Senator Coons, chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Africa Subcommittee, joined MSNBC's Steve Kornacki Sunday morning to discuss the latest developments in Ukraine and actions the U.S. can take to combat Uganda's unacceptable anti-LGBT law, including scaling back assistance related to police training, opening up avenues for asylum for those fleeing oppression, and considering sanctions and/or visa denials for those who incite violence against the LGBT community. “We need to make sure that our rhetoric is matched by our actions,” Chris said. Watch the full interview below.
Senator Coons, joined by students from William Penn’s Communities in Schools program, members of the Small Business Administration, and Delaware State Chamber of Commerce congratulated new business owners Eric and Zia Ames at the grand opening of their new ZOUP! Franchise in Wilmington. Customers and friends filled the seats and lined the walls of the new soup and sandwich store to celebrate the new business, which was launched with the investment of the Small Business Adiministration and Applied Bank .
“Small business is the lifeblood of the community, not just here in Delaware, but across America,” said Chris. “Our small businesses do more than sell us goods and services — they support and strengthen our communities. I congratulate Eric and Zia on their passion, pride and boldness, to take that leap to start this venture.”
Eric and Zia spoke to the more than 30 students gathered at the event about the sacrifices, as well as the rewards that come with being an entrepreneur in the community.
Two out of three new jobs created in this country are created by small businesses, and here in Delaware, there are 70,000 small businesses that create jobs and give many families a chance to attain the American dream.
“It takes a community to build a business, and thanks to the support of the SBA, Applied Bank, and a strong business community, my family's dream to own our own business has become a reality,” said owner Eric Ames. “As a first generation business owner, I am excited by what this opportunity means for my children, knowing that when they graduate from college, they can begin their career or pursue a passion as an entrepreneur because they saw their dad do it.”
Zoup is located 4715 Kirkwood Highway, Wilmington, DE 19808
Senator Coons joined leaders from the University of Delaware Thursday to announce new legislation designed to boost STEM education and help universities prepare students for careers in innovation and advanced manufacturing. The Manufacturing Universities Act of 2014 would award competitive grants to 25 designated ‘manufacturing universities,’ to better align educational offerings with the needs of modern manufacturers.
“The entire lifecycle of innovation, skills, and creativity in manufacturing has to include universities,” Senator Coons said. “Universities have a central role to play in continuing the cycle of innovation that is essential if American manufacturing is to continue its current recovery. Over the last three years, our economy has regained 600,000 manufacturing jobs, but hundreds of thousands more remain unfilled because there aren’t enough appropriately skilled and trained process engineers, mechanical engineers, and chemical engineers to keep that innovation going.”
Grants of $5 million per year, for a four-year period, will help universities revamp their engineering programs to emphasize manufacturing skills, incentivize partnerships with local manufacturers, increase internship and cooperative education opportunities for students, and help more recent graduates launch new manufacturing businesses.
“We want more students graduating with the skills they need to thrive in the 21st century manufacturing environment, and we want more of our universities orienting themselves toward this field where we can win, our communities can win, and our country can win.”
Following the announcement Senator Coons visited with biochemistry students and faculty at UD’s Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Laboratory (ISE Lab) to demonstrate a chemical reaction and discuss the importance of STEM education.
Voices for National Service recognized Senator Coons Tuesday for his exemplary leadership and advocacy of national service as a state and federal priority, awarding him their Outstanding National Service Advocacy Award.
At the organization’s 11th Annual Friends of National Service Reception, Chris spoke to a packed room of service champions about the role of national service in helping the nation meet its toughest challenges. The reception, which also celebrated the 20th anniversary of AmeriCorps, allowed Senator Coons to reflect on his personal involvement with the organization.
“AmeriCorps has given Americans immense opportunities over the past 20 years to use our talents to build stronger communities,” Chris said. “It’s because of your work and dedication that the service movement has come so far – closer to a day when it will be commonplace for any American to ask his or her neighbor ‘Where do you serve?’”
During AmeriCorps’ first years, Chris worked with a small group of individuals with the national “I Have a Dream Foundation” to build the organization’s AmeriCorps program. Chris currently serves as a member of the National Service Congressional Caucus, where he joins with Democrats and Republicans to fight for expanded national service opportunities. This year’s award was Chris’ second from Voices for National Service – in 2012, he received the Outstanding New Member Award for elevating national service as a legislative priority.
