Don and Jeff I’m Don Peterson and I am running for State Representative from the 14th District. I believe it’s time for a change. It’s time for a new, more progressive voice, for someone who has the time and energy to focus on the people of this District. I want to work hard to close the income inequality gap, reform our broken criminal justice system, strengthen the social safety net for those of us most in need and provide open, transparent and responsive government.

I grew up in conservative Utah, in a family of union workers and Democrats. In my family, the Democratic ideals of FDR, caring for others and lifting up the less fortunate, were paramount. We knew the value of hard work and the power of people pulling together for a common cause.

When I went to college, my eyes were opened to the democratic social movements of the 60s and 70s, especially the anti-war, feminist, black liberation and, eventually, LGBT movements. I became an activist, willing to fight the status quo and the embedded power structure, and work for progressive change. We fought not for “special rights,” but for basic civil and human rights.

I started my career in budget and finance, working in the federal government for 30 years in rural lending programs and regulatory agencies. After that, I started my own business, becoming a leadership and management coach, so that I could help people integrate what they really cared about into their life’s work.

My husband Jeff and I have owned a home in Rehoboth Beach since 2000 and moved here full time in 2013. I quickly discovered that Sussex County faces a host of problems. Quality permanent jobs in our district are hard to find, and we are not prepared to meet the needs of our aging population. Although we live in a relatively affluent area, there are under-served communities nearby that lack safe, secure and affordable housing, and even drinkable water. Social programs are underfunded, and a surprising level of racism still exists.

Luckily, there also exists in our district a broad multi-racial network of progressive activists who are dedicated to creating positive change in Sussex County, and I quickly got involved with them – joining the Unitarian Universalists (where I serve as the Chair of the Social & Environmental Justice Committee), Sussex Unity, the NAACP, the Southern Delaware Coalition for Racial Justice, the MLK Celebration Organization, and the Ellendale Community Civic Improvement Association, as well as Progressive Democrats of Sussex County and the Democratic Committee for the 14th District.

I’ve learned a lot about our community and our government in the time I’ve lived here, and I have some ideas for how to make things better. But in order to move forward, we need new leadership in the 14th district, someone who is willing to fight for progressive change – for repeal of the death penalty, for criminal justice reform, for a decent future for the middle class and the poor alike, and for a more transparent and responsive government.

As your representative, I will always respond to your phone calls and emails, and I will not govern via secret meetings and backroom deals. And I will not take donations from the NRA, police PACs, or big developers.