Michael N. Castle, political icon
A lifelong Democrat, I felt obligated to vote for Mike Castle at every election because he epitomized a political statesman in every way. He was able to lead his Republican colleagues and persuade Democrats on key issues, resulting in legislation that was clearly in the public interest. He came into his prime as governor with a wealth of experience, starting as a deputy attorney general, followed by service in the house and senate of Delaware, to lieutenant governor and governor before going on to Washington. His finest hour was what he did for Delaware as governor. He expanded coverage for cancer and diabetes screening, provided school-based health care, and developed community health-care centers. He reorganized the State Board of Education, and he was hands-on, visiting every school in the state during his time in office. He led the efforts toward prudent spending and kept the state on a sound financial base. When he moved to Congress, he never forgot his home state during nine terms. His commitment to education was evidenced by his collaborative role in passing the No Child Left Behind legislation. He also championed legislative action to combat skyrocketing college costs. A skilled negotiator, he led floor action to ensure important social programs remained in existence. In the finality of things, Mike Castle was the people’s governor and congressman and gave his adult life as an advocate for the causes that were important to all of Delaware.