PETE DU PONT 1935 - 2021
Pierre Samuel “Pete” du Pont IV
While the news of Governor du Pont’s passing was not unexpected, all those at the Pete du Pont Freedom Foundation are deeply saddened by this great loss. For a shining moment in Delaware’s history, the State had a great leader and a steadfast friend. Pete du Pont possessed clear vision, buoyant enthusiasm and a fascination for innovative approaches to old problems.
When the du Pont Administration began, rancor and confrontation were commonplace. Delaware faced enormous challenges, including a financial structure that drove employers away at the very time that good jobs were critical to our future. State government spent more than it could afford; tax increases were the solution of choice for prior administrations; and no one had a plan to attract jobs and rebuild the economy. Pete changed all that by winning the confidence, even affection, of former political opponents. With that cultural change in Dover and with critical support from the loyal opposition, he forged consensus about Constitutional financial reforms and tax reductions. More remarkable, Governor du Pont spotted opportunity in the Nation’s hodge-podge of bank laws, positioning Delaware as a center for the credit card industry. No single piece of legislation has had more immediate or significant impact on Delaware’s economy.
Beyond these specific accomplishments, Pete demonstrated that good will, humor and a genuine sense of neighborliness, coupled with clear vision, can transform a State. Those values are in short supply these days, making Pete du Pont’s passing yet more noteworthy. Delaware will miss its good friend, Pete du Pont.
The Pete du Pont Freedom Foundation exists to preserve that legacy by honoring the Governor’s accomplishments while creating enthusiasm for innovation that can nurture our future.
In lieu of cards or flowers, the du Pont family asks that you make a donation on Pete’s behalf to the Pete du Pont Freedom Foundation or to the Frontotemporal Disorders Unit at Mass General Hospital, Dr. Dickerson’s lab.
“He reorganized the state government in a way which was so powerfully correct that nobody has dared deviate from it since then. I doubt that they will – unless they make it better, which is always possible.”
– Elise du Pont
“I think his legacy to the state of Delaware is one of order, process, civility and cooperation. I think
when people talk about how good Delaware is at bringing the right people together in the same room
at the right time and coming to a decision about what to do for Delaware that Pete is the one who coalesced those skills.”
– Marna Whittington
A Timeline for Prosperity
1968 – Elected to the Delaware House of Representatives
1970 – Elected to the United States House of Representatives
1972 – Elected to the United States House of Representatives for a second term
1974 – Elected to the United States House of Representatives for a third term
1976 – Elected to the Office of Governor of the State of Delaware
1977 – Issued Executive Order 1
1978 – Led successful implementation of school desegregation
1979 – Sponsored successful tax-cut legislation bill
1979 – Created the Governor’s School for Excellence
1979 – Created Jobs for Delaware Graduates1980 – Rainy Day Fund enacted
1980 – Elected to the Office of Governor of the State of Delaware for a second term
1981 – Financial Center Development Act passed
THE PETE DU PONT FREEDOM AWARD
The Pete du Pont Freedom Award, established in 2003, honors Pete’s legacy by celebrating the entrepreneurial spirit of an individual or organization – who has implemented a successful idea, which has led to economic growth or brought innovation to the private sector.
In lieu of cards and flowers, leave a message below to show your support. Share a memory or leave a message for the family. You can also upload your favorite photo of Pete.