Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.) stressed the importance of fixing our nation’s immigration system in a speech on the Senate floor on Tuesday. He urged his colleagues to not let partisanship interfere with passing an immigration reform bill that must ‘reflects America’s values and makes our country stronger.’
Senator Coons commended President Obama’s announcement last week of a new White House initiative to bring high-speed Internet access to America’s schools.
ConnectED aims to make high-speed digital connections available to 99 percent of America’s students within the next five years in collaboration with the Federal Communications Commission.
“ConnectED represents a vital investment in education and our children,” Chris said. “This effort will modernize public schools and enable a vast improvement in the quality and impact of the education our children receive. The presence of better technology in the classroom will open doors to new teaching and learning opportunities and equip students with the skills they need to get good jobs. I commend the President’s leadership and am excited to see ConnectED implemented in the years to come.”
New high-speed Internet connections will allow schools to benefit from the technological invention and innovation of the American private sector. Digital educational content will enable more interactive learning, and Internet-capable educational devices will increase opportunities to take advantage of online learning resources.
In addition to enhancing connectivity, ConnectED will invest in training teachers to use educational technology effectively in the classroom. The Department of Education will work with states and local school districts to increase funding for professional development to support educators in their efforts to use technological tools for teaching.
In Delaware, the State Board of Education, Department of Technology & Information, Department of Education, and Center for Educational Technology have all been working hard on bringing opportunities to increase broadband access and digital technology to schools. ConnectED will build on that momentum and leadership on these issues in Delaware.
Senator Chris Coons, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, wrote an op-ed in Sunday’s News Journal criticizing Congress for “failing to be an effective check” of the warrantless wiretapping of American citizens. Echoing calls he made on the Senate floor on the FISA Amendments Act in December 2012 and the PATRIOT Act in May 2011, Chris called for more transparency, public scrutiny, and Congressional oversight of domestic surveillance programs.
Congress has a responsibility to ensure these surveillance programs are run in a manner that is transparent and accountable. The intelligence community should provide the public with specifics on the full breadth of information that has been captured under the FISA Amendments Act, and what it is doing with that information. The administration should also establish a framework for declassifying FISA court opinions about warrantless wiretapping activities performed under this law. I voted for amendments that would have accomplished both.
Delawareans deserve a full and informed debate about our nation’s intelligence-gathering procedures and their intrusion on our privacy rights, as well as a Congress that insists on keeping our nation safe and respects our most cherished privacy protections.
Click here to read the full op-ed on the News Journal’s website.
Senator Chris Coons teamed up with 30 of his colleagues to reintroduce the Student Non-Discrimination Act on Tuesday to help protect public school students from bullying, harassment, and discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
“Bullying is destroying the lives of too many children and ripping the fabric of our communities apart,” Chris, an outspoken advocate on LGBT issues, said. “We must protect students from these harmful acts and ensure all individuals, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, are able to learn in an environment that’s free from discrimination. I encourage my colleagues to stand on the side of equality.”
In addition to being reintroduced on its own, the Student Non-Discrimination Act was added to the Strengthening All Schools Act, which would reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act — widely known as “No Child Left Behind.” The Strengthening All Schools Act was also introduced Tuesday.
Surveys indicate that nearly eight in 10 LGBT students have been bullied. The harassment LGBT youth experience in school deprives them of equal educational opportunities by increasing their likelihood of skipping school, underperforming academically, and eventually dropping out. It can also have a detrimental effect on their physical and mental health. Left unchecked, this harassment can lead to life-threatening violence and suicide.
Under current law, students are protected from discrimination based on gender, race, national origin, and disability but not sexual orientation or gender identity. The Student Non-Discrimination Act would establish a comprehensive federal prohibition against discrimination in public schools based on actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.
The legislation would also forbid schools from discriminating against LGBT students or ignoring harassing behavior.
Modeled after Title IX, violation of the Student Non-Discrimination Act would result in the loss of federal funding and give victims a legal cause of action for discrimination in public schools based on actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.
Senator Al Franken (D-Minn.) first introduced the legislation in 2010 and reintroduced it in 2011 when Chris was an original cosponsor of the bill.
DOVER - To help connect Delawareans with employers in the area, the Delaware Congressional delegation, in collaboration with Brandywine Counseling, will host their third of three job fairs this spring on June 24th in Kent County. Business leaders will get to meet with and interview talented Delawareans ready with resumes in-hand. The delegation urges businesses throughout the state to reserve their tables now.
The job fair will be held Monday, June 24th at the Sheraton Hotel in Dover from 10 am to 2 pm.
In addition to networking with companies looking to hire, job-seekers will also be able to participate in job-search skills workshops, receive career counseling, and have their resumes reviewed by experts.
The delegation hosted a job fair in New Castle County on March 6th and one in Sussex County on April 30th.
