Campaign Comments: Rep. John Atkins and the cardboard Bush in Dover?
Atkins vs Lifflander
October 30, 2006
Overall, the performance of the Delaware General Assembly in the last couple of years has been so bad that few incumbents would feel safe if the voters were informed and thinking.
But suppose we tried to figure out who was the very worst member of the Delaware General Assembly. Given the level (or depth) of competition, this would not be an easy contest to judge. But here is one possibility:
John C. Atkins represents the 41st Representative District (Millsboro). He was first elected in 2002.
He owns (or co-owns) Blue Hen Dispose-all, a garbage collection company.
He uses his position in the General Assembly to oppose recycling. He says it’s not practical in rural Sussex County.
He uses his position on the House Natural Resources & Environmental Management committee to oppose environmental progress generally. (Blame House Speaker Terry Spence for putting this anti-environmental crusader on this important committee.)
To mention a few, Atkins helped delay the control of emissions from “lightering” operations in the Delaware Bay (Senate Joint Resolution 6), he helped block “pollution control strategies” for the Inland Bays (Senate Concurrent Resolution 21) and he helped block limits on unwise rebuilding of beach front houses destroyed in storms (Senate Bill 377).
These days, Atkins presents himself to us as the loyal servant of NRG, owners of the mega-polluting Indian River Power Plant, and he is campaigning in support of another coal-burning power plant at the same location.
Atkins chairs the House Corrections Committee (again, thank Speaker Spence) but doesn’t seem very sympathetic towards prisoners:
“The Department of Corrections should provide the most basic health care services to inmates in need. There should be more oversight by the state and Delaware Medical Society if problems or issues persist. I do not favor federal intervention or investigations. I support putting healthy prisoners to work.”
On October 29, 2006, Atkins was arrested for the “terroristic threatening” of his wife after an argument “became physical.” He is out on $250 bail and due in court the day before Election Day. ( http://www.delawareonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2006610300354 )
Speaker Spence has also appointed Atkins to the House Public Safety Committee.
Atkins told the Delaware State News: “I support adding more state police, giving law enforcement all the tools they need to protect families and our roadways, and guarding the Second Amendment rights [to have guns] of families in Sussex County.” ( http://www.newszap.com/articles/2006/10/27/dm/sussex_county/dsnqa01.txt )
Atkins has three sons and is known as an advocate of corporal punishment (hitting the kids) in public schools.
Maybe Atkins is thinking to share the beating responsibilities: While he beats his wife, the teachers can beat his kids?
Atkins chaired a “Delaware Poultry Issues Task Force” that recommended rolling back Delaware’s anti-incineration laws ( http://www.dpichicken.org/index.cfm?content=news&subcontent=details&id=183 ). Need we say that the public interest was not represented on Atkin’s task force?
Our favorite Atkins tidbit: While prowling Legislative Hall one day, we glanced into Atkins office and saw a life size, cardboard profile of President George Bush. Guess we know who his mental mentor is.
Atkins says that if re-elected “I will continue working to bring a common sense approach and Sussex County values to the General Assembly. I support putting prisoners to work, low taxes and less governmental intrusion into people’s lives.”
( http://www.delawareonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060909/NEWS/309100104/1006&theme=CANDIDATEQA )
Atkins is opposed by Barbara Lifflander ( http://www.barbaralifflander.com/), an art dealer.
Lifflander spent some of her campaign funds to take out adds encouraging people to attend a public hearing on the cleanup of the Indian River Power Plant.
She says: “The state’s record in environmental protection is a poor one. We have a coastal zone protection act but it doesn’t address residential development on the coast. After years, our Inland Bays still have no clean up regulations. We have a right to breathe clean air but we won’t have it until 2012 if we let the power plant owners decide when to clean up their acts. That’s too late.”
Which of these candidates would YOU choose? Which will the residents of the 41st District choose?