by James DeChene
Next Tuesday, the day after the State Chamber’s Annual Dinner (see you there), the 150th General Assembly will gavel into session, with roughly 20% new members between the House and Senate. Other changes include a new Senate Secretary (best of luck, Joy), some new staff faces, new seating charts, and new committee assignments and offices for members. Some things, though, remain the same, including the “Delaware Blue” paint scheme that the lobby core will be staring at for the next six months.
For some members, Tuesday will represent the first time they will vote “Yes” or “No,” and if history holds, they will do so a few hundred times over the next two years. The variety of items facing their votes will be numerous, and based on the pre-filed legislation so far, we know of a few specifics. Two new top tax brackets for high earners, an Equal Rights Amendment that when passed will become a Delaware constitutional amendment, and changing the polling hours for school board elections. Another stack of pre-filed bills will be released today, and certainly more will come as session continues.
Items to watch include legislation to legalize recreational marijuana, more changes to Delaware’s minimum wage, proposed changes to Delaware’s LLC regulations, predictive scheduling, and a host of unknown, but important, issues that will face the business community.
As legislation is introduced that impacts your business we and your elected officials need to hear from you. Share with us how new proposed legislation will impact your employees or force other changes to your business; or how it could change your plans for investment, expansion, or your ability to stay in business. These stories are critical to be heard, and we will have measures in place to make it as easy as possible for you to comment without taking time away from focusing on your operations. Your voice matters and the State Chamber works to make it heard.
The Delaware State Chamber of Commerce awarded its prestigious Josiah Marvel Cup Award to Delaware attorney O. Francis Biondi, on Monday, January 11, 2016 at the Chamber’s 179th Annual Dinner. The event, held at the Chase Center on the Riverfront, attracted almost 1,000 business leaders, elected officials and state dignitaries.
The award presentation—which is kept secret until the night of the dinner—was just one highlight in a night focused on the Delaware business community. The evening’s program included a keynote address by president and CEO of The Nemours Foundation, David J. Bailey, MD, MBA. In 2015 Nemours Children’s Health System celebrated the 75th anniversary of the first patient being admitted to the Alfred I. duPont Institute. Dr. Bailey talked about the statewide impact of the organization in Delaware. Nemours was the presenting sponsor for the State Chamber’s premier event.
The Marvel Cup Award was established in 1951 to honor a Delawarean who has made an outstanding contribution to the state, community, or society. The State Chamber’s highest honor is named in memory of the Honorable Josiah Marvel, who reorganized and was the first president of the State Chamber in 1913-1914. The award was originally presented to Marvel upon his retirement and has been imprinted with the name of each recipient. The identity of the winner is not announced until the award is presented at the Annual Dinner.
Mr. Biondi was the preeminent deal-maker and public policy attorney of his generation. At a time when Delaware’s economic future was in dire straits, Mr. Biondi was instrumental in putting together and passing the legislation to create Delaware’s Financial Center Development Act of 1981. Legislation that ultimately created over 30,000 jobs and put Delaware on a path of prosperity for over two decades.
Well versed in the “Delaware Way,” Mr. Biondi’s hallmark was his ability to reach across the aisle and collaborate. Respected and trusted by Governors, Legislators, and elected officials on both sides of the aisle, Mr. Biondi has served in many capacities to assist in the formulation, drafting and implementation of the most important State initiatives of the last several decades.
A successful attorney and dedicated family man, Mr. Biondi has been the recipient of numerous prestigious honors throughout his lifetime. His list of accomplishments and achievements is extensive. He has had a major impact on the community through his charitable work and has set the example for his peers.
Francis Biondi, Esq. was admitted to the Delaware bar in 1958 and has served as president of the Delaware State Bar Association and Delaware Bar Foundation. He has served as chairman of the Crime Reduction Task Force, vice chairman of the Delaware Agency to Reduce Crime, co-chairman of the Commission on Delaware Courts 2000, and a former Wilmington City Solicitor. Mr. Biondi was a Senior Partner of Morris, Nichols, Arsht & Tunnell LLP prior to his retirement in 2001.
by James DeChene
For those of you able to attend the 179th State Chamber of Commerce Annual Dinner, thank you. As attendees will recall, the message from the Chamber to business leaders and elected officials was a call to come together and collaborate on effective solutions to help turn Delaware’s economy around. Making mention of a time in Delaware’s history not so long ago, the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, Delaware was facing a similar bleak economic outlook. Lead, in part, by the efforts of the 2016 Josiah Marvel cup winner, Frank Biondi, the General Assembly passed the Financial Center Development Act, which placed Delaware on stable financial footing for much of the 1990’s and into the 2000’s. The subsequent increases in banking and financial service employees offset the decline in Delaware manufacturing over the years, to the point that without those employee numbers Delaware economically would be like West Virginia with a beach.
