Delaware River and Bay Authority Welcomes New Chairman
Governor John Carney Swears-In Samuel E. Lathem of Bear, Delaware to Lead the Agency
NEW CASTLE, Del. – Today, Delaware Governor John Carney administered the Oath of Office to the Delaware River and Bay Authority’s new Commission Chairman, Samuel E. Lathem of Bear, Delaware, prior to the bi-state agency’s monthly meeting. Initially appointed to the Commission in June 2001, Commissioner Lathem was the first African American to serve on the bi-state agency’s governing board and is the longest serving current Commissioner. His current five year term extends to July 1, 2020.
“I am honored that Governor Carney and the Authority Commissioners chose me to serve as Chairman of this great bi-state agency,” Lathem said. “With its family of transportation facilities, the Authority plays a key role in the economic future of the region and I look forward to working with my fellow Commissioners, Tom Cook and his management team to continue to maximize the Authority’s full potential.”
“Sam built a distinguished career in public service and organized labor in the State of Delaware and we’re fortunate to have his leadership, insight and experience as he serves as Chairman of this great institution,” said Governor Carney. “I appreciate his willingness to serve the people of Delaware and I have every confidence that Sam will serve the DRBA well in his new role."
“I have had the privilege and honor of working with Sam, as a friend and colleague,” Congresswoman Lisa Blunt-Rochester said. “I have always appreciated his passion, his willingness to listen and speak honestly and to act with integrity as a leader. I thank him for his continued dedication to Delaware as he takes the mantel as DRBA chair.”
“I worked with Sam for years to make Delaware a better place to work and live and to keep the Chrysler plant in Newark thriving,” said U.S. Senator Tom Carper. “His commitment to our region and the residents of Delaware has always been unstoppable. Sam understands that the Delaware River and Bay Authority is vital to the First State and surrounding area’s economy, and I look forward to his leadership on the commission.”
“Congratulations to Sam on his election as chairman of the DRBA Board of Directors,” said Sen. Coons. “I am appreciative of Sam’s track record of public service and his willingness to continue to serve the people of Delaware and New Jersey. I look forward to his leadership of the board of directors.”
“On behalf of the citizens of Delaware, I also want to recognize and thank Bill Lowe for his sixteen years of service as a Commissioner – many of those serving as either Chairman or Vice Chairman,” Carney added. “Serving the Authority with the utmost dedication and integrity, Bill always focused on ways to reach a consensus for the good of the Authority, its customers and stakeholders.”
“Bill was one of the first people to welcome me aboard here at the DRBA and he has been a constant resource for me as I acclimated to my new role,” said Executive Director Tom Cook. “Like Bill, Sam is a highly respected and experienced leader who always has the Authority’s best interest in mind. I wish Bill all the best and I look forward to working with Sam as Chairman.”
A retired member of the United Auto Workers (UAW) and U.S. Army veteran, Mr. Lathem worked nearly 40 years for Chrysler Motors at the Newark, DE facility, retiring in June 2004. As a member of the UAW, he served in a number of capacities, including chief steward, chairman of the civil rights committee, UAW-Chrysler Training Center administrator and an International UAW representative. In 2003, Mr. Lathem was elected as the first African American to serve as President of the Delaware State AFL/CIO, a position he held until 2015.
An ordained Baptist minister, Mr. Lathem is a lifetime member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). His other civic and community activities include serving as a board member on the Delaware Council on Labor, Chairman of Delaware Council on Vocational Education, and as a member of the Workforce Development Council. Mr. Lathem is a former board member of United Way of Delaware, Junior Achievement, Interagency Council on Literacy, Diamond State Port Corporation, Urban League and the Coalition of Black Trade Unions (CBTU).
The Commission is comprised of twelve commissioners - six each from New Jersey and Delaware - who are appointed by their respective Governor. The leadership positions of Chairman and Vice Chairman rotate between the States every two years.
About the Delaware River and Bay Authority
The Delaware River and Bay Authority, a bi-state governmental agency created by Compact in 1962, owns and operates the Delaware Memorial Bridge, the Cape May- Lewes Ferry, the Three Forts Ferry Crossing and the Salem Business Centre in Carney’s Point Twp., NJ. The Authority also manages corporate and aviation properties through its economic development powers - two airports in New Jersey (Millville Airport and Cape May Airport) and three in Delaware (New Castle Airport, Civil Air Terminal and Delaware Airpark). All agency operating revenues are generated through the bridge, ferry and airport facilities. For more information, visit www.drba.net.
Lathem_Oath: With Jean Lathem (left) and Congresswoman Lisa Blunt-Rochester (right) holding the Bible, Delaware Governor John Carney (far right) administers the Oath of Office to the agency’s new Commission Chairman, Samuel E. Lathem (center), as Delaware State Representative Franklin Cooke (far left) observes the proceedings.
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