Delaware State Sen. Karen Peterson to retire

Peterson will step down from office after 14 years of what she calls “the most challenging and rewarding years of my life.”


State Sen. Karen Peterson, a Democrat representing the Stanton area, surprised many Tuesday afternoon when she announced that she would not seek re-election this November. Peterson has spent 14 years in the Senate after working for 28 years with the Delaware Department of Labor. “Legislative Hall has been like a second home to me for nearly 50 years,” Peterson said. “I will miss it, but I will especially miss the peopel who work here.” 

A progressive Demcorat, Peterson led the charge for equal rights. Peterson made history during the debate over marriage equality, as she publicly came out as a lesbian, becoming the first open lesbian to serve in the state Senate. Peterson and her wife Vicki were the first same-sex couple to marry after the state legalized same-sex marriage in 2013.

“Vicki was by my side 14 years ago when I announced my candidacy for the 9th District Senate seat and I wanted her here today with me as I announce my retirement,” Peterson said Tuesday afternoon. 

Governor Jack Markell called the news of Peterson’s retirement bittersweet. “While I’m incredibly proud to have had the opportunity to work with her during my time as Governor, I’m sad to be losing such an important voice and public servant in the Senate and in Delaware.”

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