Delaware’s 152nd General Assembly officially began Tuesday, as Delaware’s 62 representatives and senators were sworn into office in what is the most diverse legislature yet.
“We’re finally looking like Delaware’s population,” said Rep. DeShanna Neal, D-Wilmington. The first nonbinary and first Buddhist to serve in Delaware’s legislature, they are starting their first year in office.
“One of the most amazing parts of being elected for the first time was being at the polls and seeing little Black and Brown girls coming up to me knowing this is something they can achieve too,” they said.
In the first meeting of the House, several representatives from both sides of the aisle talked about unity, community and leadership in regard to their duty in the state legislature.
“It’s a pleasure to be working in one of the most inclusive, not just diverse but inclusive, bodies that we’ve had in the state of Delaware and perhaps even in the nation,” said Rep. Ruth Briggs King, R-Georgetown, to the 40 other representatives and their respective family and friends in the House Chamber.
“What we’re doing here is the work of the people,” she continued. “It’s not the legislation we pass or the legislation we stop, it’s what we do each and every day in our district for that person that has the smallest need or the biggest concern.”
Plans for General Assembly
Rep. Eric Morrison, D-Glasgow, pointed out that just two years ago, the General Assembly had zero legislators who were in the LGBTQ+ community in its 244-year history.
Since then, it has added five members who are in that community, which Morrison called a historic feat.
Neal said her goals as a first-year lawmaker is to make education and healthcare as affordable, accessible and inclusive as possible, especially for underserved families in the city.
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Others are focused on creating better economic opportunities for Delaware’s residents.
Rep. Ron Gray, R-Selbyville, said that during this session, he’ll work for small business legislation to help stimulate the economy in this time of recession.
He’s already working on a bill to reduce fees for small business licensing.
Gray joked that he’d love to see the bill revived that would allow residents to get wine shipments delivered to their house.
That bill never reached the House floor in the 151st General Assembly in 2022.
“But just in general, I think just in general, I want to see us work cohesively as a group and my biggest thing is working with the constituents in my community everyday,” Gray said.
Raised in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, Jarek earned a B.A. in journalism and a B.A. in political science from Temple University in 2021. After running CNN’s Michael Smerconish’s YouTube channel, Jarek became a reporter for the Bucks County Herald before joining Delaware LIVE News.
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