New Castle County police officer David Neilson announced his candidacy for 11th District State Representative on July 31 at the Blackbird Community Center, running as a Democrat.

No Democratic candidate filed for the office by the July deadline, but the party can still nominate a candidate, and party leaders asked Neilson to run.

“I’m excited the Democrats chose me,” said Neilson. “I’ve lived here for 20 years and I love this place. I would not run if I didn’t think I could make a difference.”

Neilson, 43, lives on a small farm near Townsend with his wife, Erin, and stepson, Colton. David and Erin are also expecting, preparing for the birth of their child later this year.

Neilson will be retiring from the New Castle County Police in October after 20 years with the department where he now serves as a master corporal.

He also races horses, operates a pharmacy for large animals and is certified as an equine dentist.

He’s a member of the Delaware Standardbred Owners Association, the Delaware Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, a life member of the National Rifle Association and a member of Ducks Unlimited.

“My main mission will be to serve the people in the 11th District with problems they’re having with roadways and drainage,” he said, also listing his priorities of helping senior citizens, veterans and farmers.

He said he is experienced with improving public safety.

“As a police officer for 20 years, I know what laws work and what don’t,” he said.

One of the main issues residents have talked to him about is the need for an entrance/exit for Delaware Route 1 in the Townsend area.

At his campaign announcement on Sunday, Neilson was endorsed by state Sen. Bruce Ennis (D – 14th District).

“It gives me great pleasure to endorse Dave Neilson. I think he’ll serve the district well,” said Ennis. “I’m impressed with his knowledge of the issues, especially agriculture preservation. As a New Castle County police officer, he’s well versed in the issues facing the area.”

Neilsen is challenging incumbent Republican Rep. Jeff Spiegelman in the November election. The 11th District covers parts of southwestern New Castle County and northwestern Kent County including the towns of Townsend, Kenton and Hartly.