A longtime crusader for a higher minimum wage in Delaware is steppingdown from his post in the State Senate.
“I have decided to conclude my public service in elective office at the end of 149th General Assembly on November 6th, 2018,” Robert Marshall, D-Wilmington posted on his Facebook page. “My sincere gratitude and appreciation to the People for a long career in the Delaware State Senate supported by many.I look forward to devoting more time to business interests.”
Marshall is listed as being self-employed in a legislative directory.
Marshall, 71, had served in the Senate for four decades and had close ties to organized labor. He headed the Senate Labor Committee and had served on key committees during his long legislative career.
Marshall and Democratic members of the General Assembly were able to push through a $1 increase in the minimum wage in the early hours of July 1.
That maneuver drew the ire of Republicans who held up the Bond Bill (capital budget).
The logjam was cleared when Democrats agreed to a 50-cent training wage for teens and for training purposes. The wage will increase in two phases to $9.25 an hour.
Over the years, Marshall had pushed for a phased-in $15 an hour minimum wage, but later softened his stance as the proposal drew little support.
Marshall had been facing a tough primary battle for his Wilmington seat with Jordan Hines and Elizabeth “Tizzy” Lockman filing as challengers.
Marshall is one of nearlya. dozen legislators who are not seeking re-election. The state faces a structural budget deficit but saw an increase in revenues this year.
The added revenue allowed legislators to bestow pay increases for state workers and provide some relief to the struggling casino industry.
The powerful Joint Finance Committee did agree to set a ceiling on spending, but legislators balked at forming at a constitutional amendment that among other things would form a budget stabilization fund that would lessen the impact of budget shortfalls.
Gov. John Carney upset some members of his own party by instead signing an executive order that calls for the budget fund.
Tensions between the two parties have also grown, with Democrats holding only a one-vote margin in the State Senate. No Republicans have filed in Marshall’s heavily Democratic district.