Carney visits Shore Democrats Holiday Party

Date Published: 
December 27, 2013

Last week, U.S. Rep. John Carney (D-Del.) attended the Shore Democrats Holiday Party, where he spoke about serving the First State.

“My job — I work for you,” he said. “I really take it very seriously.”

Carney said that he makes a point when voting in the U.S. House of Representatives to walk up the stairs of the Capital Building to remind himself that he’s “not in Dover anymore,” and that “it always reminds me of the job I’m doing is on your behalf. We have not been doing our job on behalf of all of you in that Capitol building.”

Carney said that he feels the country is facing some significant fiscal challenges and believes there should be two guiding principles.

“One — do no harm in the short-term and try to get some of the longer-term liabilities under control. We’ve done the opposite. We’ve focused the short term on spending cuts,” he said. “If we don’t do, it gets harder and harder each year we kick that can down the road. I am always focused on making sure we can focus them appropriately.”

One club member asked Carney why Social Security tax is maxed out at $113,700.

“Why is Social Security leveled around $115,000? So is somebody making $100,000 is taxed on all of their income while somebody making $200,000 is paying on 50 percent and someone who is earning a million dollars a year is paying on 10 percent of that?” she asked. “Every economist says if you raise that, you take care of the Social Security deficit problem, yet it’s not even on the table.”

“It’s different, because it has a separate funding mechanism, the Social Security Trust Fund,” responded Carney. “My own view is we ought to do it the last way it was adjusted in the ’80s. It’s a math problem, because right now you don’t have enough income to pay the benefits that have been promised.”

He added that he’s against raising the retirement age to solve the financial problem.

“What do you do about people who work physically demanding jobs?” he asked.

He added that he would favor taxing everyone on 100 percent of their income, “or raising it gradually.”

“There are only a couple things you can do,” he said. “I think we ought to look at people who live extraordinarily long lives. We ought to look at it all and look at it separately.”

Carney said there’s a lot that the country needs to work on, but he sees it moving in the right direction.

“The thing I really hate about it is I can see the things we need to do as a country — both on the economic front and on so many other levels — there just so much we haven’t done. The good news is things are getting better.”

He said that he loves being a part of Delaware politics and the connection he makes with his fellow Delawareans.

“It’s very personal. People expect to meet you. Every person I talk to today wished me a ‘Merry Christmas,’ ‘Happy Holidays,’ ‘Happy New Year, and by the way, we’ve got this great botanical gardens project.’ ‘What are you guys doing in Syria and Iran?’

“Everybody has those issues. What’s different about Delaware is that people feel that they can talk directly to their member of Congress, to their senators, state representatives, county councilpersons in a very direct way,” he continued.

“Whether we give you the answer that you want, you ought to know that you’ve been heard.”

Cheryl Reed Fruchtman, president of the club, said that in the year 2013, the group provided approximately 2,900 meals on behalf of the Cheer Center’s Meals on Wheels program and was able to collect 375 pounds of trash on Beaver Dam Road, which it has adopted.

The Shore Democrats also donated more than 200 pieces of knitted clothing to area organizations, including LaRed and the Wilmington Veterans Hospital.

“We also donate books to LaRed to be given to children as they are immunized,” said Fruchtman. “LaRed is designed to provide bilingual, culturally appropriate, high-quality, cost-effective, primary and preventative medical care to residents in Sussex County, with emphasis on our uninsured.”

“I just want to take this opportunity to thank all of you. We do give a book to every child we give an immunization to. They get about four or five immunizations at a time, so it’s a nice consolation prize,” said LaRed Chief Operations Officer Kay Malone. “I want you to know how much they are appreciated.”

Fruchtman said that member and director Janet Skibicki has been intricately involved in many of the group’s community outreach programs and presented her with a community service award.

“We are giving out an award to one of our members who has gone above and beyond the call of duty,” she said. “Janet has been working effortlessly on the Meals on Wheels Program over the past few years. She knits articles of clothing to be given to various organizations and also picks up and delivers the articles,” she said.

“I enjoy doing it all,” said Skibicki “I know there are a lot of other people who do a lot of things to help the community.”

For more information on the Shore Democrats, visit shoredemocrats.org.