DelawareLiberal Interviews Karen Weldin Stewart

Filed in Delaware by on October 8, 2008

Karen Weldin Stewart was kind enough to sit down with DelawareDem and Pandora on Monday afternoon and answer some questions about her candidacy.

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  1. DEwind: The Week That Was October 6th | October 13, 2008
  1. liberalgeek says:

    OK, my editing sucks. Who the hell is in charge of quality control around here!?!?!

  2. John Kowalko says:

    I just want to weigh in here if no one minds. In my scores of visits to the Wilmington Carvel State building where our new castle county State offices are located, I’ve often encountered Karen at the front desk where she was stationed as a paid and/or unpaid worker for the Dem. Senate and McDowell. I related some of this story just recently at the UAW Region 8 Women’s Conference that I recently spoke at. I have seldom seen as dedicated a constituent server as Karen. On innumerable occasions we would go over SB177 (the single payer bill that McDowell and I are on) looking to answer queries and concerns that people might have with the bill. Karen would often update me with the info she had gathered from one of her out of state sources promoting similar bills or having a specific knowledge of portions of it. I would drop off a question or needed interpretation and the next time in Karen would have the answer. But this is not what struck me about a person obviously doing her job well. What impressed me every time was Karen’s dedication and compassion for those people who would call with a myriad of problems ranging from not having health care, to utility shut-offs, to foreclosure, to not being able to afford to clothe their children for school. Karen would stop me at the door and say “Representative Kowalko could you give me someone at ACORN or Delmarva or the AG’s office that I can call to help this person” (usually on the phone desperate for advice). Then she would say I’ve tried everywhere and there must be something we can do to get them help. Even as she embarked on her campaign I would remark that maybe she could get someone else to make those calls or get those answers and every single time Karen would say no there has to be something we can do. We would then spend time we didn’t have trying to do something. Karen Weldin Stewart is a genuinely compassionate and concerned person who will not turn her back on those most in need. Her enthusiasm to help people still inspires me to work harder since I realized that here was a staffer more dedicated than many elected public servants to helping people. In fact she is one of the most knowledgeable and intelligent people I’ve encountered in public service. Anyhow , my apologies for being long-winded but Karen has earned every word I’ve written here and more.
    John Kowalko

  3. pandora says:

    I was very impressed with KWS, especially when it came to healthcare and how the insurance industry works… or doesn’t work. If you listen to the interview, she answered every question thoroughly and without hesitation.

  4. liberalgeek says:

    Thanks, John. That is some good info. I have been a little skittish on KWS since I learned of her involvement with Harris, but honestly, you carry more weight in my book than McDowell.

  5. anon says:

    Karen Weldin Stewart does not support SB 177. She claimed McDowell asked her to “look into it”, but she stated she spent her time investigating “other” solutions.

    Since we are now in a financial debacle, single payer will be the solution the State of Delaware finds itself forced to look at more closely.

    John, are you saying that Stewart is now supporting single payer or what?

  6. jason330 says:

    Cuts out after 11 seconds and then comes back after 30ish.

    John those comments really do help. Thanks.

  7. delawaredem says:

    I think we have a generally bad opinion on McDowell through his obstruction of Bluewater Wind, and that is deserved. He was wrong there and he used the typical backroom Delaware tactics to try to derail it.

    But on the healthcare and housing issues KWS worked on with McDowell, I don’t see a problem. Indeed, as I researched in preparation for this interview, I was surprised at McDowell’s involvement with SB 177, and I garnered new respect for him about that. In does not take away my opposition to him on Bluewater Wind, but it reminds me that he is not all bad.

    And LG, your editing is fine. It is my interviewing skills that suck.

  8. delawaredem says:


    none of the interview is cut out, it is just a 20 second silent delay.

  9. jason330 says:

    Yes. I meant “cuts out”

  10. delawaredem says:


    She wrote the bill. Literally, her initials are on it. But you are saying she does not support it? No, what she said was in reality it will probably not pass. She said that in the interview. So she will work on other measures to bring universal healthcare to Delaware.

  11. delawaredem says:


    I suggest you listen to the interview. She talks about this.

  12. jason330 says:

    Good work. I have to say that she made some headway with me.

  13. delawaredem says:

    I think she is more than qualified. Trust me, I had a negative view about her as a perennial candidate going into the interview. But in prepping for the interview, and from her answers, she made a lot of head way with me too.

