No changes in state’s legislative leadership — so far

DOVER — House Democrats re-elected their leadership team from the past four years on Monday.

With very little turnover in Nov. 8’s elections, no changes have taken place for the House Democrats or Senate Republicans.

However, arguably the most important position in the General Assembly will have a new holder, with Senate President Pro Tempore Patricia Blevins of Elsmere losing last week.

Senate Democrats are expected to meet within the next week to choose a new president pro tempore. Sen. David McBride of Wilmington Manor is the current majority leader and one of the possible candidates.

In the House, Democrats on Monday re-elected Rep. Pete Schwartzkopf, who represents Rehoboth Beach, as speaker, and Rep. Valerie Longhurst of Bear as majority leader and Rep. John Viola from Newark as majority whip.

349px-Seal_of_Delaware“We have accomplished a lot for the people of Delaware during the past several years,” Rep. Schwartzkopf said in a statement. “We have invested more than $300 million to rebuild our aging infrastructure, expanded upon our landmark Clean Indoor Air Act, improved our justice system for juveniles, passed common-sense gun control laws that respect the Second Amendment and protect residents and protected women in their workplaces, doctors’ offices, homes and schools.”

The House Republicans are expected to announce their leadership team today.

While the Senate GOP caucus will be led by Minority Leader Gary Simpson of Milford and Minority Whip Greg Lavelle of Sharpley once again, they could see their positions change in a few months.

A special election will be held in February or March to fill the seat soon to be vacated by Sen. Bethany Hall-Long, D-Middletown, who was elected lieutenant governor last week. The winner of the election will control the Senate.

Should the Republicans win, they appear likely to make Sen. Simpson of Milford the new pro tem. The GOP has been in the minority for the past 44 years.

Committee assignments have not yet been announced. The 149th General Assembly begins Jan. 10.

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