DOVER — In nearly unanimous fashion Wednesday, Delaware senators voted in all of Gov. John Carney’s nominations to fill a variety of upcoming roles, including several in the court system and state agencies.
As the 50-minute special session convened by the Delaware State Senate neared an end, retiring Sen. Ernie Lopez, R-Lewes, saluted the three nominees from his district that were affirmed, and thanked lawmakers and staff for the time spent together.
“Since the last time when we were together and I announced my retirement, I just want to tell everyone how meaningful it’s been over the course of the last several months to hear from just about everybody in this room, staff and colleagues alike ...”
Sen. Lopez offered extra congratulations to new Sussex County Family Court Judge Theresa Hayes, incoming Delaware River & Bay Authority Commissioner Theodore Becker, and William Tobin Jr., who was successfully nominated to fill a seat on the Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board.
Other confirmed candidates included:
• Martin O’Connor, New Castle County Superior Court commissioner.
• Earl MacFarlane, New Castle County Justice of the Peace.
• Kristine Kellenbenz, Sussex County Justice of the Peace magistrate.
• Taylor Oliphant, Town of Laurel alderman.
• Monica Alvarez, seat on the State Board of Elections.
• Earl Jeter, seat on the Delaware Lottery Commission.
Besides the incoming appointees, J. Travis Laster was reappointed vice chancellor, Delaware Court of Chancery and Kim Warfield was chosen to return to the state board of elections.
After speaking with the candidates, Senate Executive Committee Chair David P. Sokola, Vice-Chair Bryan Townsend, and members S. Elizabeth Lockman, Stephanie L. Hansen, Gerald W. Hocker, and Brian Pettyjohn presented them to the full Senate.
Almost all the votes to confirm were 21-0, though Sen. Brian Pettyjohn opted not to vote twice, which led to 20-0 affirmations. Sen. Colin Bonini initially voted yes for Vice Chancellor Court of Chancery Laster, then switched to no.
After the confirmations, Gov. Carney released a statement that read:
“I want to thank members of the Delaware Senate for their careful consideration of our nominees. I’m confident that each has the good judgment and experience necessary to serve on Delaware’s world-class judiciary with distinction.
“Thank you to all the nominees for their willingness to serve.”