  14. R Smitty says:

    OK…don’t dismiss this upfront. It’s a point of curiosity. Was there mention of her Wanamaker’s gig in Philly, back in the ’60’s? I ask, because a while back, Maria Evans had Karen Weldin Stewart on air and she discussed her life’s resume. Karen spoke about her gig at the Wanamaker’s in Philly, which included running multiple departments.

    My point of curiosity is, if she is 60 NOW, then that means she was anywhere from 12-21 while doing all of those accomplished things. This is the comment-thread link that hashes that out.

    Again, not trying to be a partisan playa here, but trying to figure the math.

    While very possible, it seems very ambitious for someone that young (obviously, I am leaning to this having happened in the late-60’s). Again, yes, it’s possible, but kind of odd, especially with the still male-dominated frame of mind still prevalent in the late-60’s.

  15. pandora says:

    No mention of Wanamaker’s.

  16. R Smitty says:

    I fixed the link, BTW. I had screwed it up somehow, but it’s working now.

  17. nemski says:

    20 seconds of silence. When did Rose Woods start working for DL?

  18. pandora says:

    Clever, nemski. 🙂

  19. nemski says:

    Just listened to the whole post and I feel I got some learning in me. Thanks everyone.

  20. John Kowalko says:

    I can’t answer for Karen but when you look at any plan, especially as complex as single payer universal health care, you better be devil advocating in your scrutiny of the real or imagined weaknesses. I was asking Karen some serious questions that were or would be raised as we moved forward and she was diligent in researching the proposal and objections to the proposal. One important fact to recognize in the context of politics is that if you fail to anticipate even the most seemingly insignificant objection it could be used to politically distract from the basic importance and intent of the legislation. If Karen doubted that SB177 could pass as written then her reasons for doubting it were of paramount importance to the discussion to enable crafting the argument for passage by addressing the concerns honestly. Karen handled a difficult task with the objectivity necessary to move single payer to the next level of discussion.
    John Kowalko

  21. Joanne Christian says:

    Well done and informative. I can no way-no how get behind single payor though, and what it will do to health care. I know you say she only wrote, and she only investigated…but it’s too slippery of a slope when she is the party girl that she is. No doubt she may have done some incredible things for people (nod to John Kowalko), but this is policy…and bad policy…but bad policy many Dems want. I can’t take the chance of risking profound policy to political persuasion. Additionally, the whole driving age was passe–no real “teeth” to use the oft quoted word. Not real thought through. She did much better than I thought…but my thinkin’ is to pass. This is too great of a policy area for that amount of entrenchment. Heck..John Brady admits being a D, having had to switch to R for the legislative job along time ago–that was easy–and has me feeling better about priortization. I do not want to repeat the same ‘ol, same ol, in Dover this year–and you guys have already set the tone w/ Markell.

  22. Gabriel says:

    Practically every single statement about Karen Weldin Stewart’s background in her campaign literature is false. She was never a VP of any Fortune 500 company. She is not and never has been a business owner and has never met a payroll and paid business taxes as she claims. Her “Weldin Group” is a group of one, she herself and no one else. Her “business” address is actually her home. She has never taken over “20 insolvent insurance companies” as “virtual CEO”. While she may have held the title of deputy receiver at some time in the distant past and had some other insurance experience, her role was mostly at an administrative level, sending collection notices to the insolvent companies’ reinsurers. During most of the years between 1999 and the very recent past, when she managed to obtain the patronage job of “legislative aide”, Stewart was either unemployed or worked in retail stores as a clerk. She can’t speak without a prepared script and writes like a first-grader. No way could she have authored any legislation as she claims, and no way whatsoever is Stewart qualified to manage and regulate the insurance affairs of the State of Delaware. A win for her would be a disaster for Delawareans. Vote for John Brady!

  23. nemski says:

    Interesting Gabriel. Why nothing positive to say about Brady?

  24. Gabriel says:

    Nemski….the answer is: “John Brady doesn’t lie.” Enough said.

  25. pandora says:

    Gabriel, them’s a lot of accusations. Proof?

  26. Gabriel says:

    Pandora, ask for her income tax returns. That will be all the proof you need.

  27. Joanne Christian says:

    Uh Oh–DeLib, I’m counting on you…

  28. delawaredem says:

    Joanne…it is up to Gabriel to provide proof of his accusations. It is not up to us to prove it for him. God, either you Rethugs are a lazy bunch, refusing to do your own homework, or you all are just liars. If there is something to your accusations, you would have the tax returns yourself. But no.

