Rep. Mulrooney, House Labor panel chairman, retiring

Mike Mulrooney

DOVER — One of the longest serving members of the House of Representatives is retiring. Rep. Mike Mulrooney, a Wilmington Manor Democrat from the 16th Representative District, announced Tuesday he will not seek reelection.

He joins the exodus of 2018: Largely through coincidence, 12 of the General Assembly’s 62 seats will be open this fall.

Rep. Mulrooney was first elected in 1998. Among the House’s 41 current members, only House Minority Whip Deborah Hudson, a Hockessin Republican, has been in the chamber longer.

“I’ve been fortunate to serve my community in the General Assembly for 20 years. During that time, I have fought for better wages and benefits for working families, to protect our environment and to make sure Delaware is a place where people can get good-paying job and raise a family,” Rep. Mulrooney, 62, said in a statement.

“I’ve enjoyed learning a lot about different issues up and down the state throughout the years. We’ve made a positive impact on residents in every corner of the state, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to be a part of that.

“I’m definitely going to miss the people — both in Legislative Hall and the residents I’ve represented — but the timing was right for me and my family to move on to the next chapter of our lives.”

Rep. Mulrooney is the chair of the House Labor Committee and has sat on the Joint Committee on Capital Improvement, which crafts the annual spending plan for road, bridge and building construction, for at least a decade, making him its longest tenured member.

A former electrician and a 40-year member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 313, he currently works as an electrical trades instructor and training specialist at the Delaware Skills Center in the New Castle County Vo-Tech School District.

He has introduced over the years a number of bills relating to unions and collective bargaining.

Rep. Mulrooney filed to run for reelection in April, just a few days after Democrat Melissa Minor-Brown. While his retirement means there is currently no primary set for the 17th Representative District, someone could jump in before the July 10 deadline. No Republican has filed.

Rep. Mulrooney did not face an opponent in 2016 or 2014.

Delaware Democratic Party Chairman Erik Raser-Schramm in a statement applauded the outgoing representative, calling him “one of the General Assembly’s leading champions for Delaware’s working class.”

Also retiring this year are Reps. Melanie George Smith, a Bear Democrat; Harvey Kenton, a Milford Republican; Bryon Short, a Highland Woods Democrat; J.J. Johnson, a New Castle Democrat; Joe Miro, a Pike Creek Valley Republican; and Bobby Outten, a Harrington Republican, as well as Senate Majority Leader Margaret Rose Henry, a Wilmington Democrat; Senate Minority Leader Gary Simpson, a Milford Republican; and Sen. Brian Bushweller, a Dover Democrat.

Reps. Trey Paradee, a Cheswold Democrat, and Dave Wilson, a Bridgeville Republican, are also seeking Senate seats.

2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 combined saw nine legislators leave the General Assembly, with five of those being defeated in re-election bids.

The 17th Representative District has about 9,900 registered Democrats, 2,600 registered Republicans and 3,700 unaffiliated voters. It covers parts of New Castle, Newport and Wilmington Manor.

Staff writer Matt Bittle can be reached at 741-8250 or mbittle@newszap.com. Follow @MatthewCBittle on Twitter.

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