Chris has spent his career in the Senate focused on working across the aisle to get things done for the people of Delaware. In March 2017, the Bipartisan Policy Center recognized Chris for his commitment to bipartisanship and awarded him its Legislative Action Award. In November 2016, the independent congressional tracking website GovTrack ranked Chris in the top three most productive Senators of both parties.
Putting pragmatism ahead of politics, Chris has partnered with Republicans and Democrats alike to address key issues facing Delaware and the country. Chris has worked relentlessly with his colleagues on both sides of the aisle to provide resources for those struggling with drug addiction and to curb the impact of the opioid crisis. As a result of Chris and his colleagues’ efforts, the Senate passed a comprehensive bill in 2018 that improves prevention, treatment, and recovery to combat the epidemic. Earlier that same year, legislation based on Chris’s American Dream Accounts Act, which expands access to technical training and higher education to students in Delaware and across the country, was signed into law. In 2016, President Obama signed into law the Defend Trade Secrets Act, a bill Chris introduced with Republican Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah to better protect American invention and innovation.
Chris serves on the Senate Appropriations, Foreign Relations, Judiciary, Small Business and Entrepreneurship, and Ethics committees. He is the vice chair of the Ethics Committee and the senior Democrat on two subcommittees: The Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Intellectual Property and the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government.
Chris is committed to bipartisan engagement, especially about the issues that matter most to Delawareans and the country. He co-founded and leads the Senate Human Rights Caucus, the Senate Competitiveness Caucus, the Senate Law Enforcement Caucus, and the Senate Chicken Caucus.
Before his election to the U.S. Senate in 2010, Chris served as New Castle County Council President for four years and New Castle County Executive for six years. Prior to serving as County Executive, Chris worked as an attorney for Delaware-based W.L. Gore & Associates, one of the 200 largest privately held manufacturing companies in the United States. As a law student, Chris founded the Delaware chapter of the national “I Have a Dream” Foundation, which helps low-income students make the academic journey from elementary school through college. Shortly after receiving his law degree and clerking on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, Chris began working at the organization's national office. While there, he launched and ran the organization’s AmeriCorps program, which helped recruit and train volunteers to mentor students in fifteen cities.
Chris graduated from Amherst College with a B.A. in Chemistry and Political Science in 1985. While in college, Chris spent a semester studying at the University of Nairobi in Kenya.
He returned to the continent in 1987 to work with the South African Council of Churches in the anti-apartheid movement. Chris earned his law degree from Yale Law School and has a master’s degree in Ethics from Yale Divinity School.
Chris grew up attending Red Clay Creek Presbyterian Church in Wilmington, DE, and was an ordained elder with West Presbyterian Church. He continues to preach regularly at houses of worship across Delaware. In February 2017, he and Republican Senator John Boozman of Arkansas co-chaired the 65th annual National Prayer Breakfast, a tradition dating back to President Eisenhower that brings Americans of all backgrounds, faiths, and political parties together through a celebration of spirituality and prayer. Currently, Chris serves as the co-chair of the Weekly Senate Prayer Breakfast with Senator James Lankford of Oklahoma.
Chris lives in Wilmington with his wife, Annie, and their three children, Michael, Jack, and Maggie.