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Longtime State Senator Richard Cordrey passes away

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Former Delaware State Finance Director and longtime State Senator Richard Cordrey has died.

Cordrey, from Millsboro , was 88-years-old.

Cordrey had a long career in Delaware politics, serving First State residents for nearly three decades in Dover.

He was first elected to the State House in 1970, serving one two-year term before being elected to the State Senate in 1972, where he served until 1996.

Cordrey served as Senate President Pro Temp from 1977 until 1996 when he retired; he is considered the longest-serving President Pro Tempore's in the history of the Delaware State Senate.

On his Facebook page Monday, current Senate President Pro Tempore Dave Sokola called Cordrey "a giant of the General Assembly by every imaginable standard."

In 2012 Senator Sokola helped name the Delaware Department of Agriculture headquarters on Route 13 in Dover after Senator Cordrey – an honor befitting of his commitment to Delaware’s farmers.

Gov. John Carmey remembers Cordrey as "one-of-a-kind leader" in the General Assembly.

"He was the ultimate southern Delaware gentleman who was well liked and respected by Delawareans across our state," said Carney in a statement. "He brought a certain grace to his work as a leader in the State Senate and as Finance Secretary for Governor Minner. His influence on Delaware’s economy – especially his efforts on financial stability – will have a lasting impact on our state.

Members of Delaware's Congressional delegation also offered their condolences.

“Richard Cordrey was a valued partner when it came to working together to make Delaware the best place it could be - it didn’t matter whether the governor of Delaware was a Democrat like me or a Republican like Mike Castle," said Sen. Tom Carper in a statement. "He came from a generation like I do where elected officials are expected to get along, try to find common ground, and work together to get things done. His leadership, commonsense and persistence helped Delaware transform from a state with the worst credit rating in the country - unable to balance our budget and a very poor track record in attracting new business – to a AAA credit rating, and a great place to live and work. It was a joy to know him and work with him, and I will miss him greatly.”

“I got to know Rich and Mary Jane early in my public service career. I respected his work ethic, his dedication to Delaware, and his decades of service to Millsboro and our state. His outstanding service is still felt to this day, and I, along with Delawareans across the state, will miss his impact," said Sen. Chris Coons in a statement.

There has been no word yet on funeral arrangements for Cordrey. Gov. Carney has ordered the Delaware flag at state buildings and facilities be flown at half-staff until sunset on August 27 in memory of Cordey and his service to the state.

Kelli Steele has over 30 years of experience covering news in Delaware, Baltimore, Winchester, Virginia, Phoenix, Arizona and San Diego, California.