Delaware state senators attend first meeting of 147th General Assembly

2013 is here for the newly elected members of Delaware’s state senate.  They were called in to their first meeting of the 147th General Assembly in Dover.

The early session called by Governor Jack Markell to swear in the 13 democrat and eight republican senators, and appoint new leadership to various judicial vacancies. All were present except for Senate Minority Leader Gary Simpson.

There were a few new faces in the senate including Sen. Greg Lavelle, former minority leader in the State House of Representatives. Last week Lavelle was elected to serve as the senate minority whip during the first state senate republican caucus meeting.

Lavelle said he’s getting off to a good start on the senate side even though he’ll be working with less members of his party.

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“While there might be less senate republican members, we have a total of eight, so that actually gives us some voting influence that we didn’t have on the house side in terms of two-thirds majority and things like that,” said Lavelle. “So, that’s a good thing from a pure political aspect.”

Also making the move from house to senate is Sen. Gerald Hocker, who said he doesn’t think the party differences will prevent the senate from working together on issues.

“I’m a person that can work with most everybody and you’ve got to work to get things done,” said Hocker. “We were elected to do our job, not play party politics and that’s exactly what I intend to do.”

During the special session, senate members from both parties were in agreement on everything including the appointment of Sen. Patricia Blevins as new President Pro Tem of the state senate.

Following Blevins swearing in, her colleagues gave her a standing ovation and round of applause.

“I just want to say thank you to all of you,” said Blevins during her acceptance address. “I have great respect and admiration for each and every one of you and very much look forward to working with all of you. This is a wonderful day for me and my family.”

Members of the senate also heard from Gov. Markell’s nominees for various open judicial seats and held an executive session where they unanimously voted in favor of the appointments.

Judge Eric M. Davis of the Common Pleas Court and Chief Deputy Attorney General Charles E. Butler were selected to fill two vacancies on the Superior Court. Deputy Attorney General Paula T. Ryan was selected to fill the vacancy in family court and John Noble was reappointed to an additional 12-year term as vice chancellor of the Court of Chancery.

Additionally, the senate approved the nominations of Dawn M. Williams of the Public Defenders Office and James J. Maxwell of the Department of Justice to fill two vacancies as Family Court commissioners and the reappointment of the Honorable Lynne Parker as a Commissioner of the Superior Court.

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