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Office of the Governor

2021 State of the State

Watch Governor Carney’s State of the State Address

The Delaware General Assembly convened virtually in a Joint Session prior to the Governor’s State of the State Address. View their proceedings before and after the Governor’s address  on

Governor John Carney delivered his 2021 State of the State Address on Tuesday in the Senate Chamber at Legislative Hall in Dover, outlining his priorities for strengthening Delaware’s economy, improving our public schools, committing to racial equality, protecting the environment, beating the COVID-19 pandemic, and safeguarding our democracy.

Full text of the speech, as prepared for delivery, is available here

“Over the past year Delawareans have worked hard, kept our focus, strengthened our resolve, and looked out for one another,” said Governor Carney. “As a result of the good work of so many, I stand here confidently, proudly, and gratefully to tell you that the state of our state is resilient. It’s determined. It’s strong. And it is getting stronger.”

Highlights from the Governor’s Address


“When I ran for office in 2016, I promised that our number one priority would be to strengthen our economy to create good jobs for Delawareans. And that we would focus on making Delaware a place where businesses would want to locate, and grow. Over the past two years, and thanks in large part to the work of many of you, we have 10,000 new jobs in Delaware. Our unemployment rate has fallen to 3.8 percent for the first time since 2008.”


“Every third grader should be reading at grade level. Every 8th grader should be proficient in math. And every student should be graduating high school ready for college, or a career. It’s time to begin a new chapter in Delaware’s public education.”


“Maintaining a good quality of life in our state is one of the most basic things we can do for the citizens we represent. In addition to keeping communities safe, that means protecting the natural heritage that makes Delaware such a great place to live, work, and raise a family. These are the things that attract a strong workforce to our state.”


“When I stood in this chamber one year ago, we had a $200 million surplus. By April, the economic downturn, brought on by the pandemic, had wiped out that surplus. And like every state in the country, we faced a looming deficit. But unlike most other states, Delaware was ready. With your help, we spent the previous three years getting ready. With many of you, I hosted town hall meetings in communities across our state. We promised to build a long-term, sustainable budget. A budget that would work for Delaware families. And we kept that promise. We built up our reserves — while making investments where needed the most. When the COVID-19 crisis hit, we balanced our budget without cutting critical services. Without raising taxes on Delaware families or businesses. Without borrowing money to pay our bills. And without laying off state employees or cutting their pay – as so many other states were forced to do.”


“This past year has tested every aspect of our public school system. And I want to thank our educators, school nurses, school and district leaders, and every single person who works in our schools. They have met this challenge, and put the needs of their students above their own. I also want to thank the parents, who filled in the gaps and kept their students on track at home, often while juggling remote work of their own. My highest priority as Governor remains the same. We need to ensure our most vulnerable students get the education they need and deserve. Students who are living in poverty. Students who are still learning English.”


“This year laid bare the pain that our brothers and sisters of color suffer across our state and nation. It took away any false sense of comfort we may have allowed ourselves to feel that everyone has equal access to the American Dream. We have much work to do as a state and as a nation. First to heal. But to go beyond healing. To make fundamental changes to a system that for too long has denied the promise of equality and justice for all. This requires a comprehensive approach. To the relationship between law enforcement and communities of color. But also to economic empowerment, education, and issues of diversity and inclusion in the workplace.”


“A critical part of making life better for Delawareans is protecting our environment. Last year, the legislative session was interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, as we know. But I made a promise to my friend, and former Senator Harris McDowell. I promised we would put the finishing touch on his legacy here in the legislature and set a Renewable Portfolio Standard this year. And so with your help, we will set a new goal that 40 percent of Delaware’s energy will come from renewable sources by 2035.”


“Over the course of my 30 years in public service, and even during the course of this administration, I have seen government tackle countless, serious and complicated challenges. Nothing – absolutely nothing – compares to the last ten months. There are state employees in every corner of this government who have been asked to solve unimaginable problems, work punishing hours, and put themselves in harm’s way, to help us get through this pandemic.”


“One of the most important things we did during this pandemic was safeguard our democracy. With the General Assembly’s help, we allowed mail-in voting for the first time. That meant hundreds of thousands of Delawareans could stay safe from the pandemic, while exercising their right to vote. And I look forward to signing legislation to make mail-in voting a permanent feature of our elections – from school board and town hall elections to the election for the President of the United States. Governments at all levels made it possible for public meetings, hearings and proceedings to be conducted virtually during the pandemic. In many cases it’s made conducting the public’s business more accessible, more transparent, and more efficient. We should all want more people to participate in our democracy – not fewer. So we should work together to make these practices permanent even after the pandemic.”

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