- Associated Press - Thursday, March 17, 2016

DOVER, Del. (AP) - The six Democrats vying for their party’s nomination to fill Delaware’s vacant lieutenant governor’s seat are introducing themselves to voters and outlining their platforms.

The candidates gathered Thursday evening for a forum at Delaware State University, mostly sticking to their talking points while answering questions about how they see the role of lieutenant governor and what they would do if elected.

The lieutenant governor’s post has been vacant since 2015, when incumbent Democrat Matt Denn was elected attorney general, succeeding the late Beau Biden, who chose not to seek re-election in 2014.

After Denn entered the attorney general’s race, lawmakers were unable to agree on whether to amend the constitution to allow for the filling of a vacancy in the lieutenant governor’s office.

State Sen. Bethany Hall-Long, a nursing professor, said she would focus as lieutenant governor on the economic, mental and physical health of Delawareans.

“My platform will be the health of Delaware,” she said.

New Castle County Register of Wills Ciro Poppiti said he would focus on the social and financial challenges related to an aging population.

“I’m fighting for older Delawareans, and when we do that we open up money to invest in our young people,” he said.

Sherry Dorsey-Walker, a member of the Wilmington city council, said her priorities as lieutenant governor would be education, criminal justice, job creation and environmental justice.

“We should not have state-sanctioned murder in the state of Delaware,” Dorsey-Walker added, saying she would fight to abolish capital punishment.

Kathy McGuiness, a businesswoman and Rehoboth Beach City Commission member, said Delaware needs a lieutenant governor who understands job creation and the needs of local governments.

Greg Fuller, a longtime state worker and former employee of the Department of Correction, who also served a brief stint as Sussex County register of wills, said he is uniquely qualified to chair the state Board of Pardons, one of only two constitutionlly mandated duties for the lieutenant governor, along with presiding over the state Senate. The Board of Pardons recommends to the governor whether pardons or commutations should be granted to criminal offenders.

McGuiness, responding to a question on whether any changes should be made to the lieutenant governor’s office, said she would consider expanding the Board of Pardons to include two members of the public - a change that would require amending the constitution.

Brad Eaby, an attorney and commissioner on Kent County Levy Court, said he didn’t think any changes are needed in the lieutenant governor’s role.

“I would like to work on uniting and not dividing,” he said, adding that he would work “to build trust and not walls.”

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