New Castle County Executive Chris Coons vows to bring “new energy and a new approach” to Washington.

New Castle County Executive Chris Coons, a Democrat, today announced that he has filed papers with the Federal Elections Commission to become a candidate for Delaware’s open seat in the U.S. Senate in 2010. Coons will formally launch his campaign with a traditional three-county tour later in February.

“People here in Delaware are hurting, and Congress has failed to deliver the change we voted for in 2008. I’m running to bring new energy and a new approach to Washington,” Coons said.     “Before I was elected in 2004, the county government was mired in scandal. I restored integrity and confidence in county government. I cut wasteful spending, helped businesses to create jobs, and made our communities safer. I want to take my strong track record of getting real results to the U.S. Senate because the people of Delaware deserve leadership that represents their values.”

As New Castle County executive, Coons represents approximately 530,000 people – two-thirds of Delaware’s population.

Coons, 46, grew up in Hockessin, and now lives in Wilmington with his wife, Annie, and their three young children, Michael, Jack and Maggie. He received degrees from Amherst College, Yale Law School, and Yale Divinity School. Coons worked as in-house counsel for W.L. Gore & Associates, the Delaware-based company that makes GORE-TEX® fabrics and other innovative materials. He has also worked with several nonprofits, including the National Coalition for the Homeless, the education-oriented “I Have a Dream” Foundation, and the South African Council of Churches.

Coons was elected County Council president in 2000, then County executive in 2004, following a three-way primary and competitive general election. He won re-election without opposition in the general election of 2008.

Coons’ camp stated in a press release that Coons used his years of experience in the private sector to cut more than $130 million in government spending and trimmed the size of government by more than 100 positions. Under Coons’ leadership, the release stated, the county helped businesses to create hundreds of jobs, has cleaned up more than 70 of the worst properties, and launched a new Safe Streets partnership to remove violent parole offenders from neighborhoods.

Republican response
Republicans quickly responded to Coons’ announcement, stating that Rep. Mike Castle (R-Delaware) is the best choice for the seat.

National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) spokesman Colin Reed issued the following statement regarding the Senate candidacy of Democrat New Castle County Executive Chris Coons:

“As the last-minute choice of the Democrat establishment in Washington, Chris Coons represents nothing more than another loyal foot-soldier for the increasingly unpopular Democrat agenda of higher taxes, out-of-control spending, increasing deficits, and government-run health care.

“Throughout his career as New Castle County Executive, Coons has pushed for a wide variety of tax hikes – including higher property taxes, hotel taxes, sewer taxes, and even taxes on 911 calls. During these uncertain economic times, we simply cannot afford another elected official committed to raising taxes on the hardworking families, seniors and small business owners in Delaware.

“For his entire career, Mike Castle has served as an independent voice for the people of Delaware and worked across the aisle to come up with real solutions for voters in his state. The unwillingness of the Vice President’s son to run for the seat formerly held by his father for nearly four decades highlights the incredibly toxic political environment facing Democrat candidates this fall, and we’re confident that voters will reject Chris Coons’ tax-and-spend agenda and elect Mike Castle to the U.S. Senate in November.”