Ruth Ann Minner, former Delaware governor and CSG president, passes away

November 5, 2021

We join our friends and colleagues in mourning the passing of former Governor Ruth Ann Minner this week.

Gov. Minner blazed a trail for women and girls in the First State, becoming the first woman to serve as lieutenant governor and then governor in Delaware. She also was an active leader in the Council of State Governments, and was the first woman to serve as national president.

Her life story is a testament to the incredible determination, sense of empathy, and work ethic that made her an unforgettable governor, friend, and mentor to so many. Senate leadership in Delaware offered this summary of Gov. Minner’s life story in their statement, issued today:


“Ruth Ann Minner left school as a teenager to help out on her family farm. She became a single mother when her first husband passed away suddenly and yet still managed to earn her GED while working two jobs. She built a successful business with her second husband only to be widowed again when he died of cancer. Through sheer perseverance of will, she went from being a receptionist in the Governor’s office to Delaware’s first female governor, a journey she began by winning a seat in the Delaware House specifically to change a banking law that had prevented her from getting a loan without the permission of her husband. Along the way, she also was elected as a state Senator and Lt. Governor.


As governor, she worked to reduce Delaware’s high cancer rates, helped to pass the then-controversial Clean Indoor Air Act to ban smoking in restaurants and bars, helped more than 13,000 Delawareans and counting earn a college degree by signing the SEED scholarship into law, placed reading specialists in every elementary school and math specialists in every middle school, signed full-day kindergarten into law, and fought for common-sense gun safety.”


Her many years of hard work, warm friendship, and tireless devotion to good government will never be forgotten by our many members and staff who knew her.



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