It’s time to get down to business. Delaware’s 147th General Assembly is officially underway. House members were sworn into office during a jam-packed ceremony in the House Chamber in Dover’s Legislative Hall.
Family and friends gathered to witness and take pictures of new comers and returning lawmakers take their official oath of office. The ceremony kicked-off with the Pledge of Allegiance led by Speaker of House Pete Schwartzkopf’s grandson.
Speaker Schwartzkopf, who was re-elected to lead his ruling democratic caucus, received full house support during the full house vote.
Tuesday’s ceremony also included a history making event. Majority Whip John Viola and newly elected Representative Andria L. Bennett were sworn-in together as the first father and daughter ever elected to serve in the house at the same time. Bennett is among 9 first-time elected representatives serving in the General Assembly. A Bennett had been representing the 32nd House District in the last legislative session. Brad Bennett resigned after his second DUI conviction. His wife won the seat after facing opponents in both the primary and general elections.
The first order of business for the freshmen and their seasoned colleagues is coming with a state budget. Schwartzkopf is hopeful that could be accomplished. Republican Representative Ruth Briggs King shares some of that optimism but recognizes it’s going to take compromise.
Before the close of this season, Senators Townsend and Lopez joined the ceremony to declare the Senate was organized and ready for business as well.