Contributed by Scott Malfitano and Michael Houghton
The Pete du Pont Freedom Award is named after one of Delaware’s most distinguished leaders. As Governor of Delaware, Presidential candidate, founder of GOPAC, scholar at the Hudson Institute and the Council for National Policy and as a spokesman and writer, Pete du Pont has been a national leader in the cause of preserving and enhancing individual freedoms.
As Governor, Pete du Pont led the effort to dramatically reduce tax rates because he trusted individuals, rather than the government, to do a better job of spending their own money. He led the effort to de-regulate the financial services industry in Delaware, because he trusted free markets – more than governmental controls – to bring more opportunity, more jobs and a higher standard of living to all citizens. With the lower tax rates and government de-regulation during Pete du Pont’s tenure as Governor, Delaware shot to the forefront among states in economic growth.
Also as Governor, Pete du Pont was an effective bi-partisan leader in the State house in Dover. After significant disagreements and budget battles with his democratic colleagues in the first year of his first term, he and they learned how to work collaboratively for the benefit of all Delawareans. It was this bi-partisan effectiveness, in addition to the aforementioned reduced taxes and de-regulation that prepared the State for the arrival of the Financial Services Development Act of 1981.
As a Presidential candidate, Pete du Pont was a leader before his time preaching the gospel of individual freedom. He boldly – and at considerable political cost – espoused the causes of education vouchers giving parents rather than government the ultimate control over the education of their children; private alternatives to the Social Security system; and free market alternatives to our national healthcare system.
Following his political career, Pete du Pont continued to work, speak and write on many causes for individual freedom; lower taxes, de-regulation, education reform and individual healthcare and retirement accounts – just to name a few. In his own words:
“Democratic capitalism is strengthened by encouraging individual as opposed to collective choice. America has not prospered over 225 years through collective action; it has prospered because people have been allowed to seize their own opportunities.”
The Pete du Pont Freedom Award Reception takes place on Thursday, October 1, 2015 at 6 p.m. at the Hotel du Pont. This year’s award recipient and keynote speaker is Ellen Kullman.
Register online today.
James DeChene is the Chamber's Senior Vice President of Government Affairs.