Former state representative for the 22nd District looks back on 18 year career as public servant

As of Nov. 6, Joe Miro is out of a job – and he’s okay with that.

Miro is retiring after 19 years as state representative for the 22nd District, which includes portions of Hockessin and Pike Creek.

Born in Cuba in 1946, Miro was part of Operation Peter Pan – the mass exodus of over 14,000 Cuban minors under the Kennedy Administration who emigrated here in 1962.

“Cuba was about to pass a law – and in fact they did pass it – to send children to Russia to train,” he said.

Miro ended up in the First State by chance; after spending three months living in a tent city, a supervisor pointed out two locations on a map – Albuquerque, New Mexico, and what he thought was Philadelphia.

“I was familiar with Philadelphia because of its history,” he said. “So I said, ‘yeah, Philadelphia.’ But it ended up being Wilmington. So I was a little surprised.”

At first Miro lived with 20 other minors – including Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’s stepfather – before his mother relocated here in 1963.

After spending a year at Salesianum, Miro transferred to and eventually graduated from Wilmington High School, then graduating from Lincoln University in Oxford, Pa. Miro ended up working for the Red Clay district for 31 years, retiring in 2001.

Miro was a member of New Castle County council from 1992 to 1998, when he decided to run for the House of Representatives.

Miro first became interested in politics when the late Joe Petrilli knocked on his door while canvassing for a seat in the House.

He started volunteering for Petrilli, becoming involved and learning the ropes of the political system. In 1992 a group of citizens approached him about running for county council.

Six years later, when Petrilli decided to retire, he approached Miro about running for the seat.

“I ran, and I won,” he said. “And here I am sitting in front of you today.”

The seed for the call to service was instilled in him by his parents, who were active in their communities in Cuba.

He added that he was always proud of his position in the legislature, and never aspired for any higher office.

“I think the fact that I didn’t want to run [for higher office] is what people saw in me,” he said. “I wasn’t really a true ‘politician,’ in that sense. I had no desire to do that, and I was asked many times to run for senate and county executive. But I was happy where I was.”

Miro said in retrospect, a kid coming to Delaware with no money and no knowledge of the language to rise to the House of Representatives, is the American Dream.

“Really, my whole life has been dedicated to service,” he said. “When you talk about the ‘Land of Opportunity,’ and what one can achieve, I think I am a model. And I would hope that people would emulate that model.”

Miro plans to stay active on various boards and committees, and enjoys time at the gym and coaching various sports.

But mostly he’s going to relax.

“I’d actually like to travel, I haven’t done much of that and I have always wanted to,” he said.