Delaware House Rep. Michael Barbieri Resigns

     Rep. Barbieri announcing his resignation from the House of Representatives, effective August 3.(Courtesy Rep. Barbieri)

    Rep. Barbieri announcing his resignation from the House of Representatives, effective August 3.(Courtesy Rep. Barbieri)

    Department of Health and Social Services Secretary, Rita Landgraf, named Barbieri the new director of the Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health, effective August 4.

    After accepting a position as the new director of the Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health, Newark-area Rep. Michael Barbieri announced Monday that he will resign from the House seat he has held since 2008.

    “When I first took office, it was my hope to be able to work on legislation that helped young people and those struggling in the community. I have been very fortunate to have had some success in those areas and to have worked with very dedicated people in and outside of government who share my same feelings,” Rep. Barbieri said.

    As the of chair of the House Health and Human Development Committee, Barbieri said he feels this move is a continuation of his professional work, where he can make even more of difference.

    In 1992, he started Crossroads of Delaware, a Wilmington-based adolescent substance abuse treatment program. The center works with youth struggling with substance use and mental health issues.

    Prior to that, Rep. Barbieri worked as a probation officer in Philadelphia’s drug unit and served as executive director of Hidden Brook, a drug treatment facility in Bel Air, Md.

    Department of Health and Social Services Secretary, Rita Landgraf, named Barbieri to the position, effective August 4.

    “Mike Barbieri brings a wealth of knowledge about addiction and mental health services, and the needs of vulnerable people across our state,” Secretary Landgraf said. “With his background in social work, and substance abuse treatment and recovery services, he is the ideal person to lead this division. In addition, he will help our division continue to respond to the state’s ongoing addiction epidemic by managing increases in treatment capacity, along with reforms to public substance abuse treatment and recovery services.”

    The unusual circumstances of a representative’s resignation will require a special election to be held for the 18th District.

    According to state law, a General Assembly special election must take place between 30 and 45 days of the vacancy. There will be no primary election, parties will nominate candidates for the ballot and then hold a public vote.

    House Speaker Pete Schwartzkopf said that he expects to announce the date of the special election at the beginning of August, when the resignation becomes effective.

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