WILMINGTON - Senate Majority Leader Margaret Rose Henry, D-Wilmington East, released the following statement Thursday:
“In 1994, I became the first woman of color elected to the Delaware State Senate. I had never been a politician before—my career had been spent in nonprofits that focused on the needs of children, women, seniors, and working families. I had been shaped by my childhood in Rayne, Louisiana, a town where the median family income is less than half of Delaware’s. I was shaped by my experience as a black woman in the workforce and as a divorced mother raising two children. I was shaped by what I saw average people go through when society left them behind.
I came to public service because I had seen firsthand what it meant to be in poverty. I knew what it was to live on the margins of society. I wanted to be a fighter for people who couldn’t make their voices heard. It’s never been easy, but I’ve been steadfast in the fight for women’s rights, affordable housing, coverage for mental health and prescription drugs, child support, compassionate drug policy and tax policy that supports the working class. I’ve fought against domestic violence, child abuse, and criminal justice policy that has decimated entire communities. I continue to fight for a school system that provides truly equal opportunity to all children, including thousands in Wilmington who have been failed by society time and again.
Many of those fights began before I came to the Senate. Each of them will continue after I leave. But after 23 years, I have decided that it’s time for me to allow others to carry these causes forward. For that reason, I will not be seeking re-election in 2018.
This was a decision I reached with enormous difficulty. I’ve spent my life working on behalf of other people, and I’ve treasured that work. But, since joining the Senate I’ve become a grandmother, and my time with my family becomes more precious with each passing year. And I’ve seen the growth of a generation of leaders who give me hope for a brighter future. It’s time to allow them to lead.
A final note to my constituents and neighbors: I’m not leaving yet. I plan to use each day left in my term serving my district and fighting for the causes I hold dear. I will be here for you as long as I am your senator, and well after. I am grateful beyond words for your support and friendship over the years. Thank you.”