DOVER — LaVaughn McCutchen was one of the many citizens who rallied in Dover to protest social injustice in the wake of the death of George Floyd at the knee of a police officer in Minneapolis in May.
The feeling of camaraderie that Mr. McCutchen shared at those protests with other like-minded community members made him want to do more for his hometown.
That’s why he filed in January to run for the Dover City Council at-large seat that will soon be vacated by longtime Councilman Tim Slavin. He will face off against a pair of first-time candidates for public office in Andre Boggerty and Michael Lewis in Dover’s municipal election April 20.
“As far as an impact those (protests) had, (it was) a major, positive one,” Mr. McCutchen said. “I actually had a reporter contact me, and I did a TV interview. It also played a part with me running for office, also, because I feel no voice is too small to be heard.
“And with the position that I am trying to obtain (on City Council), I am trying to unify Dover and bring everyone together to make the city a great place.”
Mr. McCutchen, 28, is a graduate of Dover High School and Delaware Technical Community College. He is now a teacher in the Capital School District.
“What made me choose to run for a seat on Dover City Council is because I’m a lifelong resident of Dover,” he said. “I remember how prestigious the city was, and I remember going downtown on weekends to shop with family and friends.
“That’s the feeling that I intend to bring back, that kind of joy to the city of Dover. My goal is to bring the city together as a whole and for the community to have pride in this great city of ours.”
Mr. McCutchen joins Mr. Boggerty, Mr. Lewis and Tricia Arndt as political newcomers hoping to secure seats on Dover City Council.
With the filing and petition deadline for candidates interested in running in the April 20 election coming to an end Friday, Mr. Boggerty, Mr. Lewis and Mr. McCutchen have emerged as the only contested race on the ballot.
Gerald Rocha Sr. (1st District), Council President Bill Hare (2nd District), Fred Neil (3rd District) and David Anderson (4th District) will all be reelected to their seats, after no opponents have stepped up to challenge them. Ms. Arndt is also running uncontested in the special 3rd District election to fill former Councilman Scott Cole’s seat.
While Mr. McCutchen lacks political experience, he believes a vote for him is a vote for the city of Dover as it moves forward.
“I have never held a political position, but nonetheless, I feel that I am up for the job,” he said. “I bring to the table the knowledge of being a lifelong resident of the city, so I feel I know the ins and outs of Dover. I also bring fresh ideas to the table that will get the city moving forward and (in) the right direction, especially during this terrible global pandemic.
“I think what will make me stand out as a candidate is my work ethic. I will fight tooth and nail for what’s right for this great city of ours. I generally have the best interest at heart for our city. I’m aiming to have the historical beauty be seen for this city.”
Right now, Mr. McCutchen said he sees a lot of homelessness, drug abuse and violence taking place on the streets of Dover. He wants to help the city return to being a welcoming place for everybody.
“My favorite thing about the summer growing up was the African American Festival,” he said. “It was great to see friends, family, all the food vendors and all races engaging and having fun, not just African Americans.
“As far as people such as myself running for office, I would hope that I’m an inspiration to anyone who would like to seek public office. I’d love to see anyone push for change for what they believe in.”