From Left to Right: Rafael X. Zahralddin-Aravena, 08-09 Chair of the Multicultural section of the Delaware State Bar Association, Delaware Governor Jack Markell, Dean Linda L. Ammons, and the Honorable Joshua Martin.
“It’s very good to be here today. All of the other times I’ve been in this room, it’s been for debates,” joked Delaware Governor Jack Markell has he addressed a large audience in the Ruby R. Vale Moot Courtroom. Governor Markell spoke about the state of Delaware’s economy on Friday, May 1st as part of the 2009 Haile L. Alford Memorial Conference, an event sponsored by the Multicultural Judges and Lawyers Section of the Delaware State Bar Association.
Dean Linda L. Ammons
spoke briefly before Governor Markell’s appearance, welcoming those attending the conference. She noted that Widener Law is proud to provide a home for the Haile L. Alford Memorial Conference and said, “We talk about it as if it is our own event. Rafael X. Zahralddin-Aravena, 2008-2009 Chair of the Multicultural Section of the Delaware State Bar Association followed Dean Ammons to the podium and introduced Governor Markell.
“The country is going through the most difficult time in sixty years, and Delaware is not immune to that,” said Governor Markell as he opened his comments on the state’s economy. “All of the state’s revenue streams are down,” he stated, adding, “What we have at this moment is a $778,000,000 budget deficit.” He stressed the importance of being responsible, saying, “Don’t make financial commitments based upon revenue streams that are not sustainable, ”and in discussing necessary steps to try and make up the budget shortfall, including cutting salary for state employees, he noted, “We cannot cut our way to prosperity.”
In addition to noting some of the hard cuts in his budget proposal, Governor Markell spoke about the need to attract businesses and entrepreneurs, saying, “There is no excuse for a state of our size not to be more nimble.” After discussing some proposals aimed at fostering small businesses, he discussed his general philosophy about how to bring businesses and entrepreneurs into the state before taking questions from the audience ranging in topic from why DelDOT is cutting projects to his relationship with the state legislature.
In addition to Governor Markell’s talk, the conference featured a morning panel entitled Inhouse Counsel and the Economic Downturn with Kymberly D.H. Hernandez, Esq. of Astra Zeneca Pharmaceuticals, Vera Holmes, Esq. of Ashland, Inc., Thomas A. Warnock, Esq. of E.I. duPont Nemours and Company, and moderated by Ernest A. Tuckett, III, Esq. of E.I duPont Nemours and Company. The afternoon panel, Serving Delawareans of Color in the Economic Downturn featured a distinguished panel as well: Rashmi Rangan, Esq. of Delaware Community Reinvestment, Paulette Sullivan Moore, Esq. of the Delaware Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Vivian L. Rapposelli, Esq. of the Department of Services for Children, Youth, & Families, Deborah Wilson, Executive Director of the Metropolitan Wilmington Urban League, and moderator Emilie R. Ninan, Esq. of Ballard Spahr Andrews & Ingersoll LLP.