New faces, strong divide on issues as new legislative session starts

By Amy Cherry 6:21pm, January 8, 2013 - Updated 10:45am, January 9, 2013
WDEL's Amy Cherry talks with new state representatives Paul Baumbach (D-Newark) and Jeff Spiegelman (R-11th District).
The 147th General Assembly reconvenes with nine new members of the House and six new members of the Delaware state Senate.

WDEL's Amy Cherry reports.

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There are new faces in the hallways of Legislative Hall and as always, strong opinions.

The death penalty is expected to come up for debate this year with many re-elected members of the House and Senate cautious on saying how they feel. But new members like Democratic Rep. Paul Baumbach (D-Newark) are more outspoken.

"I am looking for a repeal of the death penalty in Delaware," says Baumbach.

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Baumbach says he'd also support gay marriage and a minimum wage measure.

Republican state Rep. Jeff Spiegelman (R-11th District) couldn't be further away from Baumbach on the issue of capital punishment.

"My constituents they support the death penalty, they want to keep the death penalty. that's the will of the people, that's why we're here. I plan on honoring their voice," says Spiegelman.

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Another biggie, gun control in the wake of the Connecticut school shooting, and legislators on both sides of the aisle are divided there as well.

"The bills that I've seen focus far too much on punishing gun owners for the crimes of criminals, and I am totally against any policies that don't make the public safer and just make it harder for law abiding citizens to practice their rights," says Spiegelman.

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Baumbach is much more open to increased gun control.

"We care about sensible gun sanity, gun control. I know the Governor and other colleagues are very interested in making sure we make things better there," says Baumbach.

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Newly-elected Senator Greg Lavelle, who's moved up from the House, is a bit more down the middle and hopes legislators will take a breath and hear both sides.

"Hopefully, cooler heads will prevail. If you look at some of the reactions to the shootings in Connecticut, that much of what has been proposed wouldn't stop that one way or the other," says Lavelle.

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