Delaware Democratic Party elects new leadership
At its state convention held May 10 in Dover, the Delaware Democratic Party elected its new officers to four-year terms.
Convention participants consisted of delegates elected from representative districts across the state who had been elected by the committeepeople of their respective representative district. The committee-people had been elected at reorganization meetings held earlier in the year.
The day opened with the over 400 delegates gathered being welcomed by Sen. Tom Carper, Sen. Chris Coons and Congressman John Carney.
The candidates for the seven offices that were considered by the convention were elected unanimously with no opposition. It was a strong showing of unity for the Delaware Democratic Party.
Chairman John D. Daniello of Brandywine Hundred, who in his two terms as party chairman oversaw a campaign operation that led the Democrats to pick up 23 seats in the General Assembly, hold all statewide offices save one and control a majority of county and local offices across the state, was re-elected to his third term as chair. Prior to his election as state chair in 2005, Daniello had served as New Castle County Democratic chair, New Castle County councilman, Delaware cabinet secretary and was the Democratic-endorsed candidate for congress in 1970. With his election Daniello becomes the second longest serving Democratic chair in the country.
Lisa Goodman of Pike Creek Hundred was elected as vice-chairwoman, taking over for former Delaware Secretary of State Harriet Smith-Windsor who had decided to step down from the committee. Goodman is a partner with the law firm of Young, Conaway, Stargatt & Taylor, LLP. Goodman has litigated on behalf of the party and has provided guidance and counsel on Delaware election laws. Goodman is also the president of Equality Delaware Inc. In that role she has worked to manage legislative campaigns for both civil unions and marriage equality.
Jim Hussey of Wilmington was reelected as vice chairman. This is Hussey’s third term as vice chairman. A Democratic committeeman for over 40 years, Hussey has worked numerous statewide and local campaigns and is an active member of the New Castle County Democratic County Party. Hussey is a retired electrician and a former officer in Local 313 of the IBEW.
Rep. Helene Keeley of Wilmington was re-elected as treasurer. This is Keeley’s second term as treasurer. Under her leadership, the party has raised thousands of dollars to benefit both incumbents and challengers in the General Assembly. She has represented the Third Representative District since 1996 and is the chair of revenue and finance committee. In addition to her numerous political positions, Keeley serves on several boards of non-profit organizations.
Linda Cavanaugh of Milford was elected secretary replacing Sen. Margaret Rose-Henry after her decision to step down from the committee. Cavanaugh began her political career as a volunteer for Carper’s 1976 campaign for state treasurer and has worked on countless campaigns since that time. She is actively involved with the United Auto Workers Retirees in Sussex County along with her husband who is past president of UAW Local 435.
Speaker Robert F. Gilligan of Mill Creek Hundred was re-elected as the national committeeman. This is Gilligan’s second term in the position. Gilligan served in the Delaware House of Representatives from 1972 to 2012 and retired with 40 years of service as the longest serving member of the Delaware General Assembly. Beginning in 1983, Gilligan continuously served in the Democratic leadership and was elected the Speaker of the House from 2008 to 2012. Gilligan has served as a representative district committeeman for 42 years.
Karen Valentine of Magnolia was reelected as national committeewoman. This is Valentine’s fourth term in the position and in her tenure she has never missed an official meeting of the Democratic National Committee. Valentine has supported many local and statewide campaigns and provided special assistance to first-time candidates. In addition to her party involvement, Valentine is active with labor movement through AFSCME, the nation's largest serving public service employee union.
Representatives of the four subdivisions that were elected at reorganization meetings held earlier this year join the newly elected officers on the committee.
Chairman Theo Gregory Sr., Treasurer Lynn Fuller, and At-Large Member Darius Brown represent the City of Wilmington on the committee.
Chairwoman Elizabeth D. Maron, Treasurer Kristin Barnekov-Short, Vice Chairman Erik Raser-Schramm, Vice Chairwoman Renee Taschner, At-Large Member J.J. Johnson and At-Large Member Jim Paoli represent New Castle County on the committee.
Chairman John Mancus, Treasurer Jody Sweeny and At-Large Member Steve Johnson represent Kent County on the committee.
Chairman Mitch Crane, Treasurer Rita Hughes and At-Large Member Carl Ballato represent Sussex County on the committee.