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Former DNREC Secretary Collin O'Mara officially joins 2024 governor's race

Collin O'Mara Campaign

Former Delaware Secretary of Natural Resources and Environmental Control and current CEO of the National Wildlife Federation Collin O’Mara officially joins the Democratic Primary for Governor.

Although O’Mara is the first Democrat to file as a candidate for the Democratic gubernatorial primary, Lt. Gov. Bethany Hall-Long and New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer both previously announced their candidacy.

O’Mara launched an exploratory committee in December to determine whether Delaware Democrats wanted a different option in the race for governor, and he believes he brings a more progressive policy agenda to the table.

“Well over half of Delawareans have no idea who they want to vote for in the primary, and those that signal support for some of the other candidates – it’s fairly tepid. And so we think there’s a significant lane that’s still available for a progressive alternative that can actually deliver big things for the state," he says.

O'Mara's policy platform has five top priorities: fixing the public school system, building an inclusive modern economy, supporting working families and older Delawareans, leading on climate and environmental justice and protecting fundamental rights through constitutional amendments.

O'Mara says embracing the recent independent analysis of Delaware's school system, which recommends updating the current funding formula and investing more in schools, is one of his top priorities.

"I would argue a lot of the existing money isn't winding up in the classroom, and at the same time, we have a funding formula from the 1940s that we have to modernize... so it's not a question of whether we can do it – we need to do these things. We can’t have a strong state if we don’t have strong schools," he says.

O'Mara is also advocating for guaranteed universal pre-K, free school meals and increasing pay for all educators and removing disincentives from working in historically under-resourced schools.

Aside from education, O'Mara also hopes to make Delaware the first state to produce 100% clean electricity by deploying offshore wind and solar and the first state to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by deploying green hydrogen and electrification technologies.

While several of his initiatives come with a price tag, O'Mara believes Delaware can leverage more federal dollars in clean energy, fintech, semiconductors, life sciences and agriculture, which in turn will create more well-paying jobs.

But ultimately, O'Mara argues these big investments are necessary, and the state will see a significant return on investment.

“The state has to step in because if it doesn’t, there really is no alternative. I think those are the conversations that we want to start and start having them during the campaign so then in that 1st 100 days, we’re ready to actually take action.”

O'Mara is also advocating for constitutional amendments that would prohibit discrimination based upon sexual orientation, gender identity or disability; enshrine voting rights, including early voting, mail-in voting, same-day registration and permanent no-excuse absentee voting; and adopt a green amendment to codify the right to clean air, healthy air, and safe soils.

O'Mara says the next several months will be full of candidate forums and raising campaign money but also encouraging voter turnout as a whole.

"My goal is to inspire folks to believe that state government can do a lot more — that we can actually address these big problems that folks are feeling and that they're experiencing and convince more people to vote than have historically."

The primary for governor will take place on Sept. 10 of this year.

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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