This 27-year old from the East Side is taking on the 39-year incumbent for DE Senate - Technical.ly Delaware

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This 27-year old from the East Side is taking on the 39-year incumbent for DE Senate

Will an under-30 with a passion for the community unseat a longtime state senator to represent a rapidly changing city?

Jordan Hines.

(Courtesy photo)

When Jordan Hines was born, Sen. Robert Marshall, the current incumbent for Delaware State Senate District 3, had been in office for 12 years. Now Hines wants his seat.

You might not think about your state senators that much, but they’re a big deal. No matter what’s going on at the Federal level, our state reps make important decisions that directly impact our everyday lives.

Hines, who announced his candidacy for state senate representing District 3 in August, was born on Wilmington’s East Side, and he’s lived all over — all over Wilmington, that is — including time with the foster care system.

Though parts of his childhood were difficult, he was accepted to Red Clay’s Cab Calloway School of the Arts, one of Delaware’s more exclusive magnets, with a student body that is less than 10% low income.

It was in high school that he began to volunteer for various causes. “I loved volunteering,” Hines said. “Finally, I was like, ‘this is what I want to do. I don’t want to stop doing this.”

His volunteering included two years with F.A.M.E. (Forum to Advance of Minorities in Engineering), where he was the robotics director for a First State Robotics team. “Programs like that are so, so important for minority kids,” he said. “It can change lives.”

Overall, Hines, just 27, has been in public service for nearly a decade and a half. Following his graduation from Cab in 2009 and a degree from Widener University, he went on to work for the Wilmington City Council, then New Castle County. An elected position to the Delaware Assembly seems a natural next step.

“I want to get into it, get my hands dirty, to listen,” he says. “Things are changing in the district… we need someone who’s not afraid to move the needle. Someone who’s consistent and open to other perspectives.”

His recently-released platform focuses on five topics: criminal justice reform and community safety, economic development, education, public health, and women and family services.

And, while some fret that too much economic development will mean a more gentrified, less diverse Wilmington, Hines sees the possibility of a healthy economy where large businesses draw employees from the city, including the often economically neglected inner city neighborhoods. (If this doesn’t sound realistic to you, know that multiple expert panelists, including Joe Biden himself, said that such strategies have already proven successful during the recent Biden Foundation Future of Jobs panel). And, of course, Hines wants lots of support for small businesses and entrepreneurs.

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“We have a lot of talk, a lot of rhetoric, but no one’s actually putting forth the measurements for what it is we’re trying to get accomplished,” said Hines. “I’m a big supporter of investing in the arts and other creative school programs, and encouraging the recruitment of minority teachers. There’s a bit of proven theory that when you see minority teachers in a classroom, it encourages students to stay in school. By having a mixed room with a minority at the front, you’re breaking that cultural divide.”

While his platform sounds like it would do well in District 3, winning the seat may be an uphill battle. The current senate seat for District 3 (which includes Wilmington’s Center City, East Side, Riverfront, West Center City, West Side, and The Flats) has been filled for nearly 40 years by Marshall, also a Democrat and a native Wilmingtonian. Marshall has generally won re-election for the seat easily, but in 2014, Sherry Dorsey Walker came very close to winning the Democrat ticket in the primaries. 37 votes close.

Like Dorsey Walker, Hines is an African American public servant with a focus on the issues facing the diverse constituents in District 3, including the issues of inequity that affect low-income areas. As Dorsey Walker proved, these issues will bring out District 3 voters — it’s just a matter of whether it’s enough.

To learn more about Jordan Hines, go to https://www.hinesforsenate.com

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