Pete du Pont

Throughout Pete’s public life – as a state legislator, member of Congress, governor, presidential candidate, commentator and columnist – he knew the importance of having government foster, rather than frustrate, innovation and the economy. He knew that debating and pushing policies aimed at growing the economic pie were far better uses of time than arguments about how to divide that pie. His view was based in a realization that, with each new innovation generated and pushed by individuals in the market, jobs would increase and prosperity could be shared more broadly.

Whether pushing for lower and fairer taxes, more effective government spending, greater choice in education, or eliminating the stifling impact of overly burdensome regulation, Pete wanted to empower individuals, families, and businesses. He believed decisions, to the extent possible, should be made in offices, shop floors, classrooms, and around kitchen tables.

Legislator and Governor

After one term in the Delaware State House and three terms in the U.S. House of Representatives, Pete sought and won the Delaware governorship. He was inaugurated on January 18, 1977, and wasted no time, immediately issuing his first executive order on the same day to increase transparency among state officials. His administration drove the effort to reduce taxes and restrain government’s appetite for ever-increasing spending. During his two terms as governor, Pete’s appreciation for a healthy economy, coupled with market-oriented incentives for employers, led to continued job growth and prosperity for Delaware – and Delaware’s families and businesses continue to feel the benefit of these policies.

As just one example, the du Pont administration worked with others in the state to push through the 1981 Financial Center Development Act which made the state significantly more attractive to banks and other financial institutions by making taxes fairer and reducing unnecessary and outdated regulation. As a result, numerous banks entered the state, creating tens of thousands of new financial services jobs and the inevitable additional employment opportunities in other industries that flowed from this economic growth. These banks included JP Morgan Chase, Citicorp, MBNA and many other “name-brand” banking leaders, and their contributions went beyond their impact on jobs and real estate to the furthering of many community and non-profit organizations.

Government doesn’t need more money until it does better with the money it already has.
- Governor Pete du Pont

Presidential Candidate

Although Pete’s quest for the 1988 Republican presidential nomination fell short, his “Damn Right” approach served to drive the much of the political debate for the next two decades. Not surprisingly, Pete ran on a platform of lower taxes, more efficient government spending, and reduction or elimination of barriers to success.

Commentator, columnist,
and policy advocate

Even after serving in office, Pete never stopped pushing for free-market policies as he appeared on television and radio and in print media. He was a syndicated columnist with Scripps-Howard, a regular columnist for The Wall Street Journal’s Opinionjournal.com, and was one of the founders – as well as the editor – of the pioneering weekly political and policy ezine, intellectualcapital.com. He served as a commissioner on The Kemp Commission on tax reform, policy chairman of the National Center for Policy Analysis, and in various roles for the Education Commission of the States, the Hudson Institute, the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, the Delaware Public Policy Institute, Ideas for America’s Future, GOPAC, and the National Leadership Council.

Pete du Pont – Family Man

Born: January 22, 1935
Son of: Pierre S. Du Pont III
Married: Elise Ravenel Wood

Pete and Elise have four children – Elise, Pierre, Thère, and Ben, and numerous grandchildren

Degrees from Princeton University (engineering) and Harvard University (law)

U.S. Naval Reserve officer – 1957-1960

Contribute to Pete’s work

There are many ways to get involved or support the Pete Du Pont Freedom Foundation. Learn more about how you can help.