Type to search

Government New Castle County News Statewide

Former DNREC Secretary O’Mara to run for governor

Katie Tabeling
Collin O'Mara

Collin O’Mara is running for governor and will face New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer and Lt. Gov. Bethany Hall Long in the primary. | PHOTO COURTESY OF O’MARA FOR DELAWARE

WILMINGTON — It’s official. Collin O’Mara, a former Delaware Secretary of Natural Resources and Environmental Control and current CEO of the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) is running for governor.

O’Mara officially launched his campaign on March 13, solidifying a three-way race at this point. He will face New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer and Lt. Gov. Bethany Hall Long in the primary, although the deadline to file as a candidate is in July.

“There’s issues being discussed today that affect our working families and the future economy and historic investments being made to help make huge changes,” O’Mara told the Delaware Business Times. “People want more than incremental change, they want bold action, and I’m running because I think I can provide that.”

There were months of speculation swirling around whether O’Mara would run for the state’s chief executive in the 2024 race. In December, DBT first reported that he was exploring the bid as he was not satisfied with the current slate of candidates.

“I’ve been talking with people up and down this state, and the polls also show that there’s well over half of Delawareans who don’t have a preferred candidate,” O’Mara told DBT. “I think spending the last decade outside the state in a nonprofit that has experience with various sectors provides a different and outsider background to Delaware politics.”

As head of DNREC from 2009 to 2014 – then the youngest cabinet secretary in the nation at age 29 when then-Gov. Jack Markell appointed him – O’Mara helped to make the department more assertive in the fight against climate change. He oversaw the creation of a statewide recycling program and the development of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) to cap and reduce power sector carbon dioxide emissions across a dozen states.

O’Mara then went on to serve as the lead of the NWF, the country’s largest conservation education and advocacy organization. The nonprofit recorded $113 million in revenue in 2022, according to public records.

Despite his time on Capitol Hill and the NWF’s headquarters in Washington D.C., O’Mara has previously stated that his family life is in Bear. His three children attend the Appoquinimink School District and he coaches youth sports at the YMCA of Bear.

If elected, O’Mara said he would focus his energy in tapping into the historic investment of federal funding unleashed by the Biden administration, notably in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and further funding to bolster semiconductor production in America. With Delaware’s rising innovation in biopharmaceuticals and financial technology and its historic roots in the agriculture industry, he hopes to offer a detailed vision on how the First State can capitalize on the investment into 40,000 jobs for the state.

“There’s about $15 to 20 billion in infrastructure funding out there, and we’ve just scratched the surface,” he said. “I believe we can offer a progressive, more efficient plan in terms of how we can do business in this state.”

Other key policy issues O’Mara outlined in his platform was to build a inclusive culture of entrepreneurship for people of color to build institutional wealth; prepare Brownfields sites for clean manufacturing uses; and reorganize the workforce development system in the state to boost coordination.

With six months to go before the primary, O’Mara has $123,381 saved, according to previous campaign finance reports.

Get the free DBT email newsletter  

Follow the people, companies and issues that matter most to business in Delaware.


You Might also Like

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Premier Digital Partners

© 2024 Delaware Business Times

Flash Sale! Subscribe to Delaware Business Times and save 50%.

Limited time offer. New subscribers only.

Limited time offer. New subscribers only.


Subscribe to Delaware Business Times and save 50%