Posted: Jan. 13, 2005

Governor Ruth Ann Minner announced today that she will nominate two former state Senate leaders to fill vacancies in her cabinet: Richard S. Cordrey to be secretary of finance and Thomas B. Sharp to be secretary of labor. 

Both Cordrey and Sharp have served as president pro tem of the Delaware State Senate, Cordrey from 1977 to 1996 and Sharp from 1996 to 2002. 

“I am so, so pleased to have Richard and Tom both agree to return to state service and serve in my cabinet. Each of them has a combination of legislative and other experience that make them uniquely suited to fill these posts.” 

Cordrey, 71, of Millsboro, served in the state Senate from 1972 to 1996, with stints as majority leader from 1973 to 1976 followed by his 19-year term as president pro tem, the longest in Delaware history and in the country. He also served one term in the House of Representatives from 1970 to 1972 and on Millsboro Town Council from 1965 to 1973. He has served as a member of the Delaware Economic Forecast Advisory Council and is the owner and president of R.S.C. Farms. Cordrey holds an accounting degree from Goldey-Beacom College and served two years in the U.S. Army. He is married to Mary Jane Cordrey and has two sons. 

As a senator, Cordrey spearheaded the creation of the “rainy day fund,” which sets aside a percentage of state government revenue for emergencies. It is one of the fiscal practices for which Delaware has often been praised. 

“Throughout my time in state government, I have endorsed the conservative fiscal practices that Gov. Minner has held to so strongly over the last several years,” Cordrey said. “I look forward to helping her continue to keep the state in sound financial shape as Secretary of Finance.” 

Sharp, 64, now of Selbyville, represented the 9th District in New Castle County from 1974 to 2002. He served as majority leader of the Senate from 1978 to 1996, then six years as president pro tem. He is retired from New Castle County Vo-Tech School District, where he served as director of the district’s building and grounds department and a vocational instructor. From 1962 to 1982, he was a sheet metal worker, project manager and foreman. Sharp graduated from Conrad High School and served six years in the Army National Guard. He is married to Judy Sharp and has three children. 

“I have always had the well-being and expansion of the state’s workforce as one of my highest priorities and I am honored to join with Gov. Minner in serving the workers of Delaware,” Sharp said. 

Gov. Minner said she hopes the Senate will confirm Cordrey and Sharp before the six-week legislative break that begins Jan. 27.