Delaware lawmaker charged with DUI decides not to seek re-election

A state lawmaker tearfully addresses his colleagues in Dover, weeks after his second DUI arrest.

State Representative Brad Bennett (D-Dover) announced he would not seek reelection this year and will continue his course of treatment.

“I have learned of a disease that like cancer needs to be treated daily lest it consume your life, your ability to make  right choices, and the happiness of your family,” Bennett said at the opening of Tuesday’s session of the House of Representatives. “In the end, however, there is no magic pill.”

Bennett was arrested in April in Wilmington, where he was also accused of sideswiping a police vehicle and leaving the scene of an accident. He also was charged with DUI in Sussex County in 2010.

“Those of us elected to public service are held to a higher standard in our daily lives,” Bennett said Tuesday.  “As a result of my actions confidence in me has been questioned.  For that I am sorry.  I ask those citizens and you, my colleagues, for forgiveness.

Bennett also said he has been undergoing treatment locally and out-of-state for approximately 50 days.

“I think he made the right decision, absolutely,” State House Speaker Robert Gilligan (D-Sherwood Park) said. Majority Whip Valerie Longhurst (D-Bear) said what Bennett did took “courage.” 

A House Ethics Committee meeting will still be held to examine Bennett’s case, according to House Majority Leader Pete Schwartzkopf (D-Rehoboth Beach). Possible recommendations could include censure, suspension or expulsion. It also could recommend no disciplinary action.

Bennett has represented the Dover area’s 32nd House District since 2008. The filing deadline is in July for any additional candidates to come forward and run in this fall’s election.

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