|73rd Governor of Delaware|
January 20, 2009
|Preceded by||Ruth Ann Minner|
|Chairperson of the National Governors Association|
|Preceded by||Dave Heineman|
|Succeeded by||Mary Fallin|
|Chairperson of the Democratic Governors Association|
|Preceded by||Christine Gregoire|
|Succeeded by||Martin O'Malley|
|Treasurer of Delaware|
January 16, 1999 – January 20, 2009
Ruth Ann Minner
|Preceded by||Janet Rzewnicki|
|Succeeded by||Velda Jones-Potter|
November 26, 1960 |
Newark, Delaware, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Carla (Smathers) Markell|
|Alma mater||Brown University (B.A.)
University of Chicago (M.B.A.)
Jack A. Markell (born November 26, 1960) is an American politician who is the 73rd and current Governor of Delaware. A member of the Democratic Party, Markell was first elected Governor in 2008 and was sworn in on January 20, 2009.
Born in Newark, Delaware, Markell is the graduate of Brown University and the University of Chicago. Markell entered a career in business, working as a banker, consultant and senior manager for First Chicago Corporation, McKinsey & Company and Comcast Corporation. He also worked for Nextel Communications - a name that Markell coined - as the Senior Vice President for Corporate Development from 1989 to 1995.
Entering a career in politics, Markell served three terms as the State Treasurer of Delaware from 1999 to 2009. After term-limited Governor Ruth Ann Minner was prevented from running for reelection, Markell announced his intention to run for the Democratic nomination for Governor. Markell defeated Lieutenant Governor of Delaware John C. Carney, Jr. with 51% of the vote in the Democratic primary, and defeated Republican nominee, former Delaware Superior Court Judge William Swain Lee, with 67% of the vote in the general election; becoming Delaware's first Jewish governor. Markell was then elected to a second term, defeating Republican businessman Jeff Cragg in 2012. As Governor, Markell served as the Chairperson to both the Democratic Governors Association, from 2010 to 2011, and the National Governors Association, from 2012 to 2013.
Personal life, education, and career
Markell was born and raised in Newark, Delaware, the son of Elaine "Leni", a social worker, and William Markell, who taught accounting at the University of Delaware. He graduated from Newark High School. As a child, he attended Camp Galil, a summer camp in the Labor Zionist youth movement, Habonim Dror. He graduated from Brown University earning his Bachelor of Arts in economics and development studies, and went on to the University of Chicago, earning his MBA.
Markell began his business career in 1982, working as a banker at First Chicago Corporation. He then became a consultant at McKinsey & Company in 1986. Markell joined Fleet Call - later known as Nextel Communications (a name that Markell coined) - where he served as the Senior Vice President for Corporate Development from 1989 to 1995. Becoming the company's 13th employee, Markell joined Nextel when the company was in a nascent stage; helping lead Nextel to nationwide success during the wireless telecommunications revolution of the 1990s. After leaving Nextel, Markell worked as a senior manager at Comcast Corporation from 1996 to 1998.
Markell is married to Carla Smathers, with whom he has two children.
Treasurer of Delaware
As Treasurer, Markell led the development of several educational efforts in personal financial management, known collectively as "the Financial Literacy initiatives". He created the "Delaware Money School", which offers free classes to Delaware residents on topics such as saving for college and retirement planning. He also started the "Delaware Bank at School Program" which takes banks and financial education to schools. He partnered with the University of Delaware, Center for Economic Education and Entrepreneurship, as well as several Delaware banks, to teach young people the basics of money and savings.
In 2001, Governor Ruth Ann Minner chose Markell to chair the Information Services Task Force, which developed and implemented recommendations to modify the state's management of information technology. In 2002, he led an effort to streamline and coordinate the procurement of goods and services while using state-of-the-art purchasing techniques. He also led the "Health Rewards" initiative, which offers Delaware state government employees comprehensive physical assessments, detailed statistics about how their health compares with their peers across the country, and recommendations about how they can improve their health.
