Since 1933, Delaware’s State Capitol has been Legislative Hall, locally known as Leg Hall, at 411 Legislative Avenue adjacent to downtown Dover. As Ruth & I approached it for a tour on June 25th, 2012’s Miss Delaware was posing for the media on its steps along with all of the candidates for 2013. They all looked electable and eager to become Miss America. I really enjoyed this unexpected meeting. Ruth not as much. We followed them inside where they had a guided tour. Too bad it was private.
Delaware’s General Assembly, 21 Senators and 41 Representatives, was still in session so, after a brief tour of the building, Ruth went to listen to legislative debate while I wandered around watching politicians interact and exploring. The rather dark interior made this capitol seem rather small, but that may have been because there was so much human activity on both floors that day. The Senate and House of Representatives are on the 1st floor with the Governor on 2. This Georgian Revival style structure, I assumed, was purposely made to look like a 19th century state house with a red, Delaware brick exterior and Italian marble floors inside.
Portraits of all former governors and World War II heroes fill the 2nd floor walls. It was up here that I learned more about Caesar Rodney, Delaware’s Paul Revere and this state’s most revered hero. On July 1, 1776, Rodney, nearing 50 and an asthma sufferer with cancer on his face, rode 80 miles through a thunderstorm to Philadelphia in 14 hours. On July 2 he voted for Delaware to join 11 other states in a resolution of independence from England. Two years later he was elected President of Delaware.
Before the United States became a nation, Delaware’s leaders were called presidents. Joshua Clayton, its 10th President, therefore, was the 1st man to be called Governor, so he was the 10th President and 11th Governor of this state. Ruth was delighted to learn that in 2000, Ruth Ann Minner was sworn in as Delaware’s 1st female Governor.
Delaware’s General Assembly, being a bit traditional, still uses a pen and paper system for voting. I learned this just before I went to join Ruth in the 2nd floor public gallery. Anyone can sit on the main floor close to the action, but then you can’t come and go as you please. The debate she was engrossed in was pretty interesting. The Legs were debating whether or not to let non-residents buy homes in Delaware. Taxation was an underlying issue. Allowing dual ownership was voted down, so Ruth & I can’t buy a beach house at Rehoboth unless we want to move to Delaware full-time. A lot of Easterners have. I can’t do that now but I can tell you who should become Miss Delaware, 2013.