Smyrna’s Sen. Bruce Ennis will retire after current term

Charlie Megginson Government, Headlines

a man wearing a suit and tie


State Sen. Bruce Ennis will retire at the end of his term in November after spending forty years in the General Assembly.

Ennis, a Democrat from Smyrna, said he would be stepping down in order to spend more time with his family.

“Serving in the Delaware General Assembly has been a great privilege and honor that I will cherish,” Ennis said. “Knowing that the people placed their faith in me to represent their interests in so many different ways, on so many important issues, is both humbling and gratifying.” 

After graduating from John Bassett Moore High School, Ennis joined the Delaware Air National Guard where he rose to the rank of sergeant. He would go on to spent 20 years as a Delaware State Police Trooper, retiring in 1982 at the rank of staff captain.

First elected to the Delaware House of Representatives in 1982, Ennis succeeded the late Speaker of the House Robert W. Riddagh. He won re-election to the seat 12 times. 

He then transitioned to the Delaware Senate after winning a 2007 special election to succeed the late James T. Vaughn, Sr. The voters of the 14th District re-elected Ennis to that seat four times. 

Ennis is also a life member of Citizens’ Hose Company in Smyrna, where he has served as Fire Chief, President, and numerous other administrative and line officer roles throughout the past 63 years. 

Widely regarded as one of the General Assembly’s strongest advocates for first responders, veterans and state pensioners, Ennis’s legislative accomplishments include his central role in the creation of Delaware’s modern emergency response and statewide paramedic systems. 

During his lengthy career, he also sponsored legislation that created a statewide paramedic program, instituted an inclusive statewide trauma system, improved Delaware’s EMS operations, upgraded emergency communications, initiated the state’s “Gold Alert” system and placed flashing lights on the back of school buses.

He also has been a champion for Delaware’s open spaces, farm families, manufactured housing residents, outdoorsmen and its horse-racing industry. 

“Bruce Ennis is one of the most honorable and kind-hearted people I have had the honor to serve alongside here in the Delaware General Assembly,” Senate President Pro Tempore David Sokola, D-Newark, said. “His generosity and dedication to his constituents are as legendary in this building as his unwavering commitment to the public and the small-town way of life he has worked so hard to preserve in Kent County.” 

Sen. Nicole Poore, D-New Castle, said Ennis will be deeply missed by his colleagues and the people of Delaware alike. 

“Bruce is a friend to all, regardless of party affiliation or address,” she said. “What he cares about is you as a person, is your family well and what he can do to help. His retirement will be a loss to all of us who have come to depend on his advice and guidance, but a well-deserved reward for him and his family.” 

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