Governor of Delaware
On June 6, 2007, Markell officially launched his candidacy for Governor of Delaware, setting up a primary with Lt. Governor John Carney. Beginning in the summer of 2007, Markell released fourteen policy papers on issues ranging from energy to health care to education. Early, Markell was far behind in polls and endorsements; the Young Democrats Movement and other organizations allowed Markell to gain early momentum, but these efforts were offset by the endorsement of Carney by the Delaware Democratic Party. Markell closed the polls slowly until election day when Carney still held a small lead.
Markell won a come-from-behind victory over Carney, with 51.2% of the vote in the Democratic primary. Markell faced 2004 Republican Nominee for Governor and former Judge, William Swain Lee. Markell won the election with 67% of the vote.
The 2012 Delaware gubernatorial election took place on November 6, 2012 Incumbent Democratic Governor Jack Markell won re-election to a second term, defeating Republican challenger Jeff Cragg.
According to The News Journal, the inauguration ceremony was held in the middle of the night to comply with the requirements of the state constitution that the Governor be inaugurated on the third Tuesday of January and to allow Delaware residents to enjoy the historic event that would occur later that day: the inauguration of President Barack Obama, and his vice president, Delaware’s Joseph R. Biden, Jr. A traditional swearing-in ceremony was held the following day on Legislative Mall in Dover, Delaware.
Markell entered office with an unprecedented budget challenge, facing a deficit of almost $800,000,000. One of his first actions was to cut his own salary by 20%. Markell announced his plan to balance the budget in March 2009. Avoiding lay-offs, Markell's plan included an 8% pay cut for state employees, legalization and taxation of sports betting, over $200 million worth of cuts, and revenue enhancements on such things as liquor and tobacco.
After failing to obtain an initial majority in the House of Representatives, Markell's sports betting proposal was approved on a second vote in May 2009. Legislation legalizing sports betting was quickly approved by the Senate, and signed into law by the Governor. Initial estimates of revenue for the state from sports betting were between 50 and 60 million dollars. Current revenues estimates are lower following a decision by the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals banning single game bets.
Following late night budget negotiations at Legislative Hall, a compromise budget was passed by the General Assembly and signed at 4 AM on July 1, avoiding a budget crisis and government shut down. Several states in similar circumstances were unable to meet their budget deadlines and were forced to cut or close down many government offices and programs.
The FY 2011 budget focuses on job creation and economic development, counteracted by a reduction in the number of state employees. Compared to the 2009 budget, the new budget is $50 million less and includes 1,026 fewer state positions.
Following through on several campaign promises early in his term, the Governor signed energy legislation aimed to reduce Delaware's energy consumption by 15% by 2015, updating building codes, and mandating that renewable energy be considered first when expanding supplies. Markell also creates a new recycling program, which would require both public and private waste collectors to offer curbside recycling pickups at least once every other week and provide containers. "The recycling bill was the home run of the year." said state Senator David McBride. A new clean energy bill will require utilities to rely on clean energy for 25% of their energy. This law also promotes shared solar installations and supports smaller green-energy projects.
- LGBT rights
On July 2, 2009, Markell signed legislation banning discrimination based on sexual orientation in housing, insurance, public accommodations and employment, ending a ten-year battle. On May 11, 2011, Markell also signed a civil union bill, which became effective on January 1, 2012.
Markell proposed and signed major educational reform initiatives, including abolishing the controversial Delaware Student Testing Program, establishing a pilot program to reward improving schools, and passing legislation to improve transparency and autonomy within school districts.
Markell facilitated the acquisition of the Newark Chrysler plant by the University of Delaware (UD) to build a research and technology campus that may generate both employment and local innovation. UD President Patrick Harker stated: “Our goal over time is to construct high performance facilities that support the University's Climate Action Plan and restore portions of the land and natural features.”
