Senator Tom Carper, D-De., visited Widener Law’s Delaware campus on Friday, February 29th and spoke to Professor Lawrence Hamermesh’s Business Organizations class. Currently in his second term in the Senate, Carper has won twelve consecutive statewide elections to public office, beginning with his election as State Treasurer in 1976.
After a brief introduction from Professor Hamermesh, Senator Carper spoke briefly about his background, mentioning his military service in Vietnam, where Senator Carper served as a Naval flight officer on P-3 Orions. He also talked about moving to Delaware and attending the University of Delaware, where he earned an M.B.A. Moving on to his political career, the Senator described the dire financial straits that the state of Delaware faced when he took first took office as the State Treasurer.
Regarding the divisive atmosphere in the American political climate, Senator Carper joked, “We criticize the Iraqi Parliament for not being able to work together. They’ve only been a democracy for three years.” He emphasized his reputation for consensus building, stressing, “My job in the Senate is to try to get people to work together.” To drive his point about working together home, he cited the example of Return Day in Delaware and the ceremony where the Sussex County Chairmen of each political party symbolically bury a hatchet together.
Senator Carper also talked at length about his own ongoing efforts to work on a housing recovery bill and the bipartisan effort to pass the Economic Stimulus Act. He covered many of the ongoing issues affecting the mortgage crisis and offered some possible solutions. Finally, he took questions from the students on a number of diverse issues including credit card debt, the potential safety issues of aging nuclear power plants, and his position on President Bush’s tax cuts.