Delaware state Sen. Margaret Rose Henry announces retirement

The first African American woman elected to the Delaware Senate says she will not seek reelection in 2018.

State Sen. Margaret Rose Henry, D- Wilmington East, was first elected to the General Assembly in 1994. She called the decision to retire “a decision I reached with enormous difficulty.”

Prior to her time in office, Henry worked at nonprofits that focused on the needs of children, women, seniors and working families. She’s continued to focus on those issues as a member of the Senate.

“I’ve fought against domestic violence, child abuse, and criminal justice policy that has decimated entire communities. I continue to fight for a school system that provides truly equal opportunity to all children, including thousands in Wilmington who have been failed by society time and again,” she said in a written statement.

“Many of those fights began before I came to the Senate. Each of them will continue after I leave. But after 23 years, I have decided that it’s time for me to allow others to carry these causes forward.”

One of those looking to carry the cause is Wilmington Councilman Sam Guy, D- At Large. Guy announced his plans to run for Henry’s seat just a few hours before Henry announced her decision via email. “Several years ago Senator Henry and I had a political discussion that concluded with her sharing with me that she would let me know if she decided to retire from the Delaware Senate,” Guy said in a statement. “During that conversation I let her know that I would run for the seat after, and only after, she retired.”

Henry is the second Democrat in the Senate to announce plans to retire. In August, state Sen. Brian Bushweller said he would not run for reelection in 2018. The Democrats hold a one seat majority in the Senate, a majority they’ve held for 44 years.

Republican leaders are likely salivating over the possibility of prying control away from the Democrats, but the GOP has an uphill battle in both districts. Democrats hold a registration advantage of more than two to one in Bushweller’s district in Kent County. Democrats hold a  massive ten to one advantage in Margaret Rose Henry’s Wilmington district.

Whoever takes over Henry’s district, she said she’ll still be active in the community. “I’m not leaving yet. I plan to use each day left in my term serving my district and fighting for the causes I hold dear. I will be here for you as long as I am your senator, and well after.”

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