Carney, Hall-Long take the reins in Delaware

Delaware State News photos/Marc Clery

DOVER — “Is it raining out? I feel the sun shining in my heart.”

Undaunted by the weather, John C. Carney was sworn in as the 74th governor of Delaware Tuesday, with dignitaries and members of the public from across the state in attendance.

He was joined by Bethany Hall-Long, who was inaugurated as lieutenant governor. Gov. Carney replaces term-limited Gov. Jack Markell, while Lt. Gov. Hall-Long fills an office that has been vacant for the past two years after Matt Denn was elected attorney general.

They are the fourth consecutive Democratic duo to be elected governor and lieutenant governor.

It was a chilly morning in Dover, and the sky opened up shortly before the official ceremony began at 11 a.m., but the weather could not wipe the smiles off Gov. Carney and Lt. Gov. Hall-Long’s faces — even though the two inaugural addresses focused on challenges confronting Delawareans.

“We’ve heard a lot recently about change, that our economy is changing, that we’re competing with the rest of the world and that technology challenges us to keep our sights on human progress, that our kids need to be better prepared for a future unlike our past and unlike even our present, that our safety and security are challenged in new ways and require new solutions and working together,” Gov. Carney said.

“Change is the new normal for our world, our country and our state, but we should also remember today that some things haven’t changed, and they should never change. The American Dream, the Delaware Way in its most valuable and most valued expression.”

The two newly sworn-in officials were joined at the top of the steps on the east side of Legislative Hall, where the inauguration was held, by outgoing Gov. Markell and former Govs. Tom Carper and Ruth Ann Minner, among others.

The oath of office was administered by Chief Justice Leo Strine to Gov. Carney, who was joined by his mother, wife and two sons. Justice James Vaughn Jr. gave the oath to Lt. Gov. Hall-Long, who stood alongside her husband and son.

“Our friends, our neighbors, our veterans. Those who struggle with mental health and those battling addiction. The countless number of people who just feel like they don’t always have a fair shake with government,” Lt. Gov. Hall-Long said.

“We know we are undoubtedly at a crossroads in our state’s future. The good news, because we have good news, is that Delaware is filled with many talented and dedicated people that will help us tackle and solve those challenges.”

Gov. Markell has spoken positively about Gov. Carney, saying he is well prepared to help guide the state.

Tuesday, Gov. Carney said he hopes to immediately get to work on improving Delaware’s economy.

He will sign his first executive order today, one that relates to creating a public-private partnership to bolster job creation. He also has his eyes on the state’s budget crunch and has plans to revamp the Department of Education to make Delaware’s education system less centralized.

Locking state employees into a Health Savings Account is a possibility, he told reporters after the ceremony.

“People need to have some skin in the game, some kind of way so that there’s more incentive to better utilize health care services,” Gov. Carney said. “At the same type, there’s got to be better incentives on the provider side.”

He will attend the presidential inauguration of Donald Trump Friday along with Republican state Sen. Colin Bonini, the GOP nominee for governor in 2016.

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