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Gerald Brady, a longtime Wilmington legislator and executive director of the Delaware AFL-CIO has resigned from his elected position, saying in a statement that he has been suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
But two sources with knowledge of the situation also said his resignation is in part due to a shoplifting investigation.
A law enforcement official also with knowledge of the situation confirmed there is an investigation into alleged stealing by Brady.
Brady, a Democrat, did not mention any police investigation in his statement, but did state that PTSD "can be punctuated by episodes or conduct that may make little sense to people who do not understand the nature of PTSD." He noted that he served in the Delaware Army National Guard "during the Middle Eastern conflicts of the last two decades."
Brady's resignation comes six months after he faced calls to step down over a separate controversy, which erupted after the public learned of an email he sent in June that used a racist and misogynistic phrase to describe Chinese women who are sex trafficked through the Port of Wilmington.
After the email surfaced, Brady apologized in a statement sent by a spokesman.
Brady could not immediately be reached for comment Friday.
His colleagues in the Delaware General Assembly and the Delaware Democratic Party condemned the language. But leadership and the party organization stopped short of calling for his resignation. Legislative leaders did call on Brady to complete sensitivity training.
Advocates within Delaware’s Chinese American community stated the response was insufficient. They declared Brady “no longer fit for office,” saying his words reflected “deep-rooted racist and misogynistic views about Chinese Americans and Chinese American women.”
The Delaware Asian American Voice, which formed after the offensive email emerged, sought donations to pay for a billboard calling for his resignation. One donor to the campaign suggested Brady's comments were as harmful as the N-word.
The founder of the Delaware Asian American Voice could not immediately be reached for comment Friday.
Four Democratic lawmakers — Rep. Madinah Wilson-Anton of Newark, Sen. Sarah McBride of Wilmington, Rep. Eric Morrison of Glasgow and Sen. Laura Sturgeon of Brandywine West — over the summer called on Brady to resign, to no avail.
Wilson-Anton later filed a formal complaint against Brady, which House leadership unanimously voted to drop, choosing not to pursue an ethics investigation because he did not violate the law.
With Brady’s resignation, Delaware law states that a special election must be conducted to find his replacement. Whoever wins will serve the remainder of his term through 2022. But the district, which centers on the liberal Trolley Square area, won't exist beyond then due to redistricting.
In November, lawmakers redrew legislative maps to accommodate for population changes found in 2020 U.S. census data. Thanks to population growth in Sussex County, Brady’s district will be essentially erased and absorbed by neighboring districts to make way for a new House district in the southern half of the state.
Whoever is elected to replace Brady in the special election will not be able to run for reelection 10 months later.
The special election is likely to be a high-profile affair. While Brady’s former seat has voted reliably Democratic for years, the results of the election could give progressives a stronger foothold in the Legislature or could thrust the establishment of the party further into power.
Brady’s recent voting record has fallen in between the progressive and establishment camps, as he has been a consistent advocate for measures favored by trade unions and also has championed bills such as a plastic bag ban.
Rep. Paul Baumbach, D-Newark, doesn't predict a dramatic change in the political balance of bills passed by the Legislature, noting Brady has been liberal on certain issues and conservative on others.
"If Gerald was the most conservative or the most liberal person in the caucus, then I think it would be different," he said.
Until a replacement is seated for his district, several bills that require supermajorities in the Statehouse could be thrown into question, including a marijuana legalization measure.
In 2020, Brady fended off a challenger with relative ease in that year's primary election.
Brady has held the House seat for 16 years. Before that, he was a Wilmington city councilman for 10 years.
Brady holds a coveted seat on the 12-person Bond Committee, which last year drafted the largest infrastructure spending package in state history. Members of the committee earn about $4,000 more per year than regular lawmakers. It's unclear who will replace him.
Reporters Esteban Parra and Xerxes Wilson contributed.
This article originally appeared on Delaware News Journal: Sources say there is more to Rep. Gerald Brady's resignation than PTSD