2019 Mary Harriman Award Winner

Margaret Rose Henry

2019 Mary Harriman Community Leadership Award Winner Margaret Rose Henryy

The Junior League of Wilmington, DE

Senator Margaret Rose Henry, a paragon of public service for more than 30 years, displayed the fearless determination, trailblazing spirit and undeniable community impact reflective of Mary Harriman herself.

The following are excerpts from a moving and inspiring tribute to Margaret Rose Henry by Mat Marshall, a communications assistant for the state Senate Democratic Caucus who worked alongside the Senator for the last two years of her Senate career.

I can’t overstate what a joy it’s been to work for her over the past two years, or how sad it is to see her leave the Senate. I have never met someone so humble and self-deprecating despite her role in making history. I have never met anyone so unblinking in their commitment to their values or whose worldview was so fundamentally centered on empathy. I have never met someone so unequivocally progressive and yet so respected on the other side of the aisle. I have never met someone who so clearly understands the importance of promoting others over herself. I’m not sure that I ever will again.

She has always been on the forefront of efforts to reform the criminal justice system and a draconian body of drug policies. She has been an advocate for children, for the working class, for the LGBTQ community, for the homeless, for public schools, for affordable housing and health care and for her constituents. If our Party is searching for its soul, it can end its search with Margaret Rose Henry.

After everything – after all her work, after all the attacks she’s weathered along the way, after 24 years of bee-lining towards children instead of microphones – she would have every right to be a little haughty but she wasn’t. She’s never been anything but self-effacing. Her positions were always clear-cut, honest, and fair.

I’m lucky to be in a field that gives me a firsthand look at public figures’ private selves and it takes restraint not to tell people about all the good deeds that go unpublicized. But, there’s no use in any of us comparing ourselves to Margaret Rose Henry. She is a once-in-a-generation type of leader and I feel lucky just to have shared some time with her.