Hocker, Cloutier to lead Senate Republican caucus

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The members of the Senate Republican Caucus today selected Senator Gerald Hocker (R-Ocean View) as the new Senate Minority Leader.

Hocker, a small business leader, was first elected to the Senate in 2012 following 10 years in the House of Representatives, and previously served as House Minority Whip.

Hocker’s and Cloutier’s ascension came after the defeat of Republican state Sen. Gregory Lavelle and the retirement of State Sen. Gary Simpson, R-Milford. Cloutier is a retired executive and Hocker is a Sussex County business owner.

“I am very thankful for the opportunity to lead the caucus as we head into the 150th General Assembly,” said Hocker. “There is a lot of work to be done to improve our economy, our education system and to help improve the quality of life for Delawareans. I look forward to the challenges and opportunities ahead.”

In addition, the Senate Republicans chose Sen. Cathy Cloutier (R-Heatherbrooke) as the new Senate Minority Whip. Cloutier served one term in the House and was elected to the Senate in 2000. She served for many years as a member of the Joint Finance Committee.

“Today’s vote shows that we are prepared to move ahead as a caucus, upstate and downstate,” said Cloutier. “This is an important time for Delaware, and our team plans to play a big role in solving the complex problems that face us.”

Simpson praised the selections.

“I am leaving the caucus in excellent hands,” said Simpson. “Sen. Hocker has been a strong voice in our caucus for years, and he is the right person to lead us forward. And Sen. Cloutier is the perfect balance to Gerald’s leadership, and is highly regarded by her colleagues in the caucus. The future is bright.”

The 150th Legislative Session begins in January. Republicans lost ground in the Senate in Tuesday’s election but can still hold up legislation that requires more than a siimple majority.

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