The Senate Democratic Caucus elected new members Nov. 5 to all three of its leadership positions.
Taking over for long-standing President Pro Tempore David McBride who was ousted in September's primary, Sen. Dave Sokola, D-Newark, said the increase of Democrat senators by two seats for a 14-seat majority shows voters want change.
“The size and record-setting diversity of our caucus reflects the values of our communities and their growing demand for racial justice, higher wages, better schools for our children, common-sense gun reforms and greater access to affordable healthcare,” Sokola said. “They also want legislators who will work to protect the public’s health and get our state back to work.”
Moving from majority whip to Senate Majority Leader is Sen. Bryan Townsend, D-Newark, who replaces majority leader Sen. Nicole Poore, D-New Castle. Sen. Elizabeth Lockman, D-Wilmington, will serve as majority whip.
On the Senate Republican side, Sen. Gerald Hocker, R-Ocean View, will remain the minority leader, while Sen. Brian Pettyjohn, R-Georgetown, will be the minority whip, a position held by Sen. Catherine Cloutier, R-Heatherbrooke, who was ousted by Democrat challenger Kyle Evans Gay.
“I am excited to build upon the relationships established by the Republican whips before me,” Pettyjohn said. “The COVID-19 lockdowns have left Delawareans struggling. It is time to tackle this and other important issues that lie before us, and I am ready to do so in this new role. I want to be sure that all voices are heard and discussed throughout our legislative process.”
In the House, both Democrat and Republican leadership remained the same. Rep. Pete Schwartzkopf, D-Rehoboth Beach, will remain Speaker of the House, Rep. Valerie Longhurst, D-Bear remains House Majority Leader, and Rep. Larry Mitchell, D-Elsmere remains House Majority Whip.
For Republicans, Rep. Danny Short, R-Seaford, remains House Minority Leader, and Rep. Tim Dukes, R-Laurel, remains House Minority Whip.
The legislative session for the 151st General Assembly will begin Jan. 12, 2021.