IN RECOGNITION OF PEG BRADLEY'S BIRTHDAY
Mr. CARPER. Mr. President, I rise today in recognition of Peg Bradley upon her fiftieth birthday. She is a woman with a kind heart, diverse interests and great abilities. She is one of the most remarkable people with whom I served in State government. In a State as small as ours, her dedication and tenacity have become legendary. She truly embodies the best of Delaware. I consider it a privilege to have known her and an even greater privilege to have worked closely with her on Delaware's education reforms in the decade of the 1990s.
Just 50 years ago, Peg was born in Kansas to O. Wayne and Wilma Gordon. While her journey to Delaware took her many places in the years preceding it, when she arrived at the University of Delaware in the late 1960s, she found her true home. With her diploma in hand, Peg embarked upon a career that would set the tone for education innovations throughout the State of Delaware and across the Nation.
The proud mother of three children, Kirsten, Carrie and Cort, and the grandmother to 4-year-old Xavier, Peg lives her life through the eyes of children.
While Peg learned and honed her craft teaching elementary school children, she really made her mark when she opened and became the first Director of the Preschool at Concordia Lutheran Church. Then, in 1992, Peg ran for State Representative as a Democrat in the most Republican District in the State of Delaware and won. During her 2 years in the State House, she sponsored legislation that dramatically expanded Head Start opportunities for Delaware youngsters and began drawing attention to the important role that the first few years of a child's life play in their ability to learn and go on to live productive lives.
Peg served as my education adviser during most of my 8 years as Governor. She was instrumental in helping me work my education reform proposals through the legislature, through the education community, and through the public from their infancy to implementation. She worked tirelessly to ensure that the reforms we made reflected what was best for Delaware's children. Today, Delaware has rigorous academic standards, the ability to measure objectively student progress toward those standards, and real accountability, in no small part because of Peg Bradley's stewardship and persistence. Part of her legacy is the consistent improvement in academic performance at all grade levels in Delaware in core subjects like math, English, language arts and science.
Together, along with the support of the legislature, the business community, many parents and educators, we amassed a record of innovative accomplishments, including unprecedented support for charter schools and public school choice; standards-based education, statewide testing and accountability. She even persuaded me to support a public school choice bill written by a certain State Senator named Rick Hauge. Just last week they celebrated their first wedding anniversary.
Peg helped me win battles that seemed daunting. In doing so, she won the grudging respect of more than a handful of cynics along the way. More than almost anyone else, Peg Bradley helped shape the legacy of my administration and change the face of education in Delaware.
Peg was an invaluable advisor, mentor, and resource to me throughout the last decade. She takes pride in her work and has made hundreds of educators and parents proud to work alongside of her. During the time that I was chairman of the National Governors' Association, we focused a good deal of our attention on raising student performance. Peg's assistance to me during that stressful time was invaluable and afforded her with an opportunity to play a significant role on a national stage.
Today, I rise both to celebrate this milestone moment in Peg's life and to shine a spotlight on her momentous commitment and countless contributions to the community. She is living proof that a life filled with good works is a good life indeed. I thank her for her friendship, congratulate her on her first 50 years and wish her and her husband Rick only the very best in the years that lie ahead.