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Former DNREC secretary Collin O'Mara considers joining 2024 governor's race

Collin O'Mara speaks on the rufa red knot recovery plan.
Quinn Kirkpatrick
Delaware Public Media
Collin O'Mara speaks on the rufa red knot recovery plan.

Former Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) secretary Collin O’Mara is considering joining the 2024 governor’s race as the third Democratic candidate.

O’Mara formed a campaign committee to explore running in the upcoming Democratic Primary for governor.

The current National Wildlife Federation president and CEO would join current candidates Lt. Gov. Bethany Hall-Long and New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer in the Democratic Primary.

O'Mara served as DNREC secretary from 2009-2014 and has helped spearhead regional environmental projects, including the Delaware River Restoration, Chesapeake Bay Cleanup and Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.

O’Mara says he respects the other two Democratic candidates, and his potential run has nothing to do with Hall-Long’s campaign financial discrepancies. He instead cites frustration with a lack of focus on the bigger issues.

“I think we are desperately in need of a massive conversation about the future of the economy, the future of the schools, the future of our environment, affordable housing, crime, healthcare, and so far, we haven’t seen much of that," he said.

O’Mara refers to his platform as the “Four E’s:” the economy, education, environment and equitable access to housing, healthcare, and public safety.

"At a time when we have the sixth highest unemployment in the country, we have the second or third lowest performing schools, depending on which ranking — to not be talking about these things is kind of malpractice. So, my goal to jump in is to really try to elevate the level of conversation," he added.

He says he wants Delaware to become the first state to achieve 100% clean energy, and with the recent implementation of the Advanced Clean Car II program and the initial public backlash that came along with it, he wants to showcase the positives of renewable energy.

“I think we have to make the case. I think we have to make the case on the economics and show that the technologies are not only cleaner, but they’re also cheaper, and they’re going to create a lot more local jobs than some of the alternatives," he said.

O’Mara says the campaign committee allows him to start raising money, conduct research and hire staff.

By early 2024, he hopes to make an informed decision about whether or not to officially announce a gubernatorial run.

Before residing in Dover, Delaware, Sarah Petrowich moved around the country with her family, spending eight years in Fairbanks, Alaska, 10 years in Carbondale, Illinois and four years in Indianapolis, Indiana. She graduated from the University of Missouri in 2023 with a dual degree in Journalism and Political Science.
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