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University of Delaware, B.A History
Delaware Law School, J.D
Mayor, City of Wilmington 2017-Present
Director, The Riverfront Corporation
Former President of Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Delaware
Former board member of Boy Scouts of America, Lenape District
Former member of board of Wilmington Urban League
Former Chairman of Board of The Hope Commission/ Achievement Center
Member of the Redding Consortium
When I ran for Mayor in 2016, it was largely because the City was in serious trouble and I believed I had the commitment to my City and the skills and experience to address its problems. I honestly believe my record over the past three and a half years has vindicated that view. We have fundamentally altered the operation and financial health of Wilmington. Our parks and public spaces have been beautified. We have invested over forty million dollars in parks and infrastructure. Since 2017 over two billion dollars in building permits have been taken out. Our neighborhoods are cleaner. One thousand dwelling units have been built. Before the national COVID spike in crime, violent crime was lower in Wilmington that it had been in a decade. Our HBCU week has gotten national recognition and our internal operations have improved dramatically. But I am running for re-election simply because there is so much more to do.
The most urgent issue is to uplift the overall health of the neighborhoods where our children grow up. This includes improving the schools where they learn and the homes where they live. It is our responsibility to remove the blight in our neighborhoods and create an environment that is nurturing to our children. The administration introduced legislation to better allow the City to enforce the existing housing code. While it failed in the current council it will surely pass with a new more enlightened and less partisan council. The administration invested over $13 million in parks and community centers. Crime cannot be treated as a problem, but rather as a symptom of a series of problems. Better housing, better schools, and support for young parents will yield long term results.
While serious gun-related crime has increased in the last few months due to a variety of issues, we have still made remarkable progress. To keep everyone safe in Wilmington, the WPD has embraced a range of evidence-based, proven crime prevention and suppression strategies, including: CompStat methodology (applying business management principles to policing to ensure greater levels of focus and accountability). The core component of the daily work of each of the agency’s 315 sworn police officers is community policing. These relationships have increased cooperation and collaboration around public safety and have helped contribute to increased clearance rates for murders and other serious offenses that outpace national standards. The implementation of these strategies has resulted in significant, historic reductions in crime.
I have written extensively on the matter of race in America. We cannot love someone we do not know. An exhibit in our lobby declares that Black History is American History. Images and quotes from twenty notable African Americans decorate the walls. In Warner school we installed a bust and exhibit celebrating the life of Fred Johnson, a Black teacher who taught there in the 60’s. Fred was a Tuskegee Airman who was all but forgotten until we heard his story. Perhaps nothing expresses our commitment to erasing racial disparities better than our HBCU week where over two thousand students have been admitted to school and where five and one half million dollars in scholarships have been awarded. My vision for Wilmington is that it becomes known, above all else, as a just city where all members of our community are cared for and treated with equal respect while at the same time being empowered to pursue their individual dreams and aspirations.
While our national COVID response has been anemic, City government has had a coordinated response since the inception of the pandemic locally in March to protect residents and keep them informed, ensure that the functions of City government operate as normally as possible, and seek out the best health advice available from the State so we can stay ahead of the devastating effects of this virus. Early on, before any federal funding was available, The City of Wilmington took the unprecedented step of purchasing 20,000 masks that were distributed throughout the city to adults and children alike. We also created a COVID-19 government working group as well as a COVID-19 community working group to bring diverse voices and needs to the forefront on what for most of us was, and is, something we’ve never experienced. We have not wavered at all from our message to wear a mask, stay socially distanced, and wash your hands frequently as the best ways to prevent the spread of the virus.
The communications process we use to connect with the community is varied and the sharing of a vast volume of information with the people of Wilmington has been one of our greatest achievements. Our Administration established two ways for people to contact and participate with their government and learn more about the inner workings of the City. OpenGov is an online government information portal so citizens can spend hours looking through current and past information such as budget expenditures and capital projects. Wilmington 311 is an easy and convenient way to contact City departments, request a city service, report a problem, lodge a complaint, or offer an innovative idea for the government. Information about City government is available to you by phone dial 311, from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 24 hours a day and seven days a week at www.WilmingtonDE.gov. As Mayor, I attend hundreds of community meetings a year to hear from you, as do my department directors.