Denn was born in Wilmington to Morton Denn, a Distinguished Professor of chemical engineering at the City College of New York, and Marilyn Denn. He grew up in suburban Hockessin and moved to Berkeley, California during high school. A graduate with honors and student body president at the University of California, Berkeley, he received his law degree from Yale Law School in 1991. He now lives with his wife, Michele, and twin children, Zachary and Adam.
Returning to Delaware in 1991, Denn worked for two years with Delaware Volunteer Legal Services, providing pro bono legal services to the underserved and underrepresented. Entering private practice, Denn became a partner with the law firm of Young, Conaway, Stargatt & Taylor in 2000. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Award from the Young Lawyers Section of the Delaware State Bar Association.
In 1998, Denn was appointed by Governor Tom Carper to serve as chairman of the Child Protection Accountability Commission, formed following the death of a four year old whose abuse and neglect went undetected by a state investigation. Under Denn's leadership, the commission lobbied to for caseload standards and career ladders for child protection workers, working to prevent inexperience and high turnover from compromising child safety.
Denn served as Governor Ruth Ann Minner's legal counsel from 2001 through 2003, writing legislation including the Patient's Bill of Rights and the Emergency Health Powers Act.
In 1998, Denn ran for a seat in the Delaware State Senate against Republican incumbent Bob Connor. He lost that race but was elected State Insurance Commissioner in 2004, defeating Karen Weldin Stewart in the Democratic primary race, and later defeating Republican Party candidate, Dave Ennis, a member of Delaware General Assembly, in the general election. Denn served as Insurance Commissioner from January 4, 2005 until January 4, 2009.
Denn was elected Lieutenant Governor of Delaware in 2008, winning 61 percent of the vote to defeat Republican opponent State Senator Charlie Copeland. Another Democratic candidate, Wilmington City Council President Ted Blunt, ended his campaign in spring 2008, allowing Denn to avoid a primary contest. He took office in a ceremony just after midnight on January 20, 2009. As Lieutenant Governor, Denn focused on issues affecting children.
In 2014 Denn was the successful nominee for Attorney General. In the November general election he defeated Republican nominee Ted Kittila.
Elections are held the first Tuesday after November 1. The Lieutenant Governor takes office the third Tuesday of January and has a four-year term. The Insurance Commissioner takes office the first Tuesday in January and has a four-year term.Delaware Historical Society; website; 505 North Market Street, Wilmington, Delaware 19801; (302) 655-7161
University of Delaware; Library website; 181 South College Avenue, Newark, Delaware 19717; (302) 831-2965
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