Voices for National Service is a coalition of national, state, and individual service programs that aims to give Americans of all ages the opportunity to volunteer and serve. Founded in 2003, Voices for National Service works with well-known service organizations to engage bipartisan efforts to meet policy needs through volunteerism and service.
The League of Conservation Voters (LCV) has once again recognized Senator Coons’ strong environmental voting record, awarding him a 92 percent rating for 2013 in their latest National Environmental Scorecard. The scorecard provides objective, factual information about the most important environmental legislation considered by Congress and the corresponding voting records of all members. Senator Coons’ lifetime rating is now 95 percent.
The 2013 LCV scorecard includes 13 Senate votes that demonstrate Chris’ commitment to addressing important environmental issues affecting Delaware and the nation. Chris scored above the Senate average by 35 percent and Delaware was noted as one of 26 states with an average score above 90, thanks to high scores from all three members of the Delaware congressional delegation.
At home in Delaware and in the Senate, Chris has been a strong voice for environmental conservation, clean and renewable energy development, and measures to curb and combat the effects of climate change. Over the last year, Chris voted for disaster relief for victims of Superstorm Sandy and investments to make our communities more resilient against future storms, as well as to preserve investments in advanced next generation biofuels by the Department of Defense, the nation’s single largest energy user. He also opposed efforts to blocked EPA regulation of greenhouse gases for the purpose of combating climate change.
Chris advocated heavily for the inclusion of strong conservation provisions in the farm bill approved by Congress last week. He has led a letter to the Appropriations Committee for the past three years urging robust funding for farm bill conservation programs.
For over 40 years, the National Environmental Scorecard issued by LCV has been the nationally accepted yardstick used to rate members of Congress on environmental, public health, and energy issues. The Scorecard represents the consensus of experts from 20 respected environmental and conservation organizations who selected the key votes to be scored.
Read Senator Coons’ scorecard here: http://scorecard.lcv.org/moc/chris-coons
Download the full report here: http://scorecard.lcv.org/sites/scorecard.lcv.org/files/LCV_SCORE_FINAL_2.3.14.pdf
Senator Coons called for modernized voter protections at Saturday’s Freedom Forum, a panel discussion at Wilmington's Hanover Street Presbyterian Church marking the beginning of Black History Month. The event brought local leaders from the education, faith, government, and judicial arenas together with members of the community for a discussion on freedom and ongoing economic, political, educational, judicial, and faith challenges in the community.
Chris used the opportunity to discuss his recent work in Washington to restore and modernize protections in the Voting Rights Act. The legislation — supported by a range of civil rights groups — is a bicameral, bipartisan response to the Supreme Court’s Shelby County decision last June, which struck down a core provision in the Voting Rights Act.
“Of all the laws that passed during the Civil Rights Movement, the Voting Rights Act was pivotal because access to the ballot box also means access to the means to address many other issues,” said Chris. “The Supreme Court’s ruling challenged Congress to reenact a modern Voting Rights Act to deal with modern voting rights challenges, and that’s exactly what we’re working to do.”
In addition to Senator Coons, the panel, moderated by Wilmington City Council President Theo Gregory, included Dr. Yasser Payne (Associate Professor of Black American Studies, University of Delaware), Judge William Chapman (State of Delaware Family Court), Maria Cabrera (Wilmington City Council), Rasheedah Ahmed (retired teacher), and the Rev. Canon Lloyd Casson (Pastor, Calvary Episcopal Church).
Calling on the President to "continue to fight for American manufacturing," Senator Coons appeared on CNBC's Kudlow Report on Tuesday to share what he hopes to hear in President Obama's fifth State of the Union address tonight. Watch the full interview below:
More than 1,000 jobseekers packed in to the Education Technology Building Conference Center at Delaware Technical Community College Terry Campus for the first job fair of the year hosted by U.S. Senators Chris Coons and Tom Carper, and U.S. Representative John Carney. The Kent County job fair brought more than 45 private and public entities together to meet candidates in hopes of filling over 500 open positions.
