Citizens for a Pro-Business Delaware plans to air TV ads during Thursday’s Democratic Primary Debate.
The group is calling for reforms to Chancery Court and earlier announced a door-to-door campaign.
“Our message is echoing throughout Delaware – people are listening, and they care,” said Chris Coffey, campaign manager for Citizens for a Pro-Business Delaware. “We are on the radio and knocking on doors. In the first four days of talking to residents, we have collected over 500 new signatures for our petition and recruited hundreds of new “Citizens” to join our team. Next, we’re bringing our voice to television. We are stronger in numbers.”
Citizens for a Pro-Business Delaware will spend $200,000 in television ads.
The group claims reforms are needed after Delaware dropped 10 spots in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s national business climate rankings and is now ranked 46th out of 50 states for judicial accountability according to the Center for Public Integrity.
Reforms sought by the group include a lottery for cases, rather than chancellor choosing their own cases, lack of cameras in the courtrooms, and not requiring financial disclosure by state judges.
On the heels of Delaware Supreme Court Chief Justice Leo Strine’s retirement, CPBD is calling for a replacement Chief Justice who reflects the diversity of Delaware’s population. Delaware is one of only 18 states that has never had an African-American on its highest court.
“The Delaware court system suffers from a historic lack of diversity, operating for too long as an old boys’ club,” said Miranda Wessinger, president of Citizens for a Pro-Business Delaware. “Without a diverse and representative court system, there will never be accountability to ensure that every Delawarean’s rights are protected. Our demand for equity and diversity is a simple one. The great people of Delaware deserve their voices to be heard.”
Citizens for a Pro-Business Delaware was formed in April of 2016 by employees of translation services company TransPerfect. TransPerfect has no offices in Delaware but is scouting for locations.
A lengthy dispute over ownership ended with Philip Shawe buying out the 50 percent share of Elizabeth Elting.
Legal costs reportedly ran a quarter of a billion dollars. Citizens for a Pro-Business Delaware has pressed for reforms even after TransPerfect moved its corporate domicile from Delaware to Nevada.
Also buying television advertising spots is Philip Shawe’s mother Shirley. The ads attack what appears to be Presidential candidate Joe Biden’s support of Chancery Court.