Matt Denn is the 45th Attorney General of Delaware. He assumed office in January 2015, succeeding Beau Biden. Prior to his work as Attorney General, he served from 2009 to 2015 as Delaware’s Lieutenant Governor and was the state’s Insurance Commissioner from 2005 to 2009. Throughout his career of public service, Denn has been a champion for working families, children, and underserved communities – whether fighting against unfair insurance practices or expanding access to early childhood education.
Early Life and Education
Denn was born February 9, 1966 in Wilmington, DE, the son of Morton and Marilyn Denn. He was raised in New Castle County where he attended Yorklyn Elementary and H.B. du Pont Middle School before his family moved to California. Denn graduated with honors from the University of California, Berkeley, where he served as student body president. He went on to receive his law degree from Yale University in 1991.
Denn began his legal career serving for the Delaware Volunteer Legal Services to provide pro bono legal services to the underserved and underrepresented. In 1998 he was appointed by Governor Tom Carper as Chairman of Delaware’s new Child Protection Accountability Commission, where he was charged with fixing state government’s child protection system after a series of tragic child deaths. After completing the necessary reforms for the Commission, in 2000, he briefly entered private practice before returning to public service, working as the chief legal counsel to Governor Ruth Ann Minner from 2001 to 2003.
Denn served as Delaware’s Insurance Commissioner from 2005 to 2009. In this role Denn led the charge to pass laws restricting credit scoring and unfair cancellation of homeowners insurance, and fought to limit increases in Delawareans’ insurance rates. In 2008 Denn was elected Lieutenant Governor of Delaware. During his time as Lieutenant Governor, he led efforts to create one of the nation’s most comprehensive developmental screening programs for infants and toddlers, create a new health insurance program for children of low income working parents, and expand the number of families fostering children in need. He worked closely with the Governor on a landmark early childhood education program and was part of the Governor’s financial team, helping balance four state budgets during the worst recession in almost a century.
Denn took office in January 2015 and has focused on the issue of reducing violent crime in Delaware. He proposed a plan for more police officers on patrol in Wilmington, legislation to create commonsense gun reforms, and using bank settlement funds to support programs addressing crime, as well as the root-cause issues of addiction, the education gap, reentry and insufficient housing. He also established a new Office of Civil Rights and Public Trust. As a long-time advocate for Delaware’s children and a proponent of small businesses, Denn has helped improve Delaware’s public schools by leading efforts to improve recruitment of outstanding new school teachers, encourage more efficient spending of tax dollars by school districts, provide better services to schoolchildren with disabilities, and expand parental involvement in schools.
Denn and his wife Michele live near Newark with their twins Adam and Zach and their pug Lenny.