Candidates get the final say before next week’s elections

Voters will certainly have plenty to think about during this year’s mid-term elections, taking place next Tuesday, Nov. 4. As is our tradition, we have sent off a few questions to the candidates in our local elections, and here are the responses we received back before we went to press. Each candidate is listed in alphabetical order for each office.

County Council

District 5

Rob Arlett (R)

Q. What qualifies you for the position of county councilman?

A. Almost everything in my life to this point qualifies me for this leadership job. I have served my country; I have studied and learned in university and in life what works and my wife, Lorna, and I have raised two healthy and successful boys. I own my own business, am involved with my community and have taken leadership positions in our political process, Realtors associations, my community and my state. I am a principled person, have a strong sense of what is ethical and I am not afraid to think out of the box. I believe we can do so much more with Sussex County and I know I have the energy and ideas to deliver.

Q. What do you see as the most important thing to accomplish in the next two years?

A. We have to immediately get the ball rolling on economic development. This includes working with organizations at all levels, the business community, our state leaders, our environmental leaders and the general community.

Increasing development and maintaining the environment is not an either/or proposition. We can attract new business to Sussex if we offer initiatives, tax breaks and work closely with state agencies to ease up on the mountain of regulations.

Q. What makes you the right selection for this seat?

A. I strongly believe that Sussex County needs new energy and ideas. I honor the people who have lived here all of their lives, but sometimes the old ways get stuck in the past. I have the qualifications, knowledge, principles and energy to bring creativity to the process.

Sussex County is a gem and it has been languishing too long, especially in mid- and western Sussex, while waiting for another DuPont to come along. Members of the council should be thinking about bringing prosperity to their citizens — all of them, not just to their own businesses. We need to engage all of the leaders in the larger community, including business leaders, education leaders and state agencies. I can bring people together and network for a more prosperous county. We can do better!

Bob Wheatley (D)

Q. What qualifies you for the position of county councilman?

A. I graduated with honors from Salisbury University with a bachelor of science degree in business administration. With 20 years’ County-level experience on the Sussex County Planning & Zoning Commission, the last nine as chairman, I’m uniquely qualified to serve on County Council.

My business experiences have provided me with the sound fiscal and management skills needed to do the job. With 30 years’ experience in economic development, I know what is needed to attract new companies and expand existing ones. My 35 years as a community advocate testifies to my abiding concern for all Sussex Countians. I am a proven leader in county government, in business and in the community, with the ability to think creatively to develop solutions that make life better for the people of Sussex County.

Q. What you see as the most important thing to accomplish in the next two years?

A. The two most pressing issues are jobs and land use. The total budget for the County’s economic development effort is $123,000, 75 percent of which is consumed by the new director’s salary and fringe benefits.

County Council really has no discernible vision for economic development, so let’s reinvent economic development in Sussex, making it a function of the whole community. Let’s invest what is left in the budget in a public-private partnership initiative including the County, towns, educational institutions and existing businesses.

With the County and each member contributing financially, there will be funds for programs to address broadband access, utilities and other essentials to attract new manufacturing jobs and expand existing companies, and to promote Sussex County. Let’s leverage our financial and creative resources to get more bang for our job-creation buck.

Land use is a broad issue with many components, including drainage, access to water ways, environmental protection, planning and property rights. Let’s establish a framework for addressing them. Land-use issues have multiple stakeholders — landowners, developers, neighbors and so on. Everyone’s property rights must be considered; the right to use one’s property within the rules and the right to quiet enjoyment of one’s property free of undue hindrance by others.

With that in mind, County Council should explore these issues by assessing the extent and severity of the problem, determine the cause and possible cures, assess the cost/benefit to those affected, look for any unintended consequences that could result, decide what to do, if anything, then do it.

Q. What makes you the right selection for this seat?

A. The issues facing Sussex County are too important to be left to partisan politics. I have been reappointed to the Sussex County Planning & Zoning Commission six times by Republicans and Democrats alike because they know that I am a Sussex Countian first. Adding to that 30 years of business and job-creation experience and 35 years as a community advocate, I know the history and the people that I have been serving in one capacity or another all of my adult life.

I will bring an unmatched combination of experience and fresh ideas to County Council as, in the words of President John F. Kennedy, “We seek not the Democrat solutions nor the Republican solutions, but the right solutions” for the issues facing Sussex County.

