State Rep. Bobby Outten (R-Harrington) decided to run for re-election because he believed he had demonstrated that he was capable of effectively representing the interests of the people of the 30th District and ensuring that their voices were heard in Legislative Hall.
Outten, who was unopposed in his bid for re-election in 2010, faces Libertarian Gordon Smith in the Nov. 6 general election for the right to retain the seat for District 30 of the Delaware House of Representatives. He was first elected in November 2004.
Outten said reducing unemployment and fostering economic development were the top priorities for him. Quality jobs were the foundation on which everything else was built, and while Delaware's unemployment rate was below the national average, it was still too high in his eyes.
"Delaware once had a reputation as a business-friendly state, but that has slipped considerably," Outten said. "In 'America's Top States for Business 2012', an annual report compiled by CNBC, Delaware's overall ranking dropped to 43rd. That is down seven places from last year's showing of 36th.
"We need to reduce the regulatory burden on businesses, especially small businesses, so that they can grow and create the jobs our state needs," he added. "We also need to take another look at our state energy policies that are driving-up the cost of electricity, which is one of the leading costs of many businesses. Currently, 37 other states have lower commercial electricity rates than our state, putting us at a disadvantage when trying to convince employers to come here."
When asked whether Smith posed a threat given that he is a third party candidate, Outten said it was not his place "to handicap the race." Any candidate, regardless of party affiliation, has the opportunity to make his case to the citizens they wish to represent, Outten said. All that mattered was what voters thought.
"I believe I have ably represented the citizens of the 30th District over the last eight years and I hope that I have earned their trust and that they will continue to place their faith in me," he said. "Generally speaking, I think it is fair to say that one of the benefits of the election process is that it shines a light on public policy issues that may otherwise have not come to attention of citizens or policy-makers in a compelling way. Such discussion often leads to positive change."
In all, Outten said he had felt very fortunate to have had the opportunity to represent the 30th District.
"I was born and raised here and, in turn, raised my own family here," he said. "I feel deeply connected to the neighbors I represent and humbled by the repeated confidence they have placed in me. It is my hope they will continue to allow me to serve them as their voice in Dover."