Angel, Sweeney: Experience aided in Levy Court wins during COVID-challenged election

Levy Court Commissioner Allan Angel helps Barbara Cool prepare food in the kitchen at the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge in Kitts Hummock during a gathering with some Kent County candidates Tuesday night. (Delaware State News/Marc Clery)

KITTS HUMMOCK — Kent County Levy Court Commissioners Allan Angel and George “Jody” Sweeney, both Democrats, are seasoned veterans at this election season stuff.

However, with all the challenges that have come in regard to meeting voters face-to-face this year and other safety protocols set into place during the COVID-19 pandemic, even the two Levy Court commissioners who have both served three four-year terms have admitted that they’ve felt a little out of place at times, almost like jittery rookies.

But that didn’t stop them from winning their fourth consecutive four-year terms on Kent County’s Levy Court in the general election Tuesday.

Mr. Angel defeated Republican challenger Welton Satchell to recapture his District 3 seat, while Mr. Sweeney topped Republican challenger Clint Brothers to reclaim his District 5 seat.

Mr. Angel, hosting an Election Day results party at the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge in Kitts Hummock on Tuesday night, said this election season was unlike any he has ever seen — and particularly challenging.

Fellow Democrats Mr. Sweeney, Harold Brode (Kent County register of wills candidate), Rachael King (state representative District 33 candidate) and Brenda Wootten (Kent County clerk of the peace candidate) joined Mr. Angel for subs, chips and drinks at his election-watch gathering.

Clerk of the Peace Brenda Wootten, right, talks with Catrena Welsh, center, and Ms. Wootten’s sister, Donna Stanley, at the Fraternal Order of Police on Tuesday. (Delaware State News/Marc Clery)

“I didn’t go out to talk. I went out to hang signs in people’s yards that let me do it in previous years,” Mr. Angel said. “It was an uncanny year, let’s put it that way. Other than not being able to talk to people, well, that’s the biggest thing. That’s something I like to do. They like to ask me questions, and I like to answer them.”

Mr. Sweeney, who has worked for 40 years in information technology and is currently the supervisor of technology for the Smyrna School District, said he has one thing that helped him, despite not being able to campaign normally: experience.

Sweeney by .
George “Jody” Sweeney

“As the incumbent, I have years of experience and actions that speak to my record,” said Mr. Sweeney in a preelection question-and-answer interview with the Delaware State News. “When you are considering who to vote for in this election seat, ask yourself: What has the candidate done?

“Someone I know said, ‘Past actions are indicative of future behavior.’ Don’t just ask what I will do for you; also, look at what I have done. With me, you will get more of the same. I provide great constituent services and will always look for ways to reduce waste in money, time and processes.”

Terry Pepper, vice president of Kent County Levy Court, said he didn’t envy the candidates who were forced to run for election and reelection during a pandemic.

“That would have been a difficult thing to do,” Mr. Pepper said. “I like to knock on doors and be in parades and all that kind of stuff. If you’re limited at doing that, it’s hard. There were no events where you could go and meet people. It would have been a bad year to run.

“It’s just a difficult year to run, and it wouldn’t fit my style of running.”

Mr. Angel, who moved to Delaware in 1965 as part of an Air Force family from California, said he already has some priorities set up for his next term — in particular, an amphitheater at Dover Downs that would benefit the city of Dover, Kent County and the state of Delaware.

“There are some economic development things that I’d like to see happen,” Mr. Angel said. “I’d like to work with the city and the state and the county to get an amphitheater up where they hold Firefly (Music Festival) to control the music and the noise.

“It would be a great community asset because we could offer things in our area, as well as all the high schools when they have graduations. Right now, they can all get so many tickets to families — this could hold a whole vast crowd, so all families could come to the venue. It would help the community.”

As for Mr. Sweeney, he hopes Kent County can bring even more business and economic development to the area.

“The economy is a major issue,” he said. “Levy Court has made Kent County very attractive for businesses. New businesses like DE Turf, Shoreline Vinyl, National Vinyl Products and USA Fulfillment, among others, have decided Kent County is the best place for them to be, bringing hundreds of new, well-paying manufacturing jobs.

“Accompanying support businesses will follow, bringing more jobs. Some of these businesses came due to incentives offered by Kent County; others just think we are the best place to be. We will continue to attract businesses to the job employment zones created by Kent County in 2019.”