DOVER, Del. – Governor Carney on Thursday delivered his 2023 State of the State address to a joint session of the General Assembly, announcing plans to strengthen our economy and infrastructure, invest in public schools and child care, and maintain a sustainable financial plan.
“I can confidently say that because of the work we’ve done together, the state of our state is strong, and will only get stronger in the years ahead,” said Governor Carney. “If we continue working together – as we do in Delaware better than anyone else – we’ll build a future worthy of the next generation.”
Click here to read Governor Carney’s full State of the State address, as prepared for delivery.
The following are excerpts from Governor Carney’s remarks:
“I believe that our success as a state must start with building a strong and growing economy. We know that a good job solves a lot of problems – and that’s not just political rhetoric.”
“The biggest challenge we have is filling the job openings that are out there. For my entire career in public service, we’ve been focused first on creating jobs. There have always been more people looking for work than jobs available. Today, it’s just the opposite. We have thousands more job openings than we have people looking for work. Let me say that again – in a different way. Employers have 37,000 job openings in the State of Delaware. And there are just 21,000 Delawareans looking for a job. I’ve never seen a situation like this before. Our state government sees those challenges every day. Across the executive branch agencies, we have 2,000 job openings and it’s harder than ever to find candidates. This is not a problem unique to Delaware. In fact, every state in the country is facing similar challenges. And so our ability to compete will depend on our success building and attracting a highly skilled workforce. Our colleges and universities have never been more important in this work.”
“Thanks to President Biden and our congressional delegation, we’ve also seen a significant influx of federal dollars that will help us build on this progress. With the support of the American Rescue Plan, we’re building a Clinical Lab at Delaware State University. An Allied Health Center at Delaware Tech in Wilmington. And a state-of-the-art laboratory on the site of the McKinly Lab at the University of Delaware. Over the course of the next year, ARPA funding will help rehabilitate blighted homes and properties on the east side of Wilmington.”
“All children should be able to read at grade level by third grade. Be proficient in math by middle school. And graduate high school ready for college or a career. If we meet those targets, our students will be better off in the long run. And our state will be stronger. But here’s the uncomfortable truth: too many students are behind. That’s especially true among our most vulnerable students. And that’s just not acceptable. We need everyone to lean into this issue.”
“Supporting our youngest learners and their families has to be a top priority for all of us. That’s why my budget next week will increase state investments in early childhood education. We will propose an increase in purchase of care to help more low-income families access quality child care. We will also double funding for the Early Childhood Assistance Program – or ECAP. These programs serve many of the most vulnerable 3- and 4-year-olds in our state. And with the help of an $8 million federal grant, we will develop a plan for the future of child care and early education in Delaware. I know this is a priority for Lieutenant Governor Hall-Long, Senator Gay, and many others in this chamber.”
“In the Oath of Office, we all take as elected officials, we pledge to ‘respect the right of future generations to share the rich historic and natural heritage of Delaware.’ But, that natural heritage is under threat. We’re the lowest-lying state in the nation. And the effects of climate change and sea level rise on Delaware communities are real. We’re seeing them every day. That’s why we need to take action. With the help of federal infrastructure funding, we will accelerate efforts to build out Delaware’s electric vehicle charging infrastructure. And we’ll restore investments in the Clean Water Trust – to protect our waterways and drinking water.”
“Protecting our state also means making sure Delaware families feel safe in their homes and communities. We’re working with leaders in Wilmington and Dover to expand our Group Violence Intervention Program – to reduce gun violence. Our collective efforts have shown good results. Statewide, shootings are down 30 percent since last year. There’s a lot more work to do, for sure. Gun violence anywhere is unacceptable – and we need everyone to make this a priority.”
“We can’t make any of these investments – in education, in our economy, in environmental protection and public safety – if we don’t have our fiscal house in order. Over the past six years, we have charted a responsible course, together. We’ve protected taxpayer dollars and directed investments where they can have the greatest impact. I’ve talked to a lot of taxpayers over the years – and that’s what they expect of us. When I took office six years ago, we were facing an almost $400 million deficit. Now, we have $400 million more in reserves for when the economy turns down again which we know will happen at some point. Despite a global pandemic that ravaged our economy – we have turned a significant deficit into a surplus. We have directed one-time revenue into one-time projects and built the largest infrastructure program in Delaware history – two years in a row now.”
Click here for photos from the 2023 State of the State address.