District 4

George Cole (R)

Q. What qualifies you for the position of county councilman?

A. I am currently the incumbent. I have served in that position for over 20 years. I have been involved in formulating county land-use plans, the creation of the paramedic service, and the 911 system at the County level. I have worked with all the State agencies that provide recommendations to the County on land-use decision. I have represented the State of Delaware on Board of Directors of the National Association of Counties for over 12 years, dealing with county issues on a national level.

Q. What do you see as the most important thing to accomplish in the next two years?

A. I want to get the County to partner with the Delaware Department of Natural Resources & Environmental Control’s [DNREC’s] Sussex Conservation District. There are many areas that are experiencing flooding problems. I do not want the County to start a drainage department, which would need staffing. The State already has a drainage department and currently lacks the funding to add additional staff to be able to address the flooding issue. The County could subsidize DNREC’s program so they could hire the additional staff and equipment to help with drainage and flooding. That is most cost-effective way to address the problem.

The second issue is the need for a “carrying capacity study,” for the congested areas throughout the county. Due to the recent growth in the coastal area and elsewhere, the county is experiencing traffic gridlock and other infrastructure deficiencies. The study would identify the problems and possible solutions. This study would be very important for future rezoning and sewer expansion projects. It would be a great tool for the future land-use planner and help with updating the county land-use plan.

Q. What makes you the right selection for this seat?

A. My opponent thinks experience is important. I agree. She points to her six years in the state legislature. Trying to regain her old position, she has been rejected by the voters three times. I have had 28 years’ experience and have not been rejected by the voters. This is not by accident. On the issues of development, she is for planned growth. She wants to protect the waterways. She likes low taxes… Who doesn’t? The voters are smart enough to realize those statements are easy to make.

My record is current and hers is 12 years old. I have been in the forefront on those issues. I have a clear record fighting for lower densities, wetland setbacks and more. Yes, experience counts. I am clearly the most qualified, the most experienced and will not require a “learning curve” for the job.

Shirley Price (D)

Q. What qualifies you for the position of county councilwoman?

A. My three terms in the state legislature and my proven track record of helping people in all segments of our communities make me well-qualified for service on the County Council. Having lived here all my life, my leadership roles have included the Cheer Services Board of Directors since 1997, South Coastal DE AARP—Co-Chair Scholarship Committee, Delaware Seashore Preservation Foundation and the Citizen’s Advisory Committee—Center for the Inland Bays.

I know the importance of being visible in the area and hearing from all groups. My work with the Bethany-Fenwick Chamber of Commerce Board and many other advisory boards has given me a unique opportunity to understand the landscape of commerce in the county and the needs of small business. I got my feet wet in small business in our family’s Murray’s Bait & Tackle. My service in state government will help me succeed in bringing bring more state resources to Sussex County to help solve our problems.

Q. What do you see as the most important thing to accomplish in the next two years?

A. The most important issue is the overwhelming growth that is poised to overtake us without the necessary infrastructure, provision for transportation or even drainage requirements. The residents of Sussex deserve a certified land use planner on staff, and we must give this person the authority to do their job… to provide County Council with information on best management practices. We need to work with our towns and the State to better coordinate and grow smartly. This must be a priority.

Q. What makes you the right selection for this seat?

A. A vote for me is a vote to change Sussex County Council. It is a vote for a commonsense approach to government. It is a vote for planned development that accounts for traffic, impact on our bays and waterways, and infrastructure needs. It is a vote for someone who understands the needs of our senior population and their need for transportation and the ability to stay in their own homes as they age. It is a vote for transparency in county government, and that means a strong code of ethics, which has a written disclosure of personal holdings that might pose a conflict of interest.

My opponent has been on County Council for 28 years. During that time we have not seen much progress in planning for growth. We need a change from business as usual. I have the passion and determination to follow my goals until we see progress. A vote for me will mean something.

State Representative

37th District

Ruth Briggs King (R)

Q. What qualifies you for this position?

A. My diverse background in business, education and executive leadership for trade associations has provided me with a solid foundation and experience in several different areas, including medical, education, banking and housing. I have worked throughout Delaware, as well as volunteer in our community. I have been in positions of leadership and learned to listen, to ask questions, to make decisions based on good information and to comprise.

