When he took office in 2009, Governor Jack Markell inherited a record budget shortfall, rapidly rising unemployment, and a stagnant economy. Since then, he worked to create and keep Delaware jobs in a range of industries, including re-opening a shuttered oil refinery in Delaware City and attracting new manufacturing to the site of the old Chrysler plant in Newark. The list of companies that have re-located or expanded their operations in Delaware under the Governor’s leadership include Amazon, Kraft Foods, Atlantis Industries, Citigroup, Capital One, Johnson Controls, JP Morgan Chase, Sallie Mae, Barclays, Miller Metal, Mountaire Farms, Baltimore Aircoil, Calpine, ILC Dover, PTM Manufacturing and Testing Machines, Inc. His administration has also provided grants and loans to help Delaware’s vital small businesses expand and grow.
The Governor made education one of his top priorities. As a result, Delaware won President Obama's Race to the Top competition to significantly improve public schools. Delaware’s plan was ranked first of 40 state plans by the U.S. Department of Education and was one of just two plans to receive initial funding. The State has focused on raising expectations for students; elevating the education profession; providing deep support to the state’s lowest-achieving schools and using data to drive decision-making. The state also won a federal Early Learning Challenge Grant with a plan to dramatically raise the percentage of high-need children in quality-rated early childhood programs. To equip Delaware students to compete in a growing global economy, the Governor began a World Language Expansion Initiative offering Chinese and Spanish immersion to students beginning in kindergarten.
Governor Markell has focused on running state government efficiently and effectively, keeping the state’s AAA bond rating while reforming Delaware’s health and pension systems to make them more sustainable over time. The Governor has reduced the number of employees in executive branch agencies, reformed campaign finance laws; cut and streamlined programs throughout state government; made it easier for citizens to request and receive information from their government; and created a process for businesses and citizens to eliminate outdated regulations.
Governor Markell has also focused on improving quality of life, with new and expanded libraries around the state, the start of universal recycling, significantly reduced air pollution, and with new pathways and trails that will make Delaware one of the most walkable and bike-able states in the country.
Governor Markell brings innovative public and private sector experience to the Office of Governor. He began his career in the private sector helping lead the wireless technology revolution as the 13th employee at Nextel (a name he coined), where he served as Senior Vice President for Corporate Development. His other business experience includes a senior management position at Comcast Corporation, work as a consultant with McKinsey and Company and as a banker at First Chicago Corporation. He was elected to three terms as State Treasurer between 1998 and 2008, implementing innovative programs aimed at cutting spending and improving fiscal responsibility. He has been recognized in Delaware and across the country as a leader in promoting policies to help all people achieve their economic potential.
Governor Markell has also worked to advocate on behalf of Delawareans and bring national attention to his home state through a number of leadership roles including his recent role (2012-2013) as Chair of the National Governors Association (NGA). His Chair’s initiative was A Better Bottom Line: Employing People with Disabilities. The Governor is:
- Chairman of the National Board of Directors for Jobs for America's Graduates (JAG)
- National Governors Association (NGA) Executive Committee Member
- Former Chair, National Governors Association
- Former Co-Chair of the Common Core Standards Initiative, a joint effort of NGA and the Council of Chief State School Officers to develop Common Core Standards for education
- Former Board Member, National Assessment Governing Board, nominated by US Education Secretary, Arne Duncan
- Former Chair of the Democratic Governors Association (DGA)
- Former Chair of the Education, Early Childhood and Workforce Committee, NGA (July 2010 - Dec 2010)
- Former Vice Chair of the NGA Economic Development and Commerce Committee (Jan 2010 - July 2010)
Governor Markell, 53, was born and raised in Newark, Delaware and graduated from Newark High School along with his wife, Carla. He went on to receive an undergraduate degree in economics and development studies from Brown University and an MBA from the University of Chicago. Governor Markell is a Henry Crown Fellow and a Rodel Fellow at the Aspen Institute. He resides in Wilmington, Delaware, with his wife Carla and their two children, Molly and Michael, along with pets, Rue, a mixed-breed dog, and Norma, the goldfish.