david carter

A longtime activist is running for New Castle County Council in hopes of representing an area that spans both sides of the canal.

David Carter lived his entire life in New Castle County and has lived on a protected farm in Townsend for the last 18 years. Spanning from Bear, north of Summit Bridge and down to Smyrna, he called the 6th district, an area with a burgeoning population that's been under-served.

"The time has come where we have to have somebody who's much more actively working with our communities, much more actively working with our towns and advocating for the needs and the services that we really do need...and I think we deserve," he said.

South of the canal is in need of a regional park, a library, and a paramedic station, all three of which have been points of contention. Affordable housing is another key area in need of growth.  

"A library would be great; parks are critical. I would really like to work and to see the county develop some form of a land protection program, whether that's a formal ag program or something else."

But the Democrat acknowledged he's one of 13--all representing districts with varying needs.

"You do have to serve your constituents, but you also are elected to serve the whole county, but you have to keep your district in that context...to be successful you still have to see the big picture of the whole county."

The county faces significant financial challenges with a proposed 15 percent property tax hike and a 12 percent sewer fee hike on the table.

"I think it's an awful lot at once," said Carter.

Carter said he's concerned by a burden he claimed was left behind by the Gordon administration.

"I'm hoping there are savings...but it looks likely there will have to eventually be some form of either serious cuts in services or some modest tax increases--that's just a horrible reality that we're facing," he said. "If we really do want a park and really do want a library, which I believe we need, and we need a new paramedics unit, you have to be able to pay for it, and if the county is really strapped, new things are probably going to be very early on the chopping list."

Carter said he'd been toying with running for office since he left DNREC as an environmental manager in 2012, but instead he went on to get his doctorate in public policy and administration at the University of Delaware, where he also adjunct teaches. Now, in 2018, he's launching a grassroots campaign in an effort to unseat longtime incumbent Bill Powers.

"I'm going to take a good shot at it," he said. "It's kind of, oddly, maybe the job I've been training for and practicing for and preparing for my whole life," he said, describing his education and governmental and advocacy work.

"I see a certain urgency, I see the window closing of making sure that we can maintain a lot of the wonderful things that we have in this area of the county, and to avoid a lot of the mistakes that we've made that have led to traffic problems and inequities north of the canal," he said.

If elected, Carter pledged to a be a devoted advocate for his constituents.

"I've been fighting for communities for many, many years...I've been outspoken on good government; I've tried to hold government accountable...I will do everything I can to listen to [my constituents] and adjust to [their] needs," he said. "I am out three or four nights a week as a hobby working for communities and advocating, if that becomes a six- or seven-night-a-week [job]....it's just something that not only do I think I'd be very good at it, it's something that I just truly love to do."