Sen. Gerald Hocker, R-Ocean View, took the oath of office on the Senate floor of Legislative Hall Dec, 5 to officially become the state senator representing the 20th District.
Hocker was joined by all seven of his fellow Republican senators and the rest of the Senate in what was believed to be the first time in the state’s history that the Delaware Senate was sworn in as a body.
Typically, members of the Senate are sworn in individually on the first day of the new legislative session in January. The swearing in of all 21 senators was made necessary due to the combination of the once-per-decade redistricting process and a special session called by the governor to consider several judicial nominees.
It is Hocker’s first term in the Delaware State Senate after 10 years in the House of Representatives, where he recently served as minority whip.
“It feels great. I’m excited about the new make-up of the Senate,” he said.
In his first session in the Senate, which begins Jan. 8, Hocker said he will continue his focus on bringing a business-friendly atmosphere to Delaware.
“The majority of new jobs, particularly in a small state, will come from helping small businesses to grow,” he said. “Recently we’ve done a very poor job of that. We really need to turn that around.”
Hocker knows a thing or two about small business in Delaware. His four businesses in Sussex County - G&E Supermarket, Hocker’s Super Center, Hocker’s Grocery and Deli, and G&E Hardware - employ more than 150 people.
Senate Minority Leader Gary Simpson, R-Milford, said he’s been trying for years to get his good friend to join him in the Senate. The two graduated together from the University of Delaware.
“Senator Hocker certainly has expertise in dealing with small business, taxation and natural resources,” he said. “He’ll just be a great voice for us to have in the caucus.”
Hocker will take part in the ceremonial swearing-in at Legislative Hall Jan. 8. He will be joined by his wife, Emily, sons Gerry Jr. and Gregory, and daughters Shelley Pszczola, Melissa Willey and Beth Ann Cahall. He also has nine grandchildren.