City Councilman Derek Slaughter will be seeking the Democratic nomination for mayor of Williamsport in the May 21 primary election. Derek brings a broad background and experience to the table in spite of his somewhat young age.
Born and raised in Williamsport, Derek graduated from Williamsport Area High School in 1999. His high school Spanish teacher, Mrs. Randall, had piqued his interest in the language, but he also had developed a love for computers, but not necessarily programming. This led to his degree in 2003 from Pennsylvania State University with a B.S. in Information Sciences and Technology along with a minor in Spanish.
His freshman roommate was from Venezuela, and it sparked Derek’s international interest enough that he did a semester in Spain in 2003. He stayed at a home that hosted students from around the world, which was a fantastic experience for the young man. He got to spend time with students from Japan, Italy, Germany, and other countries, which was a phenomenal experience.
Derek felt that he was called to teach, so he, in 2005, he earned his Master of Education degree from the University of Maryland. He taught third grade in Maryland for a year and then taught elementary school for two years in the DC area. It was rewarding work, especially as he got to coach basketball all this time as well, but after some seven years away, he felt a call back home. A position popped up in Roosevelt Middle School, and it also gave him the possibility to coach basketball — an extra bonus!
Derek also had a political itch he had to scratch. He was exposed to both sides of the spectrum when it came to politics as his mother was strongly conservative, growing up on a rural Pennsylvania farm, and his father grew up in a very heavily liberal section of Philadelphia. Derek learned at an early age to find value in both positions.
Working as a schoolteacher and basketball coach, Derek found himself hearing about the concerns of the community. He was already active on the boards of both the Greater Lycoming Habitat for Humanity and the Lycoming County United Way, but he felt he could do more, and explored running for city office.
Derek began by attending meetings and then met with various community leaders to hear their concerns about the direction of the city. Derek’s educational background drew him to learn more about what might be involved in being in office, and in 2014 he decided to attend a government training in Harrisburg. It was an eye-opening experience and convinced him that he could take the plunge. In 2017 he ran and won a position for Williamsport City Council.
Derek’s drive is to get the younger generation involved in the process of change. Though only 38 years old, he has already learned the hard lessons that nothing can be taken for granted. As one who has taught teamwork for years, he knows the importance of cooperation and that good results generally come as a result of hard work.
Derek Slaughter views Williamsport as a strong city with huge potential, but it needs new energy and focus. He hopes to bring more transparency into city government, and also develop an environment that will attract and nurture businesses that will provide sustainable jobs. His information management background also drives him to look at modernizing and streamlining the functions of the local government.
Is he ready for the mayor’s office? The better question might be, is anyone? But given Derek Slaughter’s broad experience at such a young age, he certainly is as qualified as anyone.