These skills are essential for an effective representative. I genuinely care about our community and our people which are central to being a responsible and responsive representative. Simply put: experience and knowledge of Delaware and our district matters in the legislature when representing local concerns.

Q. What do you see as the most important thing to accomplish in the next two years?

A. The sluggish economy and lack of job opportunities remains a major challenge to Delaware’s workforce. The business climate in Delaware, including rampant regulations, increasing tax obligations, fees and cost of business are hurting business and workers. I will continue efforts to create a more business friendly state so Delaware can recover like other states that have rebounded more quickly. Delaware works best when Delawareans work.

Second, public safety, which includes infrastructure improvements for roads and waterways, are priority items for our district. Improving intersections, addressing congestion on John J. Williams Highway and drainage projects need to move forward. These issues are work in progress, and I want to continue the momentum that makes a big difference.

Q. What should voters know before making this important decision?

A. Voters make a decision based on likeability and confidence in a candidate. They place their faith and their vote in the person who demonstrates leadership, integrity, knowledge and experience in representing their concerns. I am committed to watching the bottom line and the hidden costs that impact taxpayers and voters in the 37th District. I am vigilant and seek to protect voters from proposed taxes and fees which impact their home, business and finances.

I promise to continue my work to provide for a better business climate, a safer community and maintain our quality of life. I promise to continue my commitment to read all legislation, to maintain close contacts in the community with frequent meetings and to survey the district on key issues. I am reminded of a quote: “When you keep your promises, you set a pattern of behavior that assures others they can do business with you.” I promise to work with and for the district in Dover. I have and will continue to keep my promises.

Paulette Rappa (D)

Q. What qualifies you for this position?

A. As an educator, I am trained to problem-solve and collaborate with a team to meet the needs of others. That is the primary role of a legislator — to feel the pulse of the community and respond with measures or resources that improve the quality of life. Furthermore, as a mother of eight, I have become quite adept at conflict management, time management, listening and networking — skills that will transfer to legislative hall.

Q. What do you see as the most important thing to accomplish in the next two years?

A. I would like to have manufactured homes deeded instead of titled, to help manufactured-home owners capitalize on the investment they have made in their homes. Because Sussex County is rapidly increasing in population particularly in the 65-and-older age category, I would like to increase resources or expand existing programming that would address the needs of an aging population. And lastly, I would like to research and network to the various stakeholders that would be involved in developing and building a four-year college in Sussex County.

Q. What should voters know before making this important decision?

A. Voters should be angry with the bickering and games that both parties play in Washington, and they should expect their representatives to be individuals that can address issues and work in a collaborative effort to achieve progress on their constituents’ behalf. Voters should examine the qualifications and interest of a prospective candidate and not consider party. A legislator that can feel the pulse of her community and has the ability to work with others across the aisle is a legislator that can exact real change in Sussex County.

Who best to represent manufactured housing than a person who lives in one with a lease? Who better to represent seniors, than a wife of a senior? Who better to understand education, than an educator and a mother of a child in the system. And who better to build relationships with both parties in Dover than the candidate that is endorsed by both the current Speaker of the House, Pete Schwarztkoph (D), and former speaker of the House Terry Spence, a Republican. I am a candidate that will address the issues and be a strong voice in Dover for middle-class values.

41st District

John Atkins (D)

Q. What qualifies you for this position?

A. As a born-and-raised Sussex Countian and a small-businessman, it’s been my mission to do right by my neighbors and help make our community better for my three sons and all the families we share it with. I’ve found the best way to do that is to make it as easy as possible for people to talk to me, listen to what they have to say, and always follow through when you’re asked to help someone.

In the most recent legislative session, I supported efforts to make our government more transparent and accountable to the people, helped drive down worker’s compensation costs for our small businesses and voted to toughen penalties for child predators. I’m also proud of legislation I sponsored that protects our right to fly the American flag at our homes, anywhere and anytime, as well as a bill to protect patients undergoing kidney dialysis by raising standards for facilities that provide this care.

At the district level, I’ve always made it a priority to ensure our local roads are consistently maintained and improved, and that the organizations that serve our seniors get the state funding they need to do the great work we rely on them for.

Q. What do you see as the most important thing to accomplish in the next two years?

A. Our biggest challenge continues to be job creation and the need to spur investment and economic development statewide, but particularly in Sussex County.

