At-Large City Council Member Rysheema Dixon stepping down

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Dixon, who was elected to the council in November 2016 and again in November 2020, served as the city’s youngest and first African American woman in the At-Large seat.

WILMINGTON (DE) BY DIGITAL STAFF: City Councilmember At-Large Rysheema Dixon publicly announced her resignation from Wilmington City Council during the body’s regular meeting on Thursday, January 6, 2022.

Dixon said that due to her “expanded business endeavors,” she will be unable to serve the remainder of her three-year term on the council. Her resignation is effective Friday, January 7th.

Dixon, who was elected to the council in November 2016 and again in November 2020, served as the city’s youngest and first African American woman in the At-Large seat.

“It has been such a rewarding experience serving on the 107th and 108th sessions of Wilmington City Council, and an honor and privilege to serve the residents of the City of Wilmington,” said Dixon. “To be able to pass legislation/policies, maintain a balanced budget, and help make the city healthier are the reasons why I joined Council; I believe I accomplished what I came in to do.”

Photo | Wilmington City Council | Rysheema Dixon

According to a news release, Dixon’s work for Wilmington’s community started long before she was a politician. From 2009 to 2011, Dixon served two terms of service in Public Allies Delaware, an AmeriCorps program of the University of Delaware Center for Community Research and Service. Her efforts were focused primarily in the Southbridge area where she worked with Wilmington HOPE Commission, Henrietta Johnson Medical Center, Neighborhood House, Elbert-Palmer Elementary School, South Wilmington Planning Network, and other nonprofit organizations to improve quality of life in the Southbridge neighborhood of Wilmington, Delaware. While serving as an elected official, she also worked as an adjunct professor at University of Delaware teaching Introduction to Social Entrepreneurship for the University’s Horn Entrepreneurship program.

In 2011, Dixon founded RD Innovative Planning, a community development consulting business. As the Chief Executive Officer and President, she works with nonprofit organizations and provides personal coaching for entrepreneurs. RD Innovative Planning manages the Wilmington Play Streets summer program on behalf of Christiana Care Health System, which temporarily closes a neighborhood block to traffic and provides play equipment to create safe, fun, and healthy spaces for children, families and neighbors to connect and play right outside their doors.

During her two terms as councilmember at-large, Dixon served as Chair of the Community Development & Urban Planning Committee (2017-2020), Chair of the Health, Aging & Disabilities Committee (2021-2022), and Vice Chair of the Public Safety Committee (2021-2022). Dixon sponsored multiple pieces of legislation; a couple of highlights are the launch of Wilmington’s first disparity study to review the City government’s procurement system. She also sponsored a resolution that urged the Delaware General Assembly to enact legislation that brings up-to-date sex-education standards and curricula, with a particular focus on the inclusion of sexual assault, consent and the development of healthy relationships.

“I’m sad to see her go,” said City Council President Ernest “Trippi” Congo. “I enjoyed the past five years working with her. In her time with Council she’s worked hard for the people in our community. I understand she has business endeavors, and this was a tough choice. I wish her well. Her impact on this community cannot be overlooked. She’s definitely left her mark with us.”

The Wilmington City Council is now requesting letters of interest for the vacancy left by Dixon, whose term was set to expire in 2024. Pursuant to the City Charter, since the vacancy occurs in the office of a councilmember at-large, the new member may come from any place in the city but must be of the democratic political party – the same political party as that of the councilmember whose office has become vacant.

To qualify to fill the vacancy, an applicant must be twenty-five (25) years of age or older, a citizen of the United Sates, and a qualified elector of the city for at least one year.

Those residents interested in filling the vacancy have until February 7, 2022, to submit resumes and letters of intent to the following email address: CouncilVacancy@wilmingtonde.gov

Letters of interest can also be submitted by mail to:
Wilmington City Council
Louis L. Redding City/County Building
800 N. French Street, 9th Floor, Wilmington, DE 19801

Letters sent via mail must be postmarked by February 7, 2022.

The Committee of the Whole of Wilmington City Council shall be charged with reviewing letters of interest from qualified residents seeking to fill the seat, interviewing qualified persons, and recommending a candidate to fill the Council vacancy in accordance with the procedure outlined in the City Charter section 2-34.

Dixon said she wishes “the 108th session the best as they look for a new at-large council member.”

For more information on the selection process, visit Wilmington City Council’s website at www.wilmingtoncitycouncil.com.

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