don’t know of one fully re­cov­ered drug ad­dict that wants to go back to the drug life. So that tells me, and the re­search I’ve done so far tells me, that a forced rehab is an op­tion,” he said. “That’s not go­ing to be pop­u­lar, but it be­comes an ill­ness and so­ci­ety is pay­ing the price for it. And if so­ci­ety’s pay­ing the price then so­ci­ety has a need to act.”

Jobs will be an­other ma­jor fo­cus for Dilks. He noted that while the econ­omy con­tin­ues to tick up­ward, Delaware has not been a part of that im­prove­ment. In or­der to do that, Dilks wants to see more sup­port for small busi­nesses, he said.

Osien­ski, a 59-year-old re­tired union sprin­kler fit­ter, was first elected in 2010 af­ter the re­tire­ment of long­time rep­re­sen­ta­tive Bill Oberle. He ran un­op­posed in 2012 and 2014 and in 2016 de­feated Repub­li­can Ti­mothy Con­rad, a tran­sit su­per­vi­sor at the Univer­sity of Delaware, to re­tain his seat. Osien­ski pre­vi­ously lived in Scot­tfield but plans to get mar­ried later this year and move to a larger house in Christina Brace, off Salem Church Road.

“I have been priv­i­leged to serve the res­i­dents of our com­mu­nity, and I hope to con­tinue work­ing for my neigh­bors and pro­vid­ing ex­cel­lent con­stituent ser­vices,” Osien­ski said in a re­lease. “I take great pride in be­ing re­spon­sive to the con­cerns res­i­dents raise and push­ing for pos­i­tive changes to im­prove the lives of peo­ple in our com­mu­nity and through­out the state.”

In an­nounc­ing his re-elec­tion bid, Osien­ski touted his work with the Food Bank of Delaware as well as leg­is­la­tion he has spon­sored, such as pro­vid­ing “break­fast af­ter the bell” for stu­dents, strength­en­ing Delaware’s back­ground check law for firearm pur­chases by clos­ing the “Charleston Loop­hole,” and pro­vid­ing eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties to cre­ate good-pay­ing jobs.

Osien­ski serves on the board for the Ne­wark Se­nior Cen­ter, is ac­tive with the Brook­side Li­ons Club and serves on the DowDuPont com­mu­nity ad­vi­sory panel and the Work­force De­vel­op­ment Board.

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