Primary election: Sussex County Council

The Delaware State News presents profiles on the Republican candidates for Sussex County Council districts 2 and 3. There are no Democratic primaries for these offices:

Sussex County Council
District 2

Name: Cindy Green

Age: 60

Residence: Greenwood

Family: Married to Lawrence Green, for 40 years; three grown daughters, Candice, Kelly and Corey, and four grandchildren, all living in Sussex County

Relevant experience: 10 years as your elected Sussex County register of wills

Name: Lisa Hudson Briggs

Age: 56

Residence: Georgetown

Family: Married to Lewis; four children, 10 grandchildren, one great-grandchild expected in October

Relevant experience: Retired from the state of Delaware after 32-plus years; worked with various social service agencies, including the Stockley Center and the Department of Social Services, and finished the last 15 years with the Department of Elections for Sussex County as an office supervisor.

Robert Wilson of Georgetown did not return survey questions.

Why are you running for this seat?

CG: As your register of wills, I have kept my promises to keep taxes and fees low, to modernize the office and to fight for local control. You can trust me to continue to keep these promises as your county councilwoman.

LHB: I believe I have a unique perspective on the issues facing our county and region. On the council, I would bring to bear the perspective of a woman born and raised in Sussex County, who has witnessed firsthand the changes to our area since the early 1970s. I have been active in a variety of public arenas, and, after not succeeding in my first attempt to be elected to council, I have continued to attend meetings. Unlike others, I am very current on the matters facing us all — from development, to property owner rights, to budgets and the health and safety of our residents and our environment. There is no “learning curve” here, and I have more than proved my dedication and interest by continuing to attend council meetings.

What do you see as the major issues in this election?

CG: Keeping our taxes low is very important. A court-ordered reassessment could leave people with massive tax increases. My primary focus is keeping taxes low. Economic development in my district is also very important.

LHB: 1) I have grave concerns over the balancing of the interests of property owners, developers and residents, and how these rights impact our environment and quality of life. We must do better in preserving the quality of life that has made Sussex County a wonderful place to live.

2) Economic development to support good jobs and career opportunities. Grow our jobs and economy.

What would you like to see the county do differently in regard to coronavirus?

CG: Our governor is making most of the decisions regarding coronavirus. Most of my constituents and I are ready to move to Phase 3 immediately.

LHB: Currently, the county has been following the guidelines of the state regarding the interest of the Sussex County residents and also the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Focus on the expansion of broadband/internet for the businesses, families and education.

What should government do to help both businesses and workers right now?

CG: My district needs economic growth and good-paying jobs. We can grow the economy by keeping taxes low, supporting property rights, increasing high-speed internet service, creating a predictable business environment and stopping bureaucratic overreach.

LHB: Workforce development to recruit and retain employment needs. The county has contributed $250,000 to the Delaware State Housing Authority rental assistance program earmarked for Sussex County residents, and the county temporarily suspended the 3% hotel accommodations tax.

What do you think of the current level of county spending?

CG: I am a conservative Republican. I want to keep both taxes and spending low.

LHB: Having attended budget hearings, being the only one there except for County Council members, I learned a lot about the budget process. It was very apparent to me that Sussex County government is very frugal in its spending. Major projects do occur but the funding is present first before the projects occur. I feel at this time, the level of spending meets the county residents’ needs.

Should the county make any change to its development policies?

CG: Eastern and western Sussex County are very different, and each application should be looked at on a case-by-case basis. I offer a level head and will treat everyone coming before the County Council fairly. I support property rights. I also support local control of the decisions being made.

LHB: I am aware of the recent completion of the Comprehensive Plan, which is the book of rules that gives us direction as to how development should occur in this county. I also have reviewed the Delaware Department of Transportation’s and Sussex County’s Memorandum of Understanding, which is, after 10 years, being improved. I’ve listened to many residents share their concerns about lack of infrastructure — rapid continued growth in our county. We must be sensitive and responsive to their concerns.

What do you make of the state of race relations in the U.S. and particularly in Sussex County?

CG: I am heartbroken at the unrest and violence in our country. I believe in treating everyone the way I would want to be treated. One of the core functions of government is to keep us safe. I will make it a priority to ensure adequate police coverage of our county to keep you safe.

LHB: In recent weeks, several demonstrations have been held peacefully in Sussex County. Many groups are working together to make sure no problems exist. On the County Council, it is the closest government to the people. It is obvious that in other areas of this nation, problems do exist and need work. I feel that the people of Sussex County are fair-minded and community-oriented. We look out for each other, and we bond for our communities together. Sussex County is a diverse county with many unique communities living, working, playing and praying together.

Do you have any additional thoughts you wish to share?

CG: I have a 10-year record that you can trust. As a conservative Republican, I am always focused on keeping your money in your pocket. It is your money, and I humbly ask for your vote to serve you.

LHB: The council can look to support our community and ensure we are transparent, accountable and responsive to our community. The district deserves an engaged, informed and responsive leader to listen, respond and act in their best interests. I’ve been preparing to be that leader for many years.

Sussex County Council
District 3

Name: Mark G. Schaeffer

Age: 61

Residence: Lewes

Family: Married to Ruby Keeler Schaeffer. Five children and 12 grandchildren

Relevant experience: Served as a mayor for a decade, am a successful small businessman and have 40 years of proven experience in land use

Incumbent Irwin G. “I.G.” Burton of Lewes did not return survey questions.

Why are you running for this seat?

MS: I am running because I am increasingly concerned with the lack of proactive leadership in the 3rd District of Sussex County. Our roads are terrible, traffic is congested, and there is no proactive management on land-use issues. I plan to offer solutions, be proactive and provide results from Day One.

What do you see as the major issues in this election?

MS: There are three No. 1 issues in the Sussex County Council 3rd District: preserving our lifestyle, limiting government and keeping taxes low. They are one issue because they are interconnected. Our current 3rd District councilperson has consistently led the charge for higher taxes and senseless government regulation. We need only look at the states that surround us to know that bigger government is a failed policy. Many 3rd District residents watch in disbelief as my opponent mimