Delaware’s First Female Governor

Delaware’s first female governor was elected in 2000. She had secured the Democratic nomination after her long years in the General Assembly, as Lieutenant Governor and her demonstrated ability to run a campaign by her large statewide victory margins in 1992 and 1996. Minner took office upon the resignation of Governor Thomas R. Carper on January 3, 2001 after he was elected to a seat in the U.S. Senate. Upon completing the unexpired term, Minner began her first full term on January 16, 2001. She served as the first female President of the Council of State Governments in 2005.

Minner was Delaware’s fourth consecutive two-term governor and largely continued the business-oriented policies and bipartisan, consensus style begun by her Republican predecessor, Pierre S. du Pont, IV. She was usually described as a “middle-of-the-road politician, with conservative fiscal views but progressive social policies.]

Regarding education, she said, “While it might be popular, it is not demanding to set standards that all students can meet right away…. Once high standards have been set, the key is to give our students, educators, and parents the tools to continuously improve.” She supported “giving local schools control of [most] new education dollars… expanding after-school and weekend class programs … and supports reading and math specialists.” She opposed vouchers. “In 2005, she signed legislation creating the Student Excellence Equals Degree (SEED) Scholarship program, which enables students who keep their grades up and stay out of trouble to go to college for free in the state of Delaware. She also expanded her education specialist program, which has placed reading specialists in every elementary school, to also include a plan to place math specialists in every Delaware middle school.”

Minner never graduated from college. She earned her GED in 1968 and later attended Delaware Technical and Community College, while working two jobs to support the family.