Note: This is endorsement number four in a series of eight that will be published prior to Tuesday’s primary election.
Second Note: I scrapped my original endorsement for Bryan after walking with him last night. I thought a more personal narrative would suit.
I knew I’d be endorsing Bryan Townsend the moment I met him. I didn’t know his position on any important issues to me, but I knew my support needed to be sent his way. Y’see, my initial support for Bryan was purely visceral; we need to do anything we can to rid our State Senate of Pres. Pro Tem Tony DeLuca, a man whose transgressions against the citizens of Delaware include political game play with valued scholarships, voting against employment protections for gays and lesbians, using thousands of taxpayer dollars to build himself an extended Senate office lobby to give himself an additional “buffer” of security from constituents and lobbyists, and the fact that he’s probably serving unconstitutionally in the Senate. I’d already had my case AGAINST Sen. DeLuca, but I hadn’t yet been sold on the case to SUPPORT Bryan Townsend aside from my personal distaste for DeLuca.
That didn’t take long.
I first saw Bryan in the audience of a News Journal forum on education in April at the University of Delaware. He’d long since announced and I’d been watching his campaign from afar. Bryan asked a question about the forum. A good question. A question about administrative duties in schools and why it seems the real issue isn’t “bad” teachers, but administrators who don’t know how to do their jobs as, ummm, administrators. I wanted to introduce myself that night to let him know I’d be supporting him because DeLuca is such a stain on the Senate, but it didn’t happen for whatever reason.
I don’t fully know the circumstances around our original meeting, but Bryan was interested in hearing from me on education matters. And I would like to stress hearing from me. Bryan loves to listen and take things in before rendering his own thoughts. He comes from a family of educators. We met early on with a group of educators. Educators for Townsend, so to speak. He listened to us. He took notes. He followed along. He decided he wanted to hear more. He arranged for a town-hall style event in Christiana Fire Hall where more educators, parents, administrators, and school board members showed up. This was not a forum for Bryan to share his thoughts. He wanted to hear from educators. And that’s what he did. I sat next to him and watched him copy notes. Voluminous notes. He responded to concerns and questions with thoughtful and nuanced comments. He admitted several times he didn’t know about certain issues. And that was good. Too many politicians give canned responses and BS one-liners to pander. I’ve always thought it refreshing when someone responds “I don’t know, but I’d sure love to learn.”
I knew Bryan’s campaign was heating up. The word on the street was that he’d assembled a huge team of volunteers dedicated to seeing him win the Sept. 11 primary. I had a busy summer and Bryan had a busy summer and we finally reconnected yesterday when I went lit-dropping with him through a few neighborhoods in his district. Wow. Can this guy do some door knocking. I’ve worked with many spectacular candidates running for office this year. I love them all for many reasons, but I’m not sure anyone could top Townsend’s delivery at the door. We only knocked for two hours, but in those two hours I recall two conversations with potential constituents that prove Bryan is the better candidate for this job.
Both of these residents seemed to be highly engaged and informed voters. One spoke with us for about half an hour on topics ranging from college funding and student loans. The other briefly discussed how his community doesn’t have a civic association. One of the gentleman was in a higher-end neighborhood while the other looked like his could use some work. Maybe some BETTER REPRESENTATION. Bryan engaged both of these men with a great amount of caring. He spoke to them both with the same amount of enthusiasm. He had suggestions. Never an ounce of condescension or disinterest. Even as the mosquitoes began making a feast out of both of us.
It eventually got dark and we’d exhausted our walk list. We headed back to campaign headquarters, Bryan’s house, where there would be lots of food for all the canvassers wrapping up. Upon arrival, I got my hands on a copy of a mail piece Bryan told me was going out to “thousands” of Democrats in the district. I looked at it and was befuddled at first. This wasn’t a mail piece. It couldn’t be. It was a piece of Bryan Townsend stationary with a handwritten note. Then I read the note. And thought: “This is the most brilliant piece of campaign literature I’ve seen. Ever.” I’ve never seen a candidate write a note like this and send it through the mail. Contrast this beautifully written letter at left with the three pieces of filth sent out by Sen. DeLuca that just so happened to ALL land in voters’ boxes on the SAME day last Thursday. I have no doubt that when that letter hit those voters that he likely won over a few hundred more
After reading that letter, it became clear to me that there can be no choice in this race. The true leader is not the man currently representing the 36,000 residents of the 11th District. Bryan Townsend is the leader here and he must be the one selected to represent the Democrats on the ticket come November. Because there’s no way in hell his opponent, Sen. Tony DeLuca, has more heart in this race than Bryan.
And, contrary to popular belief by some in the establishment, Bryan has both the heart and the tools to win this race.
It is with no trepidation at all that I offer my most energetic endorsement of this primary election to Bryan Townsend for 11th State Senate. The residents of the 11th deserve real representation now and the honor of the Senate must be quickly restored by having Sen. Tony DeLuca sent packing from office.