No topic was off limits in Dr. Chris Counihan’s Introduction to Politics class at the University of Delaware Monday afternoon, as Senator Coons fielded students’ questions on policy issues ranging from the recent government shutdown, to GMOs, veterans' health, and employment issues.
Chris spoke with the class of more than 100 students about his early background of non-profit work with AmeriCorps, his work in the private sector with Gore, and what led him to run for office for the first time.
“I was approached to run for County Council, and I initially rebuffed the suggestion,” Chris said. “But then my wife, who had worked in county government for many years, said 'that’s exactly what you should do.' She said, ‘It was the County Police who kept you safe when you were a kid, the county park where your youth group from church met, and the Kirkwood Highway New Castle County library is where your mom dropped you off to keep you out of trouble. You grew up here, you benefitted from this place, but you haven’t given anything back to it.'”
“Long story short, when your wife says do it, you do it,” Chris said with a smile.
Chris also touched on the recent dysfunction in Congress. “It is better than it seems from the outside,” said Chris. “I’ve actually been able to build real friendships with Republican senators. There are good and capable members of the Senate and the House, both parties, but the bad news is sometimes we don’t act like it. I’ve spent a lot of time visiting with Republican senators, traveling with them, going to prayer breakfasts with them, so we can get to know each other and try to build something.”
Chris closed by adding, “Public service has been the best experience I’ve had in my life. I never expected it would be as rewarding and positive as it has been.”