As we honored Biondi and his good works, parallels were drawn between that time and now, and the need for a General Assembly to put aside its political differences and make the difficult choices necessary to reshape and redirect Delaware’s economy. To that end, we have a good start to the second half of the 148th legislative session, as bipartisan legislation has been crafted to increase Delaware’s competiveness regionally and nationally incentivizing companies to increase their investments in personnel and infrastructure in Delaware.
This bill is a good first step. The “collaboration, time is now” message will be the Chamber’s clarion call this year urging regulatory and legislative initiatives that result in aggressive pro-growth, pro-economic development measures Delaware desperately needs.
In 2015 Nemours Children’s Health System celebrated the 75th anniversary of the first patient being admitted to the Alfred I. duPont Institute. In the decades since, Nemours has experienced many changes—from advances in medicine and technology, to the opening of two new hospitals and dozens of pediatric practices across the Delaware Valley and Florida.
When Alfred I. duPont died in 1935 he left his fortune for the care of children in Delaware and Florida. That fortune is the Alfred I. duPont Testamentary Trust, and the Nemours Foundation is the operating entity that brings the vision and mission to life every day. We are now the largest children’s health system in the United States, with more than 5,000 Associates and more than 600 physicians across five states providing the full range of pediatric medical and specialty care, prevention, research, advocacy and a number of other important services.
But one thing that has not changed over the past 75 years is our commitment to providing compassionate, high-quality, family-centered care to all children and families. By doing so we honor the legacy of our founder, Alfred I. duPont—a man of great compassion and a champion of equality among all men who believed “it is the duty of everyone in the world to do what is within his power to alleviate human suffering.” That belief has become embodied in the Nemours mission “to provide the leadership, institutions, and services not readily available to restore and improve the health of children.” That’s what our Associates strive for every day.
Nemours is proud to be the presenting sponsor for the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce’s 179th Annual Dinner and pleased that our President and Chief Executive Officer, Dr. David J. Bailey, will be the evening’s keynote speaker. This is an exciting time for Nemours, and I invite you to join me at Delaware’s premier business and networking event to learn more about Nemours and our commitment to helping the First State’s children grow up healthy.
It is hard to believe the day has come when our close-knit Delaware community is saying good bye to Charlie Cawley. I could talk about the great organization he built or the financial contributions MBNA made to the state, but what really stands out is the man himself. He was a giant, a bigger than life presence in our community for over two decades. It was an era that many of us were fortunate to experience firsthand. Sure, his outreach went far beyond Delaware, but what an impact he had on Delaware!
Mr. Cawley’s leadership changed the landscape of the city of Wilmington. He boosted the nonprofit community through his personal philanthropy, but more importantly, he ingrained that spirit of giving back to the community in his employees. And indeed, they did give back. His leadership style created goodwill in the community that ran deep and touched the lives of many in need. He did most of his work quietly and without fanfare. It goes without saying that his contributions to Delaware were immeasurable. Mr. Cawley’s hands on approach to the community, the personal touch and watchful eye, is sorely missed by our city.
In 2000 Charles M. and Julie P. Cawley were awarded the prestigious Josiah Marvel Cup by the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce. This annual award honors a Delawarean who has made an outstanding contribution to the state, community or society. Mr. and Mrs. Cawley are the epitome of what this award represents. We all share in your loss Mrs. Cawley and send you our deepest condolences.
Everyone has a story of how Charlie Cawley touched their lives. He will be remembered fondly – a mark of a life well lived. It is only appropriate that we honor him in this season of Thanksgiving. I ask you to do something selfless today. Take a moment and think about how you can give back to the community. One act of kindness….in memory of Mr. Cawley.
Quite simply, we focus our core initiatives to address the concerns of the entire business community.
The Delaware State Chamber of Commerce is the preeminent statewide business organization promoting a strong business climate in Delaware. We strive to create a statewide economic climate that enables all businesses to become more competitive. Our team consistently meets with Delaware’s Congressional delegation and plays a leading role on issues before the General Assembly. Our Board of Directors, Board of Governors and committee engagement assist in promulgating rules and regulations stemming from the various federal, state and local agencies that oversee business activity.
We are proud to be leaders on the policy front. Recent achievements include:
The DSCC is a nonprofit organization. We depend on the support of our members to accomplish our mission. We partner with other advocacy groups and serve as the leading voice of the business community. Our leadership helps create jobs, promote business and improve the quality of life for all Delawareans.
Your membership dollars and your support through programs like the Annual Dinner, Superstars in Education, Superstars in Business and our Legislative Brunches allow the State Chamber to be your dedicated voice in Dover.
We are proud to advocate on your behalf addressing the challenges of today and exploring the opportunities of tomorrow.
James DeChene is the Chamber's Senior Vice President of Government Affairs.