In my community, I’ve advocated in favor of proposed poultry plant in Millsboro that would bring $100 million worth of private investment funding and hundreds of jobs to the area. The economic impact of this facility would extend far beyond the workers at the site and their families, creating new demand for services and support from a variety of locally owned and operated businesses, such as Bunting’s Garage in Dagsboro, Mumford’s Sheet Metal in Selbyville, Marvel’s Portable Welding in Frankford and, of course, Intervet/Merck in Millsboro. When opportunities like this come along, we can’t let them pass by.

Q. What should voters know before making this important decision?

A. I know this community, its history and its values. I understand what’s important to the families who live and work here, and I have the experience to know how to get answers from state government when we need them and push for changes when necessary.

Rich Collins (R)

Q. What qualifies you for the position of State Representative?

A. For years, I have been researching critical issues in Delaware government and reporting them to the public. Just today, Monday, Oct. 27, I reported that actual state revenues declined over 4 percent for the last fiscal year, and are down another 14 percent for the first two months of this fiscal year. Although these numbers were contained in a report given monthly to sitting legislators by the state finance department, my opponent didn’t know what I was talking about. He obviously has never studied these important reports and thus can’t make informed votes on issues concerning state finances.

Q. What do you see as the most important thing to accomplish in the next two years?

A. To get the economy moving and bring some good jobs to the 41st District. The easiest way to accomplish that is by reforming the regulatory system.

For years, elected officials have had no say in how regulations are created or enforced. Thus, citizens can’t vote out of office those who are doing the most harm to the economy. As one of the people’s representatives, I am ready and willing to take on this responsibility. I will work to reform the laws that give regulators their power so that citizens know who to blame when damaging regulations are imposed. This is how we can restore power to the people.

Q. What makes you the right selection for this seat?

A. As a retired farmer, a former teacher and a small-business owner, I have had a wide variety of experiences that equip me for government service during difficult financial times. I am willing to put in 10- to 12-hour days, and I am passionate about protecting the liberties and improving the lives of the citizens of the 41st District.

I am a loving husband, father, grandfather, and family man. I also believe I have the personal integrity to restore faith in the Delaware government. Our nation was founded as a Judeo/Christian nation, and since we have excluded God from our government, there has been a notable decline in our moral standards and our culture.

Recorder of Deeds

Scott Dailey (R)

Q. What qualifies you for this position?

A. The primary role of the Recorder of Deeds is to oversee a staff of 14 with an annual operating budget of over $1 million. My experience in small-business management allows me to manage personnel and resources in an efficient manner. I have the experience as a business manager to keep the office running smoothly and effectively. The staff I have in place has hundreds of years of combined experience in land records management.

Q. What do you see as the most important thing to accomplish in the next four years?

A. I would like to continue to modernize the office and maximize the revenue generated by the office.

Q. What should voters know before making this important decision?

A. First, good management is essential to keep the office running effectively and efficiently. In the last four years, my staff and I have saved my Sussex County neighbors over $375,000 by running the office under budget. I will use my business experience to continue to run the office in a fiscally conservative way.

Second, modernization is a big task for the Recorder’s office. When I took office in 2011, the office had electronic images for deeds back to 2002. At the end of my first term, we will have electronic images for deeds back to 1952. We now accept electronic filings at the office. I want to continue to preserve our records and make them available on line.

Third, protecting the office is a constant struggle. The Recorder’s office generates millions in fees each year for Sussex County. Big government legislators in Dover have repeatedly tried to eliminate this office so that the money would go to the State and not the County. As a Republican, I don’t answer to the party politics that control Dover, and I will fight to keep the revenue in Sussex County, where it belongs.

Alma Roach (D)

Q. What qualifies you for this position?

A. I have 30-plus years as a title searcher/paralegal for the law firm Fuqua, Yori & Willard, P.A. I would like to share the knowledge I have gathered over the past three decades and use it to help others. Sussex County, through land ownership, is steeped with history; I learn something new every day!

Q. What do you see as the most important thing to accomplish in the next four years?

A. Accountability: Public service is No. 1 priority! I will be in the office on a daily basis. Let me share my 30 years’ experience and be there for you to answer your questions or to assist the staff with efficient delivery of public service in a friendly, knowledgeable manner.

