Late Governor du Pont remembers his bipartisanship and humor | Radio WGN 720


WILMINGTON, Delaware (AP) – Current and former Delaware politicians, family and friends of Pierre S. “Pete” du Pont IV remember the late governor, U.S. House member and presidential candidate for kick-starting the state’s economy, working the partisan aisle, and sharing a joyous spirit.

Friday’s memorial service at a Wilmington theater took place nearly a year after du Pont died in May 2021 at the age of 86 after a long illness. Security concerns related to COVID-19 have delayed the tribute so far, media reported.

“As Pete understood, our political adversaries can and should be friends,” said conservative columnist George Will, a longtime friend of du Pont, in his eulogy. “Pete did it right and had fun the whole way.”

A member of the well-to-do family known for its holdings in chemical companies, du Pont broke away from the business world to focus on law and Republican politics. After one term in the State House and three terms in Congress, du Pont was elected governor in 1976 and set to work to restore financial stability to the state.

Du Pont forged successful relationships with lawmakers on both sides to combat prison overcrowding, corruption, and school desegregation. He won re-election in a landslide in 1980. His second term was marked by landmark legislation he signed that relaxed Delaware’s banking laws, making the state attractive to some of the biggest card companies. credit of the country.

The state’s economy is “built on the back of Governor du Pont’s decisions,” current Governor John Carney, a Democrat, said during the service.

“He set a new standard for how we treat each other in this state,” Carney added. “And it changed our expectations of ourselves.”

Du Pont announced in 1986 what became a long-running presidential bid. He tried to distance himself from the better-known candidates by questioning the social programs that his rivals feared to tackle. He withdrew in early 1988 following poor showings in the Iowa caucuses and in the New Hampshire primary.

Du Pont’s four children also shared memories, especially his humor. His son, Ben, remembers asking why his dad took up bowling: “He said, ‘I’ve made more friends and won more votes than anything I’ve ever done. ‘other’.”

“He could make anyone laugh and it was just a gift to have,” his widow, Elise, added in a recording shown on the big screen.

U.S. Senator Tom Carper and former Governor Mike Castle also attended Friday’s service, which concluded with the singing of “God Bless America.” A version is played before every home game for the Philadelphia Flyers – du Pont’s favorite team. The longtime Flyers anthem singer led the song in a pre-recorded video.


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