Senator Coons, chair of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Bankruptcy and the Courts, spoke on the Senate floor Thursday about the government shutdown's impact on the Judicial Branch of the United States, which will run out of reserve funds next Tuesday. As Subcommittee chair, Senator Coons is responsible for oversight of the nation's federal court system and has been reaching out to federal judges and clerks over the last week to find out how they are planning to move forward after funds are depleted Tuesday. On Thursday, the head of the Third Circuit, which includes Delaware, announced that almost all personnel would be deemed "essential" — a decision Senator Coons endorsed in his speech.
In July, Senator Coons supported a resolution passed by the Senate to proclaim September as National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. The President and the Senate began issuing this designation in 2001. With nearly 240,000 new cases of prostate cancer expected this year and more than 2.5 million American men living with the disease, there has never been a more important time to increase our understanding of this terrible illness. The Senate resolution declares that steps should be taken to: (1) raise awareness about prostate cancer screening and treatment; (2) increase research funding; and (3) improve access to, and the quality of, health care services for detecting and treating prostate cancer.
One in six men is diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point in his life, and prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among American men. The chances of prostate cancer increase to one in three if a man has one close relative who has had the disease and to 97 percent with three close relatives.
In Delaware, prostate cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer among males, and from 2003 to 2007 there were 3,813 new cases reported. Delaware’s prostate cancer incidence rate of 180.2 per 100,000 men is also significantly higher than the average U.S. rate. African American men are at an increased risk for the disease, with one in four men diagnosed each year, and African American men in Delaware are two times more likely to die from prostate cancer than white men.
Fortunately, early detection and advancements in treatment have resulted in high survival rates. Indeed, with early testing, nearly 100 percent of men diagnosed with prostate cancer were still alive five years later. The proportion of prostate cancer cases in Delaware that are detected in the local stage has increased dramatically over the past 30 years.
This month, Chris’ health policy staff met with a representative from the Delaware Prostate Cancer Coalition who underscored the importance of continued research funding and early detection methods. While prostate cancer has seen remarkable advances, adequate research and early testing remain important tools for combatting the disease. Chris has been a longtime supporter of funding for the National Institute of Health (NIH) and will continue fighting to ensure that the NIH and research centers like the National Cancer Institute have adequate funding to prevent, detect, and treat prostate cancer.
Senator Coons congratulated four Delaware students who earned medals at the 65th Delaware Valley Science Fair and are now headed to the International Science Fair. Two of the students are from Sussex County and two are from New Castle County.
Chris is a passionate supporter of science education, and loves attending Delaware science fairs to talk with students about their projects. He believes that science, technology, engineering, and mathematics are critical subjects for the next generation of American innovators. One of the first bills Chris cosponsored as a U.S. senator was the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act, which extended investments in cutting-edge research and STEM education. This legislation was signed into law in January 2011.
The Delaware students participating in the International Science Fair are:
- Bansri Patel, Sussex Technical High School
- Mikayla Ockels, Sussex Central High School
- Martin Kurian, The Charter School of Wilmington
- Edward Bao, The Charter School of Wilmington
For a complete list of winners, click here.
Senator Coons also congratulated four middle school students from Kent County who earned honorable mentions at the Delaware Valley Science Fair. They are:
- Jordan Tribbett, Milford Middle School
- Carson Rios, Milford Middle School
- Joseph Dean, Milford Middle School
- Ashish D'Souza, William Henry Middle School
In this series of blog posts, Senator Coons’ legislative staff shares their analysis of the President’s State of the Union address with Delawareans.
In his State of the Union address, President Obama reaffirmed his commitment to opening up fast-growing new markets around the world to American goods and services, creating new trade opportunities that will help American businesses grow and create jobs.
President Obama proposed that we “complete negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership,” which would “boost American exports, support American jobs, and level the playing field in the growing markets of Asia.” He also announced that the he will “launch talks on a comprehensive Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership with the European Union, because trade that is fair and free across the Atlantic supports millions of good-paying American jobs.”
Senator Coons has been working hard to help open new global markets where Delaware companies can sell their goods and services. As chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Africa, he is working to ensure that these fast-growing new markets with burgeoning middle classes are open to American products to help strengthen our economy here at home.
Gaining access to markets all over the world has been instrumental in helping the American economy grow and prosper over the last century. To continue our economic recovery, Chris believes it is crucial that we continue to create better access to international markets and help American business and workers by removing barriers to our goods and products.
In particular, markets in both Asia and the European Union present important opportunities for Delaware's poultry companies to expand their exports. This trade will allow us to make progress in breaking down barriers to Delaware's poultry exports.
For 40 years, the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade has protected the right of women in Delaware and around the country to make their own decisions about reproductive health and family planning.
As we mark the anniversary of this landmark decision, we must redouble our efforts to protect this fundamental right and to ensure that women and families have access to safe and affordable reproductive health care, no matter where they live or what their income level.
Although Roe v. Wade is settled law, the rights that it protects remain under assault. In the past two years, 30 states have passed 135 new laws restricting access to abortion – despite the fact that 63 percent of Americans do not want to see Roe v. Wade overturned.
It is therefore critical that we remain vigilant about protecting the rights of women and their families to make their own private health care decisions, and to ensure accessible and affordable reproductive care for Delawareans and all Americans.
Dredging Today published a Q&A on Tuesday highlighting Senator Chris Coons’ thoughts on the job-creating potential of the Delaware River dredging project currently underway.
