Jan. 17, 1935

Ruth Ann Coverdale was born. She grew up on a tenant farm near Milford, but had to leave school to work on the family farm.


The political bug bit and, with the encouragement of friends and family, she ran for the House of Representatives in 1974.


Voters in her district sent her to Dover for four consecutive terms, then she decided to run for the Senate in 1982.

Nov. 3, 1992

In 1992, then-U.S. Rep. Thomas R. Carper picked then-Sen. Minner to run with him on the Democratic ticket as governor and lieutenant governor, respectively.

For Kent County candidates it was the year of the woman. State Sen. Ruth Ann Minner, D-Milford, won the lieutenant governor's race, Nancy Wagner took the 31st Representative District and Donna Lee Williams walked away with the state insurance commissioner's position, becoming the first woman in Delaware to hold the position.


Following her re-election in 1996, Lt. Gov. Minner started putting together the resources she would need to make her bid for governor.

Nov. 7, 2000

On this day, 59% of Delaware voters picked Lt. Gov. Minner to lead the state for the next four years.


Gov. Minner signed into law the Clean Indoor Air Act that banned smoking in workplaces and most indoor venues, including bars and restaurants. The act was the second of its kind in the country, second only to legislation in California. It went into effect on Nov. 27, 2002.

Harriet Smith Windsor said that after losing her husband to lung cancer, Gov. Minner took the risk of signing the then-controversial legislation into law even if it meant losing her chance at reelection.

“She knew it was the right thing to do,” Ms. Windsor said.