Calistro: Eugene Young has the Talent and Experience Wilmington Desperately Needs

Over the past 35 years, I have had the privilege of working on hundreds of projects and programs focused on helping the people of Delaware and residents of the City of Wilmington. As director of the West End Neighborhood House, I have been lucky enough to work with some of the most talented leaders in our state and region.

It would be fair to say that I have worked with all eight democratic candidates who are currently running for mayor on a number of critical issues and projects affecting our city. I am humbled in the fact that five of the eight candidates asked me to help in organizing their campaigns. This should be no surprise since Wilmington is a city with one degree of separation.


What some people are surprised about is why I am supporting Eugene Young and not one of the other candidates with whom I have good relationships and long tenures of experience.

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Wilmington Mayoral candidate Eugene Young with supporters Kerry Kristine McElrone and Jeremy Hebbel.

Every once in a while – not often – you meet someone who has the rare qualities that make a great leader. I am not just talking about charisma; I am talking about passion, vision, honesty, authenticity, dedication, and humility. Eugene is the kind of person that people naturally gravitate to because he is thoughtful and genuine.   I have been amazed and impressed at the number of extremely talented people who have joined together to help on his campaign. Diverse in backgrounds, age, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and experience, over two hundred talented professionals, civic leaders and blue collar workers have forged a team hailing from every community and neighborhood.

Maybe it is the same thing Senator Cory Booker saw when he recruited Eugene to work on his staff. The Senator called Eugene Young “one of the most inspiring people I know” a person “who will make a difference in an important American city;” he said this to his supporters when he endorsed Eugene. A candidate for a statewide office recently said, “Eugene has attracted the most gifted people leaving the rest of us to scramble for help.”

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Young has a good laugh with voters at a meet and greet in Wilmington

Eugene not only is inspiring, he is a great communicator who believes that being transparent is the key element of leadership. He has clearly articulated his vision in a series of detailed published plans. His “first hundred days” plan outlines clearly that he knows what needs to be done the first day he steps into office. His other plans on economics, public safety, the arts, community development, and youth programming not only define what needs to be done but lay out a clear roadmap for change this city needs. Unlike his opponents, he has shown the maturity and skills needed to develop strategies instead of sound bites.

Oh, let’s debunk once and for all this myth about his experience. Eugene has had more policy and administrative direct government experience than anyone I know his age. He is the only candidate who has worked at federal, state, and municipal governments. He has created and managed non-profits and is a leader in the development of policy in the criminal justice arena in Delaware. His skills are the most transferable, yet he understands that he is only as strong as the people by whom he is surrounded.

Our city desperately needs a mayor who will be accepted in every neighborhood as well as the business community, instead of being familiar with only limited segments of our city. He is the connector and change-maker this city desperately needs. Read his plans, talk to him, and you will see why he truly is the best choice for our city.

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1 Comment

  • “Let’s debunk once and for all the myth about experience”! Since when does being a staffer for a politician from another state count as appropriate experience for leading a city in crisis. And writing position papers is not implementation. I’m sure Mr. Young is a capable young man but he has never led a major project let alone led a revitalization of an entire portion of a city. Mike Purzycki has decades of building a better future for Wilmington by working with officials from all levels of government and most importantly working with entrepreneurs and corporate leaders on real job creation. Mike got into this race for the right reasons – to turnaround the failing city that he loves.