"Right now, despite COVID-19, we are hosting meet-and-greets across the state," said Lauren Witzke, Republican U.S. Senate candidate looking to unseat incumbent Democrat Chris Coons.
About 150 people gathered at the Rehoboth Beach Bandstand Saturday, chanting and holding hom…
"We also are fighting to reopen Delaware. We just had a 'reopen the beaches' rally this past weekend, and my campaign co-sponsored the reopening of a church on Sunday...So we are just going everywhere. We are campaigning full speed ahead."
Running on the "America First" platform, Witzke was officially placed on the ballot opposite Coons on Monday, May 18, 2020.
"Our current sitting senator supports open borders, which enables these foreigners to come in and take American jobs, to bring in these illicit drugs that are killing Americans, and we need to start putting Americans first."
Two of her strongest platforms, she said, are intimately tied: immigration and battling the opioid epidemic in America. Witzke has no qualms discussing her own journey through addiction to opioids and subsequent recovery. She said it gave her insight into the troubled underground activities involved in America's war on drugs.
"My addiction started in Wilmington--inner city of Wilmington...so I know it is an issue, especially there," she said. "It's just destroying families, destroying young Americans, and it doesn't discriminate. It affects the poverty level all the way up to politician."
While working for a pharmaceutical company in Wilmington, Witzke said she became depressed, started taking pain pills and became addicted, which eventually grew into a "full-blown heroin addiction."
"It was just part of the industry. I bought into that lie; there was a drug to fix everything."
Before she was ever a program director for Teen Challenge, a safe space recovery ministry, she first had to battle her addictions to become a graduate of the program.
"I ended up in a situation that I never thought I'd find myself in: I was running drugs, actually, for the Mexican cartels," Witzke said. "These people came here 100% legally, chain migration brought people here who will sell drugs to Americans and not think twice if it will kill them. They will sell these drugs to American children; they will sell them to your families, and they don't care."
The answer to that issue is an immigration moratorium, Witzke said, a kind of one-in, one-out policy that would more closely control the number of new United States residents gaining citizenship from outside countries.
"We can actually have people to come here for our values us and not our benefit, you see what I mean? Not just here to take advantage the value of our dollar." she said. "Right now, currently do we really even know what the qualifications are to, like, come into the United States? No. We bring in 1.1 million migrants a year, and that's not including the ones that come in illegally. We have about a million people in the state of Delaware, so every year we are bringing in a state of Delaware into the United States, pretty much unfiltered, so I'd like to put a hold on that and I'd like to give America the chance to heal."
Senator Chris Coons (D- Del.) and Senator John McCain (R- Ariz.) are proposing legislation …
She directly called out Coons for what she described as being supportive of endangering the American people via these policies.
"Open borders have been the most destructive thing for the United States and our...current sitting senator supports open borders, which enables these foreigners to come in and take American jobs, to bring in these illicit drugs that are killing Americans, and we need to start putting Americans first," Witzke said. "People are sick and tired of these politicians who have just lost touch with the American people. I'm like, 'no more attorneys, no more lawyers.' We don't need people who don't address the issues or care about just the average, everyday, working-class American."
There hasn't been much to work with from her potential Democratic counterparts already in office, she said, but Witzke claimed she'd be willing to find a way to work across the aisle with people like U.S. Senator Tom Carper or U.S. Representative Lisa Blunt Rochester--as long as their priorities are in order.
"I support anything that makes it easier for Americans to get married, have children, buy a house, live a successful life, and have an opportunity at the American dream," she said. "I would be willing to work with anybody to help make that goal accomplished. So, I have not found, actually, any particular parts of their platform that I see benefit the American people. However, if I saw something like that, of course I'd be willing to work with anybody who will help America and put America first."
America's families need help, Witzke said, and they're falling apart at rapid rates largely in part, she thinks, to opioid addiction.
"Right now, we are a global leader in single parenthood," she said. "I don't think it's any coincidence that we're also a global leader in opioid abuse. The breakdown of the American nuclear family, it's something that people don't like to talk about. However, when the family is the smallest form of government, we need to repair it in order for our communities to thrive. The breakdown of communities has been destructive across the board, in many aspects. So in 1965 they implemented policies that literally pushed dads out of their homes. Mothers will lose their benefits if they choose to get married. They won't have access to health care. So people are remaining single. I'd like to divert that money in order to get the dad back in the home, I'd like to incentivize marriage and family, I'd like to make it easier for people to have families to buy a home and have children. That's what it's all about, that's what America is all about. It's all about family. So I'd like to implement pro-life, pro-family policies that encourage the nuclear family to stay together."
As election races heat up heading into November, Witzke is anxious to talk more about her platforms to address health care--she'd like Delaware to have more affordable options available--and student loan debt. Until then, pandemic or not, you can find her on the campaign trail.