We are already seeing signs of job creation and growth as a result of the Delaware River dredging project. I have heard from businesses, labor leaders and private equity companies that they see the Port of Wilmington and the other ports on the Delaware River as perfectly situated to handle more cargo and take advantage of their proximity to major population centers on the East Coast. With the completion of the 45’ channel in the Delaware River, we will see tens of thousands of direct and indirect jobs created as ports are expanded, cargo volume increases and people are hired to handle every downstream aspect of what comes in and what goes out.
Click here to read the full article.
The Senate voted unanimously on Sunday to pass legislation authored by Senator Coons that would add approximately nine miles of White Clay Creek and its tributaries to the existing Wild and Scenic Rivers designation for the waterway.
The White Clay Creek Wild and Scenic River Expansion Act of 2011, which was co-sponsored by Senator Tom Carper and Senator Bob Casey, now awaits consideration by the House of Representatives.
“The White Clay Creek watershed is rich in natural resources, and it is important that we preserve those resources for the next generation,” Chris said. “Growing up, I spent considerable time in the White Clay Creek watershed and know that it is an important resource for Delaware and the region. It’s up to all of us to fight to protect our natural resources.”
“Yesterday, the Senate passed an important piece of legislation that will help safeguard one of Delaware’s great outdoor treasures,” said Senator Carper. “Through preserving nine additional miles of White Clay Creek and its tributaries, this measure will help ensure that Delawareans will continue to enjoy this waterway’s natural, cultural and recreational benefits for generations to come.”
The legislation, which comes at no cost to taxpayers, would expand the original Wild and Scenic Rivers designation to include two small stream sections that were omitted from the original designation.
Representative Joseph Pitts (R-Pa.) is the lead sponsor of the companion legislation in the House. However, if the House does not pass this version of the legislation before January 3, both the Senate bill and the House bill must be reintroduced and reconsidered by both chambers in the next Congressional session. Unanimous Senate passage provides strong momentum that could help the new version of the bill move quickly in the next Congress.
MILFORD — To mark the 71st anniversary of the day our nation was attacked at Pearl Harbor, Senator Coons spent the afternoon of December 7th visiting the Delaware Veterans Home in Milford.
While he was there, Chris was deeply moved by the harrowing story of Thomas Morris, a World War II veteran who survived the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Now over 90 years old, Mr. Morris shared his inspirational story of courage and determination from December 7, 1941.
Originally from Cecil County, Maryland, Mr. Morris joined the Navy and was serving aboard the USS California on the day Pearl Harbor was bombed. After a torpedo hit his ship, he rushed to rescue his fellow service members and fetch ammo. While he was below deck, a second strike blew him back 100 feet and burned him across his body.
After making it onto one of the last lifeboats and finding his way to shore, Mr. Morris was told by a triage doctor at the Honolulu aid station that there was no way to save his life. The doctor ordered him wrapped in gauze to make him more comfortable, and urged him to prepare for death. The next morning, the astonished doctor found that Mr. Morris was in fact, very much alive – and ready to get back in the fight.
Mr. Morris spent two full months recovering from his injuries, motivated by his desire to fight for his country at a time it needed him. He made a remarkable recovery and immediately joined the crew of a destroyer, where he worked his way up to the rank of gunner’s mate, third class. After fighting honorably, eventually, skin damage caused by his burns required him to return home to his family farm.
“Extraordinary stories of courage from our military veterans are key threads in the rich fabric of our nation’s history,” Chris said. “Mr. Morris’ story was touching and inspirational, and I am deeply honored to have had the opportunity to hear him describe that terrifying day aboard the USS California first-hand. His lasting legacy of service and sacrifice will continue to inspire Americans for generations to come.”
The Delaware Veterans Home provides long-term care services to Delaware veterans and it is the only facility of its kind in the state.
Last week, Senator Coons congratulated John Sell for earning the title of Delaware Teacher of the Year. Mr. Sell teaches English at Sussex Tech High School in Georgetown, where he is known for his innovative teaching techniques, such as singing poetry to his students.
As the son and grandson of classroom teachers, Chris is committed to strengthening education in Delaware and supporting our extraordinary teachers like Mr. Sell. He joined the Delaware Teacher of the Year Awards Dinner to share his personal appreciation with all of this year’s finalists, selected from 9,000 Delaware public school teachers to represent each of the state’s 19 school districts.
At the awards dinner, Chris said “Tonight, we honor and appreciate all of our teachers, and we also recognize 19 in particular who have gone above and beyond. As nominees for Delaware’s Teacher of the Year, you have shown exceptional dedication and commitment to your students, as well as the ability to inspire the kind of love learning that lasts a lifetime.”
To read more about Chris’ work on education, click here.
Last night, Senator Coons, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and co-chair of the Senate Law Enforcement Caucus, received the Delaware Coalition Against Domestic Violence’s (DCADV) 2012 Vision of Peace Award.
The award was presented at the Delaware Center for Contemporary Arts in Wilmington during DCADV’s Purple Ribbon Event, hosted annually during Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
“When we shine light on these horrific acts by educating the public, empowering the victims, and punishing the offenders, we can help break the cycle of abuse,” Chris said in accepting the Vision of Peace Award.
The Vision of Peace Award is presented by the DCADV to individuals who have demonstrated leadership and sustained commitment in their efforts to end domestic violence. Chris is fighting to advance the reauthorization of the landmark Violence Against Women’s Act (VAWA) and has worked for many years to help prevent domestic violence in Delaware while empowering victims to come forward.
To learn more about Chris’ work on the Judiciary Committee, click here.
To learn more about DCADV’s work click here.