Jane Hovington says she wants to be a voice for the people, particularly those she claims are currently being overlooked or underserved by the General Assembly.
"There are serious issues in the community that I don't feel are being adequately addressed," she said. "I can't just stand back and see the things that are happening to people in Sussex County and not try to make a change."
The 62-year-old Democrat says that is why she is running for state senate in District 19, which includes Georgetown, Bridgeville and Long Neck.
Hovington, who did not face a primary challenge earlier this month, will face Republican and fellow Georgetown resident Eric Bodenweiser in the Nov. 6 general election.
"Eric is a nice individual who is adamant in his beliefs and stands strongly for them," Hovington said of her opponent. "But the difference between us, I believe, is that I can better relate to the large percentage of Sussex County residents who have had to work hard to achieve what they have in life but whose concerns are not being addressed, such as when it comes to jobs and health care."
A resident of Georgetown for more than 25 years, Hovington is the former director of the Small Wonder Ones Child Care Center and a mentor with the Indian River School District's Character Academic Motivation Program (CAMP), an intervention program for troubled teens at Sussex Central High School that she co-founded four years ago.
She also serves as a volunteer program director for Shechinah Empowerment Center, a Georgetown-based community advocacy organization that helps county residents earn their GEDs, operates a food pantry and assists prisoners re-enter the community following their release, among other programs. The center is run by Hovington's husband, Ronnie, a correctional officer at the Sussex Correctional Institution, who also serves as the pastor of the non-denominational Pulling Down Strongholds Ministries.
In addition, Hovington serves as the president of the Lower Sussex County chapter of the NAACP, chairwoman of the Georgetown Board of Adjustments and a member of the Ellendale Civic and Community Association, West Side New Beginnings Inc. in Rehoboth Beach and the Indian River School District's education coalition.
If elected, Hovington said her main priorities would be to improve public education, provide more services to senior citizens and veterans, work to create more jobs and find ways to help families stay in their homes.
"I think we need to have more technical skills taught in our schools, because not every child is inclined to go to college," she said. "Some high schools are trying to fulfill the need for certification courses but with budget constraints that's not always possible."
Hovington also said she would like to see a more level playing field when it comes to the funding provided to local school districts.
"Regardless of which district a student attends, they should have the same opportunity to be taught by skilled teachers who are paid a livable wage," she said. "It's not appropriate for one district to be able to pay a teacher with 10 years of experience more than another."
In addition, Hovington said more must be done to provide adequate services to seniors and veterans.
"There is not nearly enough transportation available to seniors in Sussex County," she said. "I also don't believe any wife should have to stress over how to care for their family when their husband is overseas fighting for our freedoms. And when those veterans come home, we should not hesitate to provide them with the services they need."
Hovington said she would work to encourage companies that incorporate in Delaware to also locate their corporate offices here.
"There are 900,000 companies that have incorporated in this state," she said. "Image how many jobs would available if those companies also had their operations here, and not just in Wilmington, but Sussex County, as well."
Hovington said she also would support legislation that requires the owners of manufactured home communities to provide justification before increasing ground rents.
A bill that would have required the owners of manufactured communities to justify rent hikes greater than the previous year's increase in the Consumer Price Index was defeated in the state House of Representatives in 2011.
Hovington said she believes the bill should have gone further by instituting penalties levied against the owners of manufactured housing communities that do not use a percentage of their revenue on maintaining their park's infrastructure.
"If you have a mobile home park and you don't keep it up, you should have to justify why you're asking for an increase," she said. "If you didn't maintain it with the money you had, why should you be allowed to get more money. After all, these are people's lives we're talking about here."
Bodenweiser also has voiced his support for enacting legislation that would help the residents of manufactured home communities avoid exorbitant increases in ground rents.
"I'm not sure Senate Bill 205 was the best piece of legislation, but something has to be done to help those people," he said last week. "Whether or not Mrs. Hovington and I agree on this issue, I feel certain that I have a greater awareness of this issue, and every other issue affecting residents from the Maryland border to the Atlantic Ocean … I think this is a very conservative district and I am a very conservative candidate who will better represent the principals and values of the voters."