Outreach: As Recorder of Deeds, I’ll start a new public information program to familiarize you with “How to Retrieve Land Record Documents and Information,” and “How to read your Important Property Documents,” to make the Recorder of Deeds Office easier to understand and utilize.

Q. What should voters know before making this important decision?

A. I have a passion for the history of Sussex County. The history through land ownership resides in the Recorder of Deeds Office. I have worked in this office title-searching more than half of my life; I know what this office is all about before election day; vote for me, Alma C. Roach as your Recorder of Deeds and I will hit the ground running after election day!

Register of Wills

Greg Fuller (D)

Q. What qualifies you for this position?

A. I have run for office two other times, both times for row offices, and was appointed in 2008 to serve the last two years of the Register of Wills, who had been elected to the legislative body. In addition, I have over 30 years of supervisory, managerial and administrative experience with the State of Delaware & the U. S. military. I have an associate’s in Biblical studies, an associate of arts in general studies, a bachelor of science in criminal justice and master’s in administration of justice, with a concentration in homeland security.

Q. What do you see as the most important thing to accomplish in the next four years?

A. I believe that the electronic filing, which has been put off for a considerable amount of time and which has been being done in the other two counties of the state for almost two years, is the most important thing that should be accomplished. Thus, I would first get up to speed on the e-filing program and immediately initiate the implementation of the electronic filing in the office.

Q. What should voters know before making this important decision?

A. I believe voters should know that, in the past four years, there have been at least five employees who have left the office for reasons ranging from forced demotions, terminations and resignations. This demonstrates a considerable degree of instability. I would utilize my 30 years of leadership, managerial and administrative expertise to bring the appropriate level of leadership and cohesiveness to the team in that office. Finally, I believe that voters should know that I believe it is a privilege and an honor to serve in any capacity; but most importantly, we must do it with a spirit of humility. This is how I will serve the voters should they consider this candidate on Nov. 4.

Candice Green (R)

Q. What qualifies you for this position?

A. I have spent the last four years as the Register of Wills, and I have also spent over 20 years as a self-employed elderly care giver.

Q. What do you see as the most important thing to accomplish in the next four years?

A. We are currently making sure all wills and estate records are kept electronically on computers, allowing easy access to you, the people, and protecting them from fire, water and damage and aging. Sixty years of past wills and estate records are now being electronically copied to computers. We have brought all office policies and procedures up to current legal standards. Cindy Green’s Register of Wills Office is on its way to the cutting edge of technology in the 21st century! Stay Green in 2014 for your future.

Q. What should voters know before making this important decision?

A. I will work hard to serve the people of Sussex County. I support lower taxes and less fees. We must keep the Register of Wills office under local control, because government close to the people serves the people.

County Sheriff

Robert T. Lee (R)

Q. What qualifies you for the position of sheriff?

A. I prepared for my career with a bachelor’s in administration of justice from American University in Washington, D.C. I have served the citizens of Sussex County for 35 years as a public servant as a Seaford police officer or as the Sussex County State Detective for the Attorney General’s Office. I have served Governor’s warrants and Attorney General’s subpoenas.

During that time, I have worked cooperatively with local and state police agencies, and all branches of the court. I have also served my community singing in the praise band at church, and coaching sports at Seaford Christian Academy and Little League. I am a member of the NRA, and Ducks Unlimited and the DE Farm Bureau.

Q. What do you see as the most important thing to accomplish in the next two years?

A. The most important thing to accomplish in the next two years is restoring integrity to the office and a spirit of cooperation with local and state governments, as well as the local and state police. This can occur simply by understanding, accepting and performing the current defined job description of a Delaware sheriff, a court officer doing the duties of serving court documents and executing sheriff sales.

Eliminating the distractions of costly civil litigations against our county and state regarding arrest powers would allow this department to be a partner with other agencies and focus on community projects that benefit our county residents.

Q. What makes you the right selection for this seat?

A. I have no desire to sue the county council or state over what I think this job should be. I understand the job description and accept the ruling of five Delaware Supreme Court judges. My 10-year state detective tenure allowed me to build strong, trusting and collaborative relationships with state and local police and courts all over this county. I can use this partnership to mend the broken relationship that exists with the above entities and the current Sheriff.