The House Democratic Caucus selected Reps. Robert F. Gilligan, Sherwood Park; Peter C. Schwartzkopf, Rehoboth; and Valerie J. Longhurst, Bear, to continue serving as the caucus’ leadership for the upcoming legislative session at a meeting Nov. 16.

 


The House Democratic Caucus selected Reps. Robert F. Gilligan, Sherwood Park; Peter C. Schwartzkopf, Rehoboth; and Valerie J. Longhurst, Bear, to continue serving as the caucus’ leadership for the upcoming legislative session at a meeting Nov. 16.
 
During the standard post-election organizational meeting, Gilligan, Schwartzkopf and Longhurst were chosen to serve as speaker, majority leader and majority whip, the same respective positions they held during the 145th General Assembly. Although he was chosen by the caucus, Gilligan must be confirmed as speaker by the entire House of Representatives.
 
The Delaware House of Representatives was the only state House in the country to gain Democratic seats in the Nov. 2 election, and one of only five state legislative chambers where Democrats picked up seats – the state Senates in Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania are the others, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Democrats gained two seats and now hold a 26-15 majority in the 41-member Delaware House.
 
“Voters throughout Delaware spoke clearly that they understood the historic challenges we faced as a state and approved of the manner in which Democrats addressed these challenges head-on,” Gilligan said. “We are honored to continue serving our constituents and will continue addressing the issues that are important to Delawareans—creating jobs, growing our economy, educating our children and protecting the rights of all residents.”
 
During the meeting, the caucus also discussed the committee process and submitted committee requests for the upcoming session. Committee assignments and chairs will be announced at a later date.
 
Incumbent representatives also welcomed four new members to the Democratic Caucus, Reps. Stephanie T. Bolden, Wilmington; Debra Heffernan, Brandywine Hundred South; Edward Osienski, Beecher's Lot; and Rebecca D. Walker, Middletown. Although these Democratic freshmen will not be formally sworn in to office until next year, by state law they already have begun their terms and are officially state representatives.

The Senate Republicans are the only other caucus that's chosen their leadership for next session, reelecting Minority Leader Sen. F. Gary Simpson, Milford, and Minority Whip Sen. Liane Sorenson, Hockessin.

House Republicans will meet to choose leaders on Dec. 7. Senate Democrats have not yet announced when they will be electing thier leaders.

The 146th General Assembly session will convene on January 11, 2011.