Is This the Most Powerful Man in Delaware?
The Senate president pro tempore says he’s never used certain privileges unless asked by someone else. Right or wrong, Thurman Adams still wants what’s best for all.
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“He is a living legend, an iconic figure in Delaware’s legislative and political history,” Chandler says. “Senator Adams is revered in Sussex County for his tireless efforts on behalf of Sussex County. Simply put, he enjoys helping others, deriving his own satisfaction from doing whatever he can to help others and from working tirelessly to improve our county and our state for future generations.”
At the start of each session, Adams tells himself it’s time to start thinking of retirement, yet the 80-year-old still has not picked a date. He’s committed to help see the state through the current economic crunch. “It’s the worst financial crisis I’ve ever seen,” he says.
The depth of it even has this staunch opponent of sports betting re-thinking his position. “I’ve always believed sports betting sent the wrong message to our young people,” Adams says. “But in this current crisis, everything has to be on the table. And I’m guessing some kind of sports betting bill will pass this year.”
The capacity to change even a deeply held belief based on changed circumstances is something even Adams’ critics recognize.
“His leadership style is still more inclusive than that of his predecessors,” says Copeland. “He would seek out the opinions of others, including Republicans.”
And though Copeland points to workers’ compensation reform and efforts to increase minority (i.e.: Republican) representation on committees, Copeland still believes it will be time for a different kind of leadership after Adams. “Economically and technologically, there’s a different electorate out there that will require an even more open, inclusive leadership style,” he says.
But for as long as Adams chooses to remain in his seat (his constituents, he says, have never returned him to office with less than 63 percent of the vote), he will lead as he always has—from his roots.
“I do not try to act as the most powerful man in the Senate, due to my humble beginnings,” he says. “And I realize other people have helped me get here. I will always try to work together with all sides and treat everyone like I like to be treated. I’m influential but must keep perspective. I’m still a farm boy at heart.”