Booth Faces Challenge From Bodenweiser

by Dave on September 9, 2010

By Michael Short

Veteran legislator Joe Booth will face retired businessman Eric “Bodie” Bodenweiser on Sept. 14 in a Republican primary race to determine the candidate for the 19th Senatorial District.

There is no Democratic challenger, so the winner of the primary will have no competition in November.

Booth is the incumbent and he brings years of public service as a Georgetown mayor and town councilman, state representative and Senator to the table. Bodenweiser has not held political office, but is well known as a successful businessman for running a string of Bodie’s Dairy Markets begun by his family.

Both are active in the community and devoted family men. Both point to excessive state spending and too much regulation as key problems to be addressed. Both call themselves conservatives and both have small business experience.

Bodenweiser says that Booth is part of the problem because state spending, taxes, regulation and bureaucracy have risen under his watch. Booth counters by pointing out that he has long been a fiscal conservative who voted against this year’s bond bill and budget because they were too costly.

“You will be asked to choose between a proven leader and effective legislator and one who can only point to promises,” Booth said on his website.

“My opponent likes to talk about his experience in Dover as though it were a good thing. In reality, his experience is an eight year history of votes to increase our taxes and fees and increase our state budget,” counters Bodenweiser on his website.

“I am a small business owner whose family has deep roots in Sussex County, including being a long-time farm family. If elected, I will proudly support the 19th District in Dover,” Booth said.

“Joe is one of the few members of the General Assembly who works full time, every day in the community he serves,” his website continued. “He has consistently worked to reduce the size of government, control spending and preserve the rights guaranteed in our Constitution for the people.”

“Joe voted against the state budget and bond bill this year,” Booth’s website noted. “The budget increased spending by a whopping $200 million. That kind of increase is fiscally irresponsible and unsustainable.”

Bodenweiser calls himself a fiscal and social conservative Christian who is pro-life and who supports property and gun rights. He said that he will work with groups like the Tea Party and 9-12 Patriots.

“I’m a devoted husband, father, grandfather and Christian who feels that our state and nation is on a socialistic path, the consequences of which will impact our economic and moral well being for generations.”

“I feel like I better represent what the Republican Party should be,” Bodenweiser said. “I think there needs to be a clear difference between the parties. . . I’m going to tell people exactly where I stand. I am an open book.”

“We need to work to get back on track. Bigger, more expensive government is not the answer,” according to Bodenweiser’s website. “It is the problem.”

Bodenweiser said he wants to “lower the taxes, fees and regulations that are strangling our economy.” He said we need to regain our manufacturing base and protect agriculture because regulation is driving farmers out of business.

Bodenweiser lays out three central issues as: reducing spending, bringing jobs back and not allowing any expansion of gambling (a reference to Del Pointe). To cut spending, he supports measures like a state hiring freeze and encouraging early retirement of state workers.

He is very strongly opposed to the proposed Del Pointe, saying “the people of the 19th District are against it. . . The voters deserve to have their views represented in Dover.”

Bodenweiser said something needs to be done at the state level about illegal immigration.

On the issue of education, he said we need more localized control of school issues because local school boards are more efficient and effective. He said a good Senator should be responsive to the needs and wishes of his constituents.

“I plan to shake things up a little bit if elected,” he said. When asked what that means, he said he is interested in introducing controversial conservative legislation.

He said his business experience and work ethic make him a good choice for the General Assembly.

Booth’s legislative record includes working to save Del Tech’s learning resource center, voting no on table games legislation, sponsoring e-verify legislation aimed at illegal immigrants, supporting legislation to increase the number of members of county council and supporting efforts to cut the gross receipts tax.

He said that the state needs to cut spending and reduce regulation. “We need to do a better job of pruning (state spending),” he said. “The biggest issue is the economy. I feel that when I go door to door.”

He said one example of excessive regulation is his year-long effort to get Delaware’s Department of Transportation (DelDOT) to put up a sign in Bridgeville to better direct travelers to a restaurant. Without that sign, customers have trouble finding the entrance and the restaurant may lose an estimated $200,000 in revenue per year.

According to Booth’s website, he has been endorsed by the National Rifle Association (NRA).

On the issue of Del Pointe, he said he opposes expansion of gambling because the people of the 19th Senatorial District, which he now represents, do not support gambling expansion.

Booth said that perhaps we can do better at allocating our education spending. He also said Delaware needs to be willing to listen to education experts who call for change. “We tend to study things. When the answer comes back, then we tend to put it on a shelf.”

Booth calls himself the “Right” choice and says he hopes voters will support him.

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