February 21, 2018 at 7:11 pm EST | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
Gay attorney ‘terminated’ from Del. insurance post
Mitch Crane, gay news, Washington Blade

Gay Democratic activist Mitch Crane (Photo courtesy Crane)

Attorney and longtime gay Democratic activist Mitch Crane says he was “terminated” from his job as Deputy Commissioner of the Delaware Department of Insurance as of Feb. 16, but he has declined to say why.

Crane, a resident of Lewes, Del., told the Washington Blade on Tuesday that he stands by a statement he posted on Facebook on Feb. 17 expressing disappointment over having to leave his job about a year earlier than he had planned. But he said he prefers not to provide further details on the reason for his departure at this time.

“The decision was made that I should end my service as of yesterday,” he wrote in his Feb. 17 Facebook message. “I will miss the work and the scores of Department of Insurance employees who work hard to help consumers and are too little appreciated, have too little support and are also underpaid,” he stated in his message.

“I tried to have their backs, but, sadly, forgot to look out for my own,” he wrote.

Trinidad Navarro, who won election as Delaware Insurance Commissioner in November 2016, announced shortly after his election that he had named Crane as his deputy commissioner. Crane, who at the time held the position as chair of the Sussex County Democratic Committee, had backed Navarro in the election.

Crane himself ran unsuccessfully for the insurance commissioner position in the 2012 election against then-incumbent Karen Weldin Stewart. With Crane’s support, Navarro beat Stewart in the 2016 election.

In January 2017 Crane stepped down from his post as party chair to take the deputy insurance commissioner position for which Navarro said he was highly qualified. Crane had served from 2007 to 2011 as a regulatory specialist and Director of Consumer Services at the Department of Insurance under its then-commissioner, Matt Denn. Prior to that Crane practiced law in Chester County, Penn., and served six years as a Pennsylvania county judge.

In a Jan. 22 press release announcing that Crane would be leaving his post as deputy commissioner, Navarro said he was proud to call Crane his friend, adding that he valued Crane’s service to the department and to the people of Delaware.

“His knowledge of insurance law, the legislative process as well as the administrative functions as my chief regulator have been invaluable to me,” Navarro said in the press release.

Vince Ryan, a spokesperson for the insurance department, couldn’t immediately be reached for comment on why Navarro asked Crane to step down.

“I will watch MSNBC in the morning and Judge Judy in late afternoon for a while,” Crane wrote in his Facebook posting. “Then I will consider the many ideas and possible offers I am receiving and will find some other way to contribute and bring in a little income,” he wrote.

“Mitch Crane ‘over’ but nowhere near ‘out,’” he concluded in his posting.

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

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