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Delaware Senate Democrats

Senate Democrats’ statement on the passing of former Governor Ruth Ann Minner

November 4, 2021

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | November 4, 2021
Contact: Scott Goss (302) 744-4180

Delaware Senate President Pro Tempore Dave Sokola, Majority Leader Bryan Townsend, and Majority Whip Elizabeth Lockman issued the following statement today on the passing of former Governor Ruth Ann Minner:

“The passing of former Governor Ruth Ann Minner leaves each of us with a heavy heart today, along with so many Delawareans who knew her, worked alongside her, and were inspired by her truly remarkable story of triumph in the face of adversity.

Ruth Ann Minner left school as a teenager to help out on her family farm. She became a single mother when her first husband passed away suddenly and yet still managed to earn her GED while working two jobs. She built a successful business with her second husband only to be widowed again when he died of cancer. Through sheer perseverance of will, she went from being a receptionist in the Governor’s office to Delaware’s first female governor, a journey she began by winning a seat in the Delaware House specifically to change a banking law that had prevented her from getting a loan without the permission of her husband. Along the way, she also was elected as a state Senator and Lt. Governor.

As governor, she worked to reduce Delaware’s high cancer rates, helped to pass the then-controversial Clean Indoor Air Act to ban smoking in restaurants and bars, helped more than 13,000 Delawareans and counting earn a college degree by signing the SEED scholarship into law, placed reading specialists in every elementary school and math specialists in every middle school, signed full-day kindergarten into law, and fought for common-sense gun safety.

While her story was extraordinary at the time, her leadership would influence a generation of young women in Delaware, an inspiration that helped lead directly to women making up half of the Senate Democratic Caucus today.

Ruth Ann Minner is a vital figure in the history of the First State and will always hold a special place in our hearts. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family.”