The Local Leaders series concluded for the 2010-2011 academic year on Monday, March 28th with A. Richard Heffron ’78, the Senior Vice President of Governmental Affairs for the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce, speaking to students, faculty, and staff about his career and his experiences as a student at Widener Law.
Heffron, a graduate of Temple University, discussed his background, including his work on Vice President Joe Biden’s 1972 senate campaign. Biden encouraged him to attend law school, which led him to what was then the Delaware Law School. “I was part of the first class that was accredited from beginning to end,” he said about his time as a student. He described taking a class with then Dean Arthur A. Weeks and recalled the law school’s old location in a Wilmington church.
Following graduation from law school and two years spent in California, Heffron returned to the east coast to work on the Wilmington mayoral campaign of Daniel S. Frawley. Following Frawley’s election, Heffron served as a policy advisor and spent six years as Head of Housing.
Heffron left public service to join the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce, where he has spent nineteen years. “I’m proud of the fact that I get to represent the business community. I’m proud of the fact that I get to make public policy,” he says of his work, adding, “I’ve seen a lot of changes and met a lot of people.”
“Law school taught me how to think on my feet and how to be prepared,” concluded Mr. Heffron before he encouraged the future lawyers in the audience to “try to understand where the other side is coming from.”
Following his remarks, Mr. Heffron took questions from the audience on the relationship between the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce and the United States Chamber of Commerce. He also took a question on whether he has seen an increase in political partisanship in Dover. He responded that Delaware has always had a respectful political climate and that he felt that to still be the case despite the fact that the last election in particular had brought signs of increasing division.