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People to Watch: Chris Kenny

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Chris Kenny speaks with his grocery store team | PHOTOS COURTESY OF KENNY FAMILY SHOPRITES

Chris Kenny
President & CEO, Kenny Family ShopRites of Delaware

Chris Kenny, the leader of one of Delaware’s top grocery store chains and a well-known philanthropist, became a bit more of a jack-of-all-trades in 2020.

Early into the pandemic, he entered the state’s media industry by founding Delaware Live, a free online statewide outlet that aims to compete with the legacy News Journal brand, even hiring some of its former staffers.

Kenny has touted Delaware Live’s locally-owned bonafides as a strength while the outlet claimed that “national news outlets push national narratives on their own community.” Delaware Live grew through the summer after acquiring hyper-local news sites like Milford Live, Town Square Delaware and 302 Sports.

Kenny’s ambitions didn’t stop with the media. He gained notoriety for donating large sums of money in the 2020 election to support Delaware’s Republican state legislators, primarily through indirect political action committees. He dismissed speculation that he may seek the Republican gubernatorial nomination and didn’t seek public office.

He’s likely to play a role in the debate in the Delaware General Assembly next year though, even if indirectly. His 2-year-old political advocacy organization A Better Delaware has already been sounding the alarm about legislation seeking to increase the state’s minimum wage, calling it a “job killer.” With Democrats now holding a supermajority in the State Senate, more progressive proposals are likely to be heard in Dover, and Kenny’s A Better Delaware will likely be there to ensure opposing voices are heard.

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