Kent County Levy Court bids Commissioner Hosfelt farewell

From left, Kent County administrator Michael Petit de Mange and county commissioners George “Jody” Sweeney, James Hosfelt, P. Brooks Banta, Glen Howell, Terry Pepper, Allan Angel and Eric Buckson gathered last Tuesday night to make a tribute to Mr. Hosfelt’s tenure on the Levy Court. Delaware State News/Ian Gronau

DOVER — Kent County Levy Court presented a tribute to second district commissioner James Hosfelt last Tuesday night to formally recognize his term of service.

Commissioner Hosfelt, a Republican, was defeated by Democrat challenger Jeffery Hall for the second district seat in November. In a tight race, Mr. Hosfelt took 4,391 votes to Mr. Hall’s 5,240.

Mr. Hosfelt, formerly Dover’s chief of police, was elected to the seat mid-term in 2017 during a special election prompted by Bradley Eaby vacating the office.

Though Mr. Hosfelt didn’t serve out a full four-year term, he’d accumulated the respect of his peers in the way he might have after serving several back-to-back terms. Commissioners and staff alike lavished praise on him during the tribute.

First district commissioner P. Brooks Banta, a Democrat, said Mr. Hosfelt would be greatly missed.

“Jim has become a friend,” he said. “He’s a person that I’ve always been able to trust and work with. His expertise in law enforcement and work with the Director of Finance has made him a great member of the team. I wish him well in the future.”

Fourth district commissioner Eric Buckson hopes Mr. Hosfelt doesn’t get too comfortable out of office.

“He’s everything you’d ever want in a public servant and I certainly hope that his time away from public office is short-lived,” he said.

County Administrator Michael Petit de Mange agreed, saying Mr. Hosfelt answered to public service as if it were his “calling.”

“You’ve done an outstanding job here — you were an excellent commissioner and we’re going to miss you,” he said.

Gracious in his defeat, Mr. Hosfelt has said since the election that he would do whatever he could “to ensure a smooth transition.”

“Congratulations to Jeff Hall, my opponent and our new second district commissioner,” he said last Tuesday. “Jeff will do an outstanding job.”

Feeling mutually, Mr. Hall noted back in November that he appreciated Mr. Hosfelt’s contribution to the county.

“I think we both ran good campaigns. I’m looking forward to working with the other commissioners for the betterment of the county. It’s good timing for the county with great economic opportunities, specifically with the Kent Economic Partnership arrangement,” said Mr. Hall. “I’m also looking forward to tackling some of the thornier issues, like housing affordability, homelessness issues and farmland preservation.”

Mr. Hall, the department chairman of Engineering Technologies at Delaware Technical Community College’s Terry Campus, said he visited over 2,500 homes in Kent County during his campaign.

“I met a lot of good folks, and heard a lot from this county’s constituents,” he said. “There is a lot to deliver for them, and I intend to do that.”

Mr. Hall will be publicly sworn into the new position on Wednesday at 3 p.m. in the Levy Court Chamber, at the Administration Complex at 555 Bay Road in Dover.

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