In March 2010, Delaware placed first out of the 16 finalists in the federal government’s grant competition for innovative education reform, making the state eligible to receive as much as $119 million. The money received will be used to identify and better Delaware’s low-performing schools, improve the system for evaluating students, and raise the standard for and improve the quality of the state’s educators.
- State economy
In addition to reduced state revenue, the current economic environment has driven rising unemployment. In response, Markell initiated several economic development initiatives, including the LIFT Program, meant to ensure the survival and growth of small businesses.
Following the closure of the GM plant in July 2009, Markell and his team pursued Fisker Automotive. Although in competition with several other states, a deal was signed to reopen the facility after just over two months of negotiations. Fisker will invest a minimum of US$ 175 million in upgrading the plant. Production of hybrid sedans will begin as early as 2011 for the domestic market as well as for export through the Port of Wilmington. Fisker anticipates that the process will create approximately 2,500 jobs and contribute to Delaware’s effort to compete in the “green economy.”
In 2010, the Markell administration had two more major economic successes that would help save and increase many jobs. When Valero announced that they were closing their Delaware City Refinery, Governor Markell began searching for an owner/buyer. Markell aided in the negotiations with Valero, allowing PBF Energy to purchase the refinery. They hope to have the refinery running as soon as spring 2011. Markell and PBF agreed that the company will receive economic development incentives in exchange for providing 600 full-time jobs.
Sallie Mae, one of the nation’s largest providers of student loans, decided to relocate their headquarters to Delaware. The company expects to hire as many as 1,500 Delawareans over the next five years. Thanks to the Delaware Strategic Fund, a state program that can provide economic incentives to companies thinking of moving to Delaware, Markell and his economic development team have also succeeded in attracting businesses such as Sanosil International and Testing Machines Inc.
In June 2010, the Governor signed into law the Business Finder’s Fee Tax Credit or “BFF”, which provides incentives for companies that bring new jobs to the state. “The BFF program will make us more effective and efficient by enlisting Delawareans across the state to search for more opportunities to create jobs,” said Markell.
Campaign Finance Violations
In December 2013, following a lengthy investigation, special prosecutor E. Norman Veasey released a 101-page report that concluded that Governor Markell and his campaign staff assisted donors with breaking campaign contribution laws.  The report found that personal emails from Markell to several of his contributors advised them on ways to skirt campaign contribution laws. Special prosecutor Veasey released evidence that even when presented with information from donors that would identify their ownership in a business as being beyond the allowable limit for multiple donations, Markell and his campaign ignored the information and acceptable funds above and beyond legal limits.  Special prosecutor Veasey did not press charges against elected officials as the statute of limitations had expired, however, multiple donors had previously pled guilty for their participation. 
Treasurer of Delaware
Governor of Delaware
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- [dead link]
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- Delaware Governor Signs Landmark Civil Union Legislation Into Law
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- "Driving Home for Thanksgiving - Site Selection Online". Siteselection.com. 2009-11-23. Retrieved 2011-03-12.
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- Delaware Historical Society; website; 505 North Market Street, Wilmington, Delaware 19801; (302) 655-7161
- University of Delaware; Library website; 181 South College Avenue, Newark, Delaware 19717; (302) 831-2965
- Newark Free Library ; 750 Library Ave, Newark, Delaware; (302) 731-7550
- Delaware Governor Jack Markell official government site
- Jack Markell for Governor
- Jack Markell on the Open Directory Project
- Credit-card fees costing state millions Delaware Online, September 9, 2002
|Treasurer of Delaware
Ruth Ann Minner
|Governor of Delaware
|Chairperson of National Governors Association
|Party political offices|
Ruth Ann Minner
|Democratic nominee for Governor of Delaware
|United States order of precedence (ceremonial)|
as Vice President
|Order of Precedence of the United States
Mayor of city
in which event is held
Otherwise John Boehner
as Speaker of the House of Representatives
as United States Senator
|Order of Precedence of the United States
as Governor of Pennsylvania