Hello my friend!
My family has been in Delaware since 1919. I am the son of a teacher and a retired member of the Air Force who later worked as foreman for Boeing. I was raised within a vibrant community of neighbors. Seeing the conditions of my neighborhood deteriorate– I realized that my community deserved better. This is why over the last twenty years, I’ve focused on ensuring that all of our neighbors and families have everything they need to be successful and thrive.
My mom’s philosophy was always ‘I see, I do.’ So when I see an opportunity to improve the lives of Delawareans, I’m going to jump in and do something about it. This led to my call to service 20 years ago. I saw kids in our neighborhoods facing the same obstacles many of us faced growing up. That’s when I decided to do something about it. I co-founded Delaware Elite, a program to provide our young people with educational enrichment and leadership training.
I knew to really move Delaware forward, more work needed to be done. From there I co-founded Network Delaware and also became the President/CEO of the Metropolitan Wilmington Urban League. With these two organizations and others we gained massive grassroots victories, including passing a $15 minimum wage, increasing maternal and infant health access, and strengthening renters’ rights in Delaware.
Currently I serve in the Governor’s cabinet as the Director of the Delaware State Housing Authority, where I’m focused on addressing the concerns of working families who can’t afford rent or with those who have a dream for themselves or their children of owning a home of their own. That’s why I led the push to boost the state’s investment in affordable housing from $10 million to $122 million. It’s a start, but we need to do more.
I’m lucky to have “married up.” My wife, Dr. Nicole Jones Young, is a professor at Franklin & Marshall College. We have two amazing kids named Madison and Mason.
Hello my friend!
I’m currently the Director of the Delaware State Housing Authority where I’ve led the push to grow our state’s investment in affordable housing from $10 million to $122 million. Previously, I served as the President and CEO of the Metropolitan Wilmington Urban League and co-founded Network Delaware, a grassroots civic leadership development organization.
Along with countless others in these organizations we started a movement of transformational development programs that led to Delaware leading the nation in electing Black and LGBTQ state legislators over the past three elections. These groups also laid the foundation for the passage of a $15 minimum wage, reduced the ‘vicious cycle’ of debtors’ prisons, improved housing rights, added immigrant rights protections in cities, and increased maternal support in hospitals.
My call to service began about 20 years ago when I looked around the neighborhood I grew up in and it was still facing the same issues. I decided to do something about it by co-founding Delaware Elite, a youth leadership development program that provided inner-city youth with academic enrichment, leadership training, and college access. I had to work overnight shifts at the Hotel DuPont cleaning shoes and picking up dry cleaning in order to spend all my time and money on teaching kids how to personally and academically develop.
I’m lucky to have “married up.” My wife Dr. Nicole Jones Young, is a professor at Franklin & Marshall. We have two amazing kids named Madison and Mason.
Why I’m Running
I’m running for Congress because for the last 20 years I’ve had this saying in the back of my head that asks “What are you gonna do about it Eugene?”
I was sitting around the table with two of my closest friends, Logan and Shannon, talking about the issues in our community. Shannon was worried for his 10 year old son and what he was seeing in his community. People were having a tough time with medical bills, struggling with addiction, experiencing gun violence, and wanting a high quality education for their kids.
After some discussion I heard from across the room my friend’s mom, Mama Toni as I affectionately call her, said “What are you gonna do about it?”
She said it wasn’t enough to just talk, but we needed to do something to make a positive change in our communities. This idea of “gotta do something about it” has been my motto ever since.
I was 22 and the first thing I did was I went flat broke for ten years to start a nonprofit organization for kids with those two friends. I worked overnight shifts at the Hotel DuPont cleaning shoes and picking up dry cleaning in order to focus all my free time on teaching kids how to personally and academically develop.
I realized though that one person or even one organization is not enough to tackle the tough issues facing our community.
We have too many people unsure how they’ll pay for their healthcare or that of their parents. We have too many people deciding whether to pay their rent/mortgage or pay their electric bill. We have too many people having to leave their own neighborhood in order to send their kids to a good school.
That’s why a group of us said “we gotta do something about it” and we started an organization called Network Delaware to train people across our state on how to civically engage with existing organizations, how to run for office, and how to push for policy change.
This led to Delaware leading the nation in electing Black and LGBTQ state legislators over the past three elections. Through Network Delaware we also hosted issue campaigns and groups that led to the passage of a $15 minimum wage, reduced the cycle of debtors’ prisons, gave tenant rights to legal counsel, and increased Black maternal support in hospitals.
Then during the COVID-19 crisis so many individuals and families deeply struggled with getting affordable housing. So again I heard that call “what are you gonna do about it Eugene?”
As President/CEO of the Metropolitan Wilmington Urban League and now through my position as Delaware’s Director of Housing I built a coalition to push for housing rights. We did this through increasing our affordable housing budget from $10 million to $122 million, ushering in Delaware’s first bill to provide tenants the right of representation, adding language in our development programs ensuring contracts for Minority Business Enterprises, and through the allocation of tens of millions of dollars to redevelop blight in neglected communities.
However, it’s not enough to just change state policy. We also have to change federal policy and build a nationwide sense of urgency.
I’m running for Congress because I still believe we’re a state of neighbors.
When both you and your neighbor thrive, we all thrive.
Together, we can achieve a state where each of us gets the healthcare we deserve, which allows families to care for their parents and loved ones.
Together, we can achieve a state where all communities have access to good paying jobs, which reduces crime through stabilized neighborhoods.
Together, we can achieve a state where we all enjoy a clean environment regardless of the city we live in, which brings down our high cancer rates.
Together, we can achieve a state where everyone gets the reproductive services they need, which allows people to make the best decisions for themselves and their family.
Together, we can achieve a state where every child receives an excellent education no matter their zip code, which creates a local pipeline straight to our business community.
We need to build a bridge to bring people and resources together. Neighbors who aren’t afraid to stand up and fight for each other.
And that’s why I’m running. I am making good on my promise to “do something about it” for the last 20 years with an amazing group of people, and I’m looking forward to building on that effort in Congress.
Delaware, let’s rise together.