Strickler to challenge Phillips for county seat

Frankford resident Orvin Strickler has filed as a candidate for District 5 in the upcoming Sussex County Council election.

“I’m disappointed in our economy. Our debt is huge, and it’s on the local level, too. I think I could be effective.”

Strickler, a real estate agent with Long & Foster, also recently worked for Johnny’s Pizza in Ocean City, Md., and said he helped improve the business’ revenue.

“The other day, a lady said to me, ‘How can a guy making pizza know anything about government?’ I know a lot about government.”

According to Strickler, people have been urging him to become involved in government since 2005.

“I’ve been really frustrated — when you hear things, you think, ‘How could they have done this? Why would they do that?’”

Although he has never served in a governmental capacity before, Strickler said he is eager to do so.

“Since October, I’ve been going to every county meeting and town meeting I can get to. I’m always out going to these meetings. My feet are wet. I’m ready to go.”

Strickler said that, if elected, he hopes to encourage the growth of small businesses in the county.

“Think of all the people around here who are eligible for government funding to start businesses. Anybody could do it. That would be a great way to create more jobs down here,” he said. “I really want to work with young kids coming up. Start a small business; start with 15 people. You get a couple people doing that, that’s a lot of jobs. More than we have now.”

As a conservative constitutionalist and Republican, Strickler said he is ready to serve the constituents of District 5.

“I’m anxious and driven. I really think I could run aspects of government as a business,” he said. “I’m not one of these guys driving around in a fancy car. I don’t live in a mansion. I just have my head in the right direction, and I have time to put into this.”

Strickler said he has yet to push his campaign into high gear, but he has talked to a number of District 5 residents and has been offered support.

“Vickie York said she supports my campaign,” he said. “‘Orvin, whatever I can do — knock on doors or answer phones.’ I’m getting a lot of that.”

Strickler grew up in Littlestown, Pa., and joined the U.S. Air Force after completing high school. He was stationed in Germany for six years, working in life support, and received a degree in chemistry from the University of Maryland’s European division.

“I always wanted to be in the Air Force since I was a little kid,” he said. “It was great.”

When he returned to the States, Strickler became a wine steward. Having lived in Baltimore for more than a decade as a small business owner, he eventually moved to Ocean City, Md.

Now living in Frankford, Strickler said he enjoys the peaceful lifestyle of Sussex County.

“My life is rich. I do aquatic physical therapy for hunting dogs — I take them out in the bay and swim them. I love my life here. I love Sussex County. I can swim my dogs anywhere around here; there’s water everywhere. I like this John Denver life here.”

Strickler is one of four candidates for the District 5 seat. Last month, incumbent Vance Phillips announced he would run for reelection. Dagsboro Mayor Brad Connor and current Sussex County Planning Commission Chairman Bob Wheatley have said they would seek the Democratic Party nomination. The primaries are scheduled to be held on Sept. 9. The general election for the county council seat is Nov. 4.