Rep. Michael Castle (D-DE)

Congressional Arts Leadership
1999

Congressman Michael Castle's skills as a conscientious lawmaker and consensus builder earns him the highest respect of his colleagues on both sides of the political aisle. Elected to the House of Representatives in 1992 after eight years as the Governor of Delaware, Congressman Castle has strongly supported the arts throughout his distinguished political career. His leadership in The Tuesday Group, a highly influential caucus of moderate House Republicans, has made Castle a linchpin in maintaining bipartisan Congressional support for the arts.

He is a ceaseless champion of public support for the arts as sound fiscal investment on the national, state and local levels. During the 1997 House oversight hearings to possibly shut down the National Endowment for the Arts, he was one of the strongest voices on the majority side to defend and uphold the agency. Congressman Castle also signed a letter to the Speaker of the House requesting that funding for the NEA be included in the FY'99 balanced budget proposal. In 1998, he was the keynote speaker for the Congressional Arts Breakfast on Arts Advocacy Day. Today, Castle is one of only five House Republicans with a consistent 100% record of voting in support of arts legislation and he is the new incoming chair of the House Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Youth and Families, which is responsible for overseeing reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. As Governor, Castle supported groundbreaking legislation to provide the first $1 million for the Delaware Arts Stabilization Fund, an endowment whose income enhances capital maintenance and facility improvement projects. This endowment now exceeds $21.5 million, and serves as a model for public-private partnerships.

The Delaware native has a lifetime record of taking on critical issues: from banking to breast cancer, from teen pregnancy to handgun control. Congressman Castle is married to fellow Delaware native Jane DiSabatino.