Delaware Treasurer cites race, his legacy, and new beginning on last day in office

Chip Flowers took his last full day in office to highlight his accomplishments as state treasurer, the controversy over his Alaska trip and Delaware race relations.

For 20 minutes, Flowers read a prepared statement with his wife Megan by his side. Without calling out anyone by name, he lashed out at his former deputy Erika Benner and the circumstances surrounding a 2012 conference in Alaska. He said race was used as a weapon during the investigation. 

He accused the News Journal of “wrongfully promoting the African-American stealing stereotype” in articles reporting on that investigation. He said in the end a state auditor’s review found that the only thing he did wrong was a failure to sign a travel approval form.

Delaware race relations in 2014

Flowers charged that state leaders did not speak out in support of him.  “We can’t just turn the page on this disgraceful chapter in race relations in our state history,” he said. “This didn’t happen in 1964 in a southern state, this happened in 2014 in Delaware.”

He said the investigation was handled as a vendetta against him. “Some even encouraged it and had the attitude that ‘this is what he deserves because he challenged us,'” Flowers said.  He said that because of what happened to him, he would hope the next African-American politician would be allowed “to just do his job without the burden of stereotypes.”

Simpler, one party rule, Flowers’ legacy

Flowers congratulated incoming treasurer, Ken Simpler, who takes over on Tuesday.  “I am proud to leave this office in his care, and restore balance in a political system that I personally believe was very much needed,” he said.

He said that his actions to modernize the treasury and increase returns by $55 million leaves the office in better shape for Simpler.

Flowers now heads to his new home in Massachusetts. He said that he plans to re-enter political life as a Democrat there.  

He said his final legacy to Delaware will be to set up a website to archive his work and serve as “a road map for those who seek to serve the people.”

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