Markell reflects on “productive” legislative session

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(FILE/NewsWorks)

(FILE/NewsWorks)

Despite not getting approval for his proposals to fund road improvements or clean water, Delaware Gov. Jack Markell is pleased with his accomplishments in the most recent General Assembly session.

From worker’s compensation reform, tax credits for small business research and development and criminal justice reform measures, Markell called the session a fruitful one.

“Didn’t get everything done that I wanted, particularly around investments in transportation and water, but overall it was a productive session,” Markell said in an interview that will air on WHYY’s First.

Markell’s biggest disappointments were the failure of his plan to overhaul transportation funding while increasing the gas tax, and adding a fee to all property owners to fund his clean water initiative. 

“The good news is, people are now talking about it. I obviously wish that it had gone further,” Markell said. “I think an election year, it was tough. Frankly they didn’t want to take these things on.”

He believes the measures will return in some form, because clean water and infrastructure improvements are both needs that won’t go away.

“In the end, they’re going to have to be done, so what form that takes, we’ll have to see,” he said.

Between now and 2016

Following the elections in November, the 148th General Assembly will start its two-year session in January. That session will be Markell’s last as governor.

“I’m not really thinking beyond 2016 at all. I’m thinking a lot about between now and 2016, and there’s just an incredible amount that I want to do.”

The list of things Markell wants to get done in his last two years in office includes health care reform and improving the way the state deals with addiction. He also wants to improve the way the state funds criminal justice efforts.

With those items and others on his agenda, there’s a lot he wants to get done, but not a terribly large amount of time to get it all done.

“That’s one of the advantages, I think, of term limits. We know exactly when our last day is and it really forces the attention, so as a result I wake up every day, fired up to do everything I can to make Delaware the best state it can be.”

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You can watch Governor Markell talk about the legislative session and the plans for his final two years in office on WHYY’s First. First airs Friday nights at 5:30 and 11 p.m. The entire show will be posted online at WHYY.org/First on Monday.

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