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Delaware Senate gets new leadership

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DOVER – The state’s Democratic and Republican caucuses have selected their leadership following the primary and general election losses of several incumbents this year, including the appointment of State Sen. David Sokola (D-Newark/Hockessin) as the next Senate president pro tempore, the top seat.

The top seat needed to be filled after longtime incumbent David McBride lost his re-election bid in his primary race to Marie Pinkney.

Meanwhile, State Sen. Bryan Townsend (D-Newark/Bear) has been promoted to Senate majority leader from whip, with Sen. Elizabeth “Tizzy” Lockman (Wilmington) filling Townsend’s old position.

State Sen. Gerald Hocker (R-Ocean View) will continue to serve as Senate minority leader while Sen. Brian Pettyjohn (R-Georgetown) will take over as minority whip after Cathy Cloutier lost her re-election bid.

In the state House of Representatives, the leadership remains unchanged. Pete Schwartzkopf (D-Rehoboth Beach) will serve as House speaker, while Valie Longhurst (D-Bear) will serve as majority leader and Rep. Larry Mitchell (D-Elsmere) will serve as majority whip. On the other side of the aisle, Danny Short (R-Seaford) will serve as minority leader and Tim Dukes (R-Laurel) will serve as minority whip.

Committee assignments are expected to be announced before the end of the year. Both the Republican and Democratic chairs of the Joint Finance Committee, which prepares the state’s budget, need to be filled due to retirements. Sokola’s promotion to the top Senate seat also means there will likely be a new Senate Bond/Capital Improvement Committee chair.

By Jacob Owens


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