Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki announced today that he will not seek re-election to a third term in 2024.
In a letter to “the people of Wilmington,” he gives his age as a big reason for the decision. “My difficulty in committing to another term that would begin 15 months from now is in continuing to undertake such a demanding job at the age of 78,” he wrote.
After Purzycki made his announcement, Gov. John Carney said he was “seriously considering” running for mayor, delawareonline.com reported.
“Former City Treasurer Velda Jones-Potter is running for mayor in 2024,” it continued. “She lost to Purzycki in the 2020 Democratic primary.”
Before Purzycki was elected as the 57th mayor of Delaware’s largest city, he served as executive director of the Riverfront Development Corp., which led the efforts to transform an industrial wasteland along the the Christina into the thriving Wilmington Riverfront.
The city has a three-term limit for mayors.
Mayor Mike Purzycki’ s Letter to the People of Wilmington
As I reach the end of my second term as your mayor, I am of course confronted with the question of whether or not to seek a third term. I have been ambivalent recently; the answer largely depends on the day I am asked. But make no mistake, I love this magnificent job of managing and growing Wilmington each and every day and making it the very best version of itself possible.
This administration can be so proud of its successes. We have enjoyed unparalleled economic development throughout the city, some of the best crime statistics in decades, and we have made tens of millions of dollars in parks and infrastructure investments. Along with DelDOT we have resurfaced over 46 miles of streets. We have made massive investments in affordable housing, funded clean teams in our neighborhoods, all as we enjoy an excellent financial condition. And if that is not enough, our HBCU college fair has opened the door to college for over 6,000 of our children and provided over $35 million in scholarships so they can attend historically black colleges and universities. No objective observer of Wilmington would ever suggest that things have not dramatically improved under this administration’s watch.
My difficulty in committing to another term that would begin 15 months from now is in continuing to undertake such a demanding job at the age of 78. While my health is generally good, I am, for the first time in my life, aware of my age. True, I can take some time away from the job—but people should understand that the job of mayor never lets you go. And Bette and I now have four small grandchildren who occupy a large part of our lives and our hearts. Selfishly, I want them to remember me.
So, with deep regret but with satisfaction that this is the right decision, I am announcing that I will not be a candidate for mayor in 2024. I am hopeful, of course, that the right candidate will step forward to run. The city deserves and needs a qualified and effective chief executive who will remove disabling politics and self-dealing from the role of governance. I want to be able to support that candidate—not only one who can win but one who can govern and continue to bring the city together. Someone with a positive vision for the city and mostly the demonstrated ability to execute that vision. While many seek to be mayor, few seem to appreciate the skills and experience needed to do the job.
I know I am letting some people down. Especially the people who have depended on me to stay on as their mayor, have committed to support me, and for whom I have the deepest respect and affection. I can only hope they understand and can support my decision.
I finish this term with gratitude to the people of the city who have entrusted me with this enormous responsibility. In the meantime, let’s not forget that we still have 15 months left to serve. We can do so much good in that time and leave to our residents a government they can continue to be proud of.
Thank you all!
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