Senate leader and cabinet member Richard Cordrey, 88


Former State Senate leader Richard Cordrey has died at age 88.

Gov. John Carney ordered flags to fly at half mast in his honor.

“I was sad this week to learn of the passing of Senator Richard Cordrey – a one-of-a-kind leader in the Delaware General Assembly. Senator Cordrey is the longest serving Senate President Pro Temp in Delaware history, serving for 19 years. He was the ultimate southern Delaware gentleman who was well liked and respected by Delawareans across our state,” Carney stated. He brought a certain grace to his work as a leader in the State Senate and as Finance Secretary for Governor Minner. His influence on Delaware’s economy – especially his efforts on financial stability – will have a lasting impact on our state. Senator Cordrey also used his experience as a Sussex County farmer to support Delaware agriculture and to bring a conservative approach to fiscal matters. The State of Delaware is in a stronger place because of his service.”

‘ We thank Senator Cordrey for his service to our state and to the constituents he represented. His legacy of service is one that will be long remembered by those whom he served. His family is in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time,” a social media post from the Senate Republican Caucus stated.

Current President Pro Tem David Sokola, D-Newark, said Cordrey was instrumental in keeping Delaware fiscally sound.


“His contributions to Delaware’s economic vitality are well known, leading efforts to amend Delaware’s constitution to cap spending at 98 percent of projected revenues, while establishing a “Rainy Day Fund” to be used only for unanticipated emergencies,” Sokola wrote.

Cordrey was one of the last Democratic state senators in Sussex County and was a powerful figure in Legislative Hall for decades.

Cordrey, a farmer who resided in the Millsboro area, was recognized a decade ago when the building housing the state Department of Agriculture was named in his honor.