Delaware Public Media

James Dawson

Political reporter/news anchor

James Dawson has covered state politics and government for Delaware Public Media and served as its Weekend Edition Saturday host since 2012. He came to Delaware from his home state of Idaho, where he served as a public affairs reporter and news director for the commercial radio network Inland Northwest Broadcasting. His reporting experience included state and local government, arts and culture, crime, and agriculture.

James contributed features and reports to the Northwest News Network, a collection of public radio stations across the Pacific Northwest. He has a bachelor’s degree in broadcasting and digital media from the University of Idaho.

When James isn’t haunting the corridors of Legislative Hall, you might find him brushing up on his photography skills along Delaware's coast, anticipating the Seattle Mariners' next rebuilding season or shamelessly singing while driving all over the First State.

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Delaware’s top judge says he’s “disappointed” with Gov. Jack Markell’s (D) proposed operating and capital budgets.

Chief Justice Leo Strine Jr. recently presented a larger spending plan before the Joint Finance and Bond Bill committees, saying that Markell “did not account for the critical needs of the judiciary.”

Gov. Jack Markell (D) is holding off on declaring a state of emergency or implementing a driving ban as snow continues to fall across the state.

"We're constantly evaluating whether a state of emergency would be warranted, but at this time, with schools and state offices closed, many drivers are already staying off the road and DelDOT has been able to sufficiently keep up with this storm on the primary roads," Markell said.

He notes that his office will reevaluate that decision as the day goes on.

NASCAR driver Kurt Busch will not face criminal charges over domestic abuse allegations made by an ex-girlfriend.

Delaware Department of Justice officials released a statement Thursday saying the evidence and available witnesses “would likely be insufficient to meet the burden of establishing beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Busch committed a crime.”

Ex-girlfriend Patricia Driscoll accused the 15-year NASCAR veteran of smashing her head into a wall in his trailer at Dover International Speedway Sept. 26, 2014.

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University of Delaware President Patrick Harker says innovation and fostering entrepreneurship in the First State will be critical for the future as he prepares to step down.

Harker sat before the Joint Bond Bill Wednesday asking for $7 million to complete renovations of Cannon Laboratory at their Lewes campus.

State lawmakers asked him what Delaware needs to compete domestically and abroad. He says as a research university, innovation across all disciplines is key.

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The movement to allow kids and families to opt-out of state standardized testing could spark a full review of how Delaware tests its students.

Rep. Earl Jaques (D-Glasgow), head of the House Education Committee, says he’s talking with the Markell Administration to comprehensively review all state testing, which he says makes up about 70 percent of all testing.

It’s in response to a bill supporting the “opt-out” initiative that takes direct aim at the state’s new Smarter Balanced annual assessment.

Rep. Earl Jaques (D-Glasgow), the new head of the House Education Committee, continues to make waves, calling for a new, state-of-the-art public high school in Wilmington.

Jaques asked lawmakers on the Joint Bond Bill Committee to set aside an unknown amount of money for the proposal Monday.

“If you’re going to have neighborhood schools, you need to have complete neighborhood schools so that you don’t just have it partially like we have today,” he said.

UD President Harker to leave office

Mar 3, 2015

University of Delaware President Patrick Harker is stepping down to lead Philadelphia's branch of the Federal Reserve Bank later this summer.

He announced his move in an internal university letter Monday. Harker wrote that his experience with the university has been "inspiring, invigorating and unforgettable," adding that he will work closely with UD's Board of Trustees and administration to ensure a smooth transition to the institution's new leadership.

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State lawmakers continue to extoll the importance of spending more on infrastructure projects, but have yet to present any concrete ideas on how to do that.

DelDOT Sec. Jennifer Cohan presented her capital plan before the Joint Bond Bill Committee Monday, noting a now $780 million backlog of safety and priority projects, saying "we almost have an emergency need at this point."

"It feels like Groundhog Day," said Joint Bond Bill Committee co-chair Sen. Dave Sokola (D-Newark).

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A state committee is on the verge of offering plans for a new teacher salary system.

The group has been working since July to boost starting salaries and establish “teacher leader” positions, which gives educators ways to make more money and have more responsibility without moving into management roles.

The husband of state Sen. Bethany Hall-Long (D-Middletown) turned himself in to police Thursday morning after stealing state Republican Party campaign signs.

Dana Long was processed and arraigned at the Middletown Police Department on a misdemeanor theft charge.

Republican Party activists filmed Long early Wednesday morning uprooting signs along Del. 299. He eventually drove away before officers arrived.