The Kent County job fair was organized with the help of Brandywine Counseling and Career Services, and service and government employment agencies were also on hand to facilitate job-search skills workshops, career counseling, and resume reviews.
“Today was our 17th job fair and once again it was a great opportunity to connect Delawareans looking for work with prospective employers,” said Senator Carper. “While we still have too many of our friends and neighbors who are struggling to find work, I am heartened that we’re making progress and I’m hopeful that 2014 will be a positive year for job creation and economic growth here in the First State.”
“Thousands of Delawareans are still looking for work and these job fairs can make a real difference in our neighbors’ lives,” Senator Coons said. “Like the job fairs we hosted in the past, our goal for these fairs is to help Delawareans connect with real job opportunities, many of which are right here in their own backyard. Companies like Mountaire, Lowe’s, and Energizer were looking to fill hundreds of full-time positions.”
“Putting Delawareans back to work is my top priority. There are still many qualified workers struggling to provide for themselves and their families,” said Congressman Carney. “Many people left today with good information and connections that could lead to their next career move. That’s our main goal, and we’ll continue providing these opportunities throughout the year.”
In 2013, the Delaware delegation hosted seven job fairs for more than 3,500 job seekers. Since 2011, the delegation has hosted 17 jobs fairs in Delaware, including four specifically for veterans.
Senator Coons celebrated Martin Luther King Day with hundreds of Delawareans in Wilmington and Dover on Monday, recalling Dr. King’s pursuit of equality and justice for all. At gatherings across the state, Senator Coons joined local civil rights leaders to share reflections on the teachings and legacy of Dr. King and the work that remains to fulfill his vision.
At the 30th Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Annual Breakfast, hosted by the Organization of Minority Women, Chris had the honor of delivering the invocation and paid tribute to the memory of the event’s late founder, former State Representative Hazel Plant.
Chris also visited with attendees of the Delaware State Bar Association’s Inaugural Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Breakfast, headlined by keynote speaker Lani Guinier, Esq., civil rights attorney and the first tenured African-American woman professor at Harvard Law School.
Senator Coons then traveled south to Dover to speak at the 31st Annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Prayer Breakfast hosted by the Zeta Rho Lambda chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity. Addressing attendees, Chris discussed his efforts to restore key voter protections in the historic Voting Rights Act – a centerpiece of Dr. King’s civil rights struggle – that were struck down by a recent Supreme Court ruling.
“The reality is, discrimination is alive and well,” said Chris. “Attempts to block access to the ballot box continue today, and not just in the Deep South, but also around the country. That’s why I’ve introduced a modern voting rights bill to confront modern voting rights challenges. I am hopeful that Congress can come together to pass this bipartisan bill and restore the promise of free and fair elections that Dr. King fought for,” he said. Read more about the bill here.
Ending the day at the 29th Annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. National Holiday Program hosted by Delaware State University, Senator Coons commended the event’s founder, Councilman Reuben Salters, on his work honoring Dr. King’s legacy. The program, featuring speakers and artists, is free and open to the public.
“What Councilman Salters has done with this event is to translate Dr. King’s message of strengthening justice, achieving equality and working toward the founding promise of the American Dream, into local, lasting impact,” said Chris.
Sen. Coons listens to Community Education Building President Riccardo Stoeckicht as they stand in what will be the building's 7,000 square foot library.
Senator Coons peered into the future of Wilmington's charter schools as he joined Community Education Building (CEB) representatives Riccardo Stoeckicht and Robert Boyd for a behind-the-scenes look at the under-construction CEB in downtown Wilmington Friday. The 11-story building, donated by Bank of America to the Longwood Foundation, will house between 2,400-2,800 students when schools are operating at capacity.
Also along for the tour was Sally Maldonado, head of school for Kuumba Academy, one of the first schools that will be housed at the CEB. Academia Antonia Alonso is also scheduled to begin classes there in the fall.
“Students, especially young students, need a place to learn where they can feel inspired, safe and comfortable,” said Chris. “This building, once completed, will provide a place for more than 2,000 students to learn, grow and flourish as members of their community.”
“This project represents the best of Delaware," Senator Coons continued, "a state of neighbors that can come together from all areas, from the private sector to the non-profit world, to build something that is truly great. This facility is an example of what partnering and collaboration can achieve.”