  29. RSmitty says:

    Yeah, you you you rethugs you. So there!

  30. Gabriel says:

    Clearly, you people are not interested in preventing Stewart, the totally unqualified Democrat winner of the IC primary that she only won because she lied about her background from also being elected to office. And why? Because the alternative would be a win for John Brady, a Republican. Oh no….we can’t have that. Never mind that he is what he says he is and tends to lean more to the left than the right. Don’t think for a minute that if Stewart wins the IC office, she won’t continue to lie whenever she needs to so she can maintain her position. Another dishonest, self-serving politician is not what the people of Delaware need.

  31. pandora says:

    Gabriel, asking you to prove the accusations you made is not partisan. You threw these claims into the ring, now back them up.

  32. Joanne Christian says:

    delawaredem you are right(or should I say left?). I’m sorry. I meant “counting on you” in the terms of your alarm signal going off w/ the pointed accusation gabriel makes, that would set your own investigative curiosity in gear. It really was a compliment to the DL fact finding skills. But you guys are the experts and it’s your site, so maybe your experience has told you to leave those new posters alone. With all due respect–I still count on you–whatever you choose to follow up on. Thanks.

  33. Disbelief says:

    Statements that are unverifiable are deemed misleading. Stewart is very careful about posting her resume (she stated in the Maria Evans interview that her resume is unavailable). Phrases such as “virtual CEO” and claims of running Wanamakers when she was a teenager are, to say the least, misleading. Stating that she is ‘certified’ in some arcane and insignificant area of insurance, when her own organization is the body that provided the ‘certification’ is garbage.

    If geek wants to interview Brady, at least he’ll get a real resume and not a bunch of self-created fiction.

  34. RSmitty says:

    I’m glad Disbelief came into this, as Dis has shown in the past to be non-partisan. Pain in the ass at times? Hell yeah, but partisan, not particularly (at least once you get the whole story).

    What’s interesting is that this thread was dropped cold after Dis’ input.

  35. Jerry says:

    Has Karen Weldin-Stewart posted a resume so we can verify any of this stuff? Her “professional associations” on her website are not very detailed. It would be nice to have the info, so we can make a choice at the ballot box.

  36. Geezer says:

    “If there is something to your accusations, you would have the tax returns yourself.”

    I thought you were a lawyer. How would a private citizen get the tax returns of another private citizen?

    Lots of people suspect Mike Protack has lied about his campaign finances, as he has supposedly raised tens of thousands of dollars with no more than a handful of donations at the $100 reporting threshhold. Nobody has proved it, but some claims require way too much suspension of disbelief.

    So it is with KWS. It’s not up to opponents to dig up her real resume; it’s up to her to release an honest one of her own.

  37. Lissadell says:

    Geezer, I hope you’re not holding your breath for Karen Weldin Stewart to produce an honest resume. If she did, she would be out of the running so fast and people would just laugh at her. I’ve known her for about 20 years. She is a joke. Can’t speak, can’t write, no education, no good job experience, but ambitious and greedy and knows how to talk a good line. Too bad people seem to buy it without wanting to make sure it’s the truth. And believe me, it’s not.

  38. anon says:

    Karen Weldin Stewart did not write the bill, SB 177, every word in that bill was written by Dr Floyd McDowell. Lets be clear here!

    In fact, when the legislative aid sat down with Dr. McDowell and John Flagherty, he said, “there is not one word that needs to be changed”. Thats a fact.

    Let’s hope now that the State is in such dire financial straights, the legislature will hold hearings on that bill in the beginning of the session. We can no longer tinker around with garbage and trying to fix a broken health care system in Delaware. SB 177 has been nationally peer reviewed and has the support the of the nations largest physicans group:

    Doctors are leaving Delaware we have massive shortage. Why? Because they cannot pay the millions of dollars of malpractice insurance imposed on them by the “insurance companies”. Malpractice insurance is never needed in a single payer bill which will draw more doctors, and health care professionals to Delaware.

    The prison contract is $26 million dollars, Del Psych Center and community programs are broke and patients are not receiving the health care they need. There is no dental care for these individuals either in group homes or institutions. They are pulling out their teeth without giving dentures. These are quality of life issues that must be addessed in the State legislature. Hold a hearing on SB 177 and lets get on the right page. If Karen Weldin Stewart is now supporting SB 177 thats a good thing.