United States Senator and Vice President-elect Joseph R. Biden, Jr. (D-DE) issued the following statement today following Governor Ruth Minner's announcement:
"I believe that today Governor Minner has made a decision, as she has made all her decisions in public life, in the best interests of Delaware.
"This was a tough decisionbut I think we all know that making tough decisions is not anything new for this Governor. She is tough, she is strong, and her legendary grit long ago earned my admiration and respect.
"Serving Delaware as your United States Senator has been the privilege of my life. And while I admit it is with some pride that I can say I've been your Senator longer than anyone in our state's historyI have never forgotten it is an honor that you, the voters, have bestowed upon me. From the time that the people of Delaware elected me to the U.S. Senate at the age of 29, this state has lifted me up in tough times and given me the chance to make a difference. I hope I have done so.
"I know this is was an unusual circumstance for the voters this year. And I want to thank the people of Delaware for the trust they placed in me. Now as I leave the Senate for the Vice Presidency, I believe Governor Minner has appointed the very best person she could have chosen to serve Delaware at this time in the United States Senate.
"I have known Ted Kaufman for over 30 years. He is a man of first-rate qualifications, unquestioned integrity and a long-time commitment to public service. As my Chief of Staff for 19 years, he was involved in many of the most important decisions I've made in the Senate. Further, he has been personally involved in handling many of the most important issues that we've faced in Delaware. From protecting Cape Henlopen, to putting more cops on the street, Ted has played a critical role in these accomplishments.
"Ted has also done the hard day-to-day work of a Senate office - answering constituent concerns, overseeing their casework and making sure the voters of Delaware have a strong advocate for them. So whether it's debating the biggest issues that come before the Senate, or helping a veteran or a senior citizen get the help they need, Ted has done it. He knows Delaware. And he knows the Senate. He'll be able to hit the ground running.
"Since the time he worked with me in the Senate, Ted has gone on to teach at Duke University, in the Law school, the Fuqua Business School, the Sanford Institute of Public Policy, and to serve on the Broadcasting Board of Governors. Ted's long service to Delaware has earned him the respect of virtually every community in our state - from business to education to labor to children's advocates to those committed to protecting our environment.
"There is no one who knows more about how the United States Senate works and no one who is more ready to do this job for Delaware than Ted Kaufman. Over the years, he has earned the respect of those who have served, like Senator Bill Bradley of New Jersey and of those who are still there, like Senator Chris Dodd of Connecticut. He will make a great partner with Senator Tom Carper.
"I care deeply about this Senate seat and I care deeply about Delaware. And I can say with absolute confidence that with Ted Kaufman in the Senate, Delaware will be in very good hands.
"It is no secret that I believe my son, Attorney General Beau Biden would make a great United States Senatorjust as I believe he has been a great Attorney General. But Beau has made it clear from the moment he entered public life, that any office he sought, he would earn on his own. He proved that two years ago when he turned down an appointment as Attorney General. Instead, he ran on his own and won election. Typical of Beau, he made it clear again his year that he would not accept an appointment to the United States Senate. As he said when he deployed overseas, he is determined to fulfill his military obligations and then return to his duties as Attorney General. If he chooses to run for the Senate in the future, he will have to run and win on his own. He wouldn't have it any other way.
"In making her decision, the Governor has made it clear that whoever seeks the office in 2010 will do so from a level playing field. The voters will make that decision. For now, my concern is with Beau's safety, not his political future.
"I have promised the Governor, and instructed my staff, to make sure we work closely with Senator Kaufman over the upcoming weeks to ensure an orderly transition and to make sure that at no point will the work of Delaware go undone.
"To the voters, again let me thank you for the trust you have placed in me. To Governor Minner, thank you for making this difficult decision. And to Senator Kaufman - serve the people well. It will be for you, as it has been for me, the privilege of a lifetime."