Ruth Ann Minner (born January 17, 1935) is an American politician and businesswoman from Milford, in Kent County, Delaware. She is a member of the Democratic Party, and served in the Delaware General Assembly, and as Lieutenant Governor of Delaware and two terms as Delaware's first female governor.
Minner was born Ruth Ann Coverdale, at Slaughter Neck in Cedar Creek Hundred, Sussex County, Delaware, near Milford. While growing up, she left high school at age 16 to help support her family. Subsequently she married Frank Ingram, with whom she had three children: Frank Jr., Wayne and Gary. When she was 32, her husband died suddenly of a heart attack, leaving her a single mother with three children. She earned her GED in 1968, and later attended Delaware Technical and Community College, while working two jobs to support the family. In 1969, she married Roger Minner and together they operated a family towing business, the Roger Minner Wrecker Service. Roger Minner died of cancer in 1991.
Ruth Ann Minner began her political career as a clerk in the Delaware House of Representatives and as a receptionist in the office of Governor Sherman W. Tribbitt. In 1974, she was elected to the State House as a member of the "Watergate Class," a group of newly elected legislators from both parties, who came into office on a "good government" mission, and a strong sense of their ability to make significant improvements. Minner rose to become Delaware's most powerful female politician, but she did it in a very conventional way, representing a rural, small town constituency, and building relationships and expertise by working in the legislative process over many years. She served four terms in the State House, from the 1975/1976 session through the 1981/82 session. At various times she served as House Majority Whip and chair of the powerful Bond Bill Committee. She also chaired the Rules Committee. In that role she led several successful reforming efforts, including a change that removed the rule allowing Representatives to table roll call votes. This rule was used to help schedule votes when only the right combinations of Representatives were on the floor.