For more information on how to participate as an employer or job-seeker, please call Senator Coons’ office at 302-573-6345, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Senator Coons spoke on the Senate floor on Wednesday to reintroduce legislation that would help increase the number of low-income students able to access and complete a college education. The bipartisan American Dream Accounts Act of 2013 would authorize the Department of Education to award three-year competitive grants to support innovative and comprehensive partnerships that support low-income students in preparation for a college education.
Senator Chris Coons issued the following statement Tuesday after the Delaware Senate voted to extend the freedom to marry to same-sex couples. HB 75, the Civil Marriage Equality and Religious Freedom Act of 2013, ensures that same-sex married couples have the same protections and obligations as opposite-sex married couples.
“This is a truly historic day for our state,” Chris said. “Today’s vote was about dignity, respect, and basic human fairness for our neighbors. Every Delawarean deserves access to the full rights and responsibilities of marriage, no matter their sexual orientation. The passage of HB 75 ushers in a new era of equality in our state and marks an important moment in our state’s history. I am incredibly proud.
“Lisa Goodman, Mark Purpura, Erik Raser-Schramm, and everyone who worked and volunteered at Equality Delaware have my heart-filled congratulations,” Chris continued. “The lawmakers who stood up for the freedom to marry for the first time today — some breaking with their party; others breaking with their previous politics — have my sincere thanks. It is because of that bold leadership that when Governor Markell signs this legislation tonight, Delaware will become the 11th state to offer marriage equality to all of its citizens, and it will do so without infringing on the religious liberties of a single Delawarean.”
Chris is a strong supporter of civil rights and LGBT equality. He is a cosponsor of the Student Non-Discrimination Act, Employment Non-Discrimination Act, Uniting American Families Act, Domestic Partnership Benefits & Obligations Act, Tax Parity for Health Plan Beneficiaries Act, the Family and Medical Leave Inclusion Act, and the legislation that would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act.
Chris has been an active supporter of Equality Delaware. In addition to rallying supporters using his email list, publishing op-eds, and recording video messages in support of the campaign, Senator Coons reached out directly to state lawmakers to urge their support.
In honor of our public servants, Senator Coons was proud to cosponsor a Senate Resolution designating this week as Public Service Recognition Week, and he commends all of our public servants for their hard work all year to improve our country. The resolution, which was introduced by Senator Jon Tester of Montana and was passed by the Senate, had five additional cosponsors.
“Public servants are the backbone of the United States government, as well as our state and local governments,” Chris said. “The work they do every day is what makes our national spirit of service great. I would like to thank all public servants and especially those from Delaware for their contributions to society.”
Public Service Recognition Week is an annual event to honor the men and women who serve at all levels of government. Millions of Americans are public servants and work hard every day to ensure that we continue to provide services and meet the needs of our citizens all across America and abroad. During this week, which runs from May 5 to 11, officials from Cabinet secretaries to local officials are encouraged to proclaim appreciation and hold events for all public servants.
A number of events will be held this week, including the Public Employees Roundtable’s first annual Public Service 5K run/walk in Washington, D.C. Other events include a public service town hall meeting with Cabinet secretaries, and a Congressional breakfast to announce the finalists of the Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals, which honor members of the federal workforce. This year’s theme is “Why I Serve,” which is aimed at highlighting the stories behind why agency leaders and elected officials answered the call to serve and what accomplishments they are most proud.
Senator Chris Coons, a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, participated in a half-day summit on Thursday on issues of importance to rural communities across our nation. The event was hosted by the Senate Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee and featured two moderated panels focused on rural economics, infrastructure, and access to critical services.
The panel highlighted the economic conditions facing rural communities and the agriculture industry, and what role the federal government can play in ensuring long-term support for the communities. Issues discussed during the summit include the importance of investing in the health of farmland, natural resources, and infrastructure. Another topic of discussion was connecting our farmers and ranchers with consumers, including individuals, schools, hospitals, and businesses.
“Our rural communities are central to our identity, our economy, and our values,” Chris said. “Between our agriculture sector, environmental conservation, and tourism, it’s no surprise that Delaware’s rural communities are thriving. It’s important that we continue to facilitate an open dialogue between our rural communities and our elected officials to ensure we aren’t hindering their growth and development. I thank the members of the University of Delaware for attending today’s event and sharing their views on how we can strengthen our state’s rural areas.”
More than 200 rural development advocates attended the summit, including Mark Reiger, Dean of the College of Agriculture & Natural Resources, University of Delaware; Michelle Rodgers, Cooperative Extension Director, University of Delaware; and Melanie Allen, student, University of Delaware.
The Senate Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee is dedicated to fostering dialogue between Senate Democrats and community leaders from across the nation. The Steering Committee hosts regular meetings each year with advocates, policy experts, and elected officials to discuss key priorities and enlist their help in the development of the Democratic agenda in the Senate.
Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.), a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, on Monday afternoon spoke on the Senate floor calling for action to address the adverse effects of climate change in Delaware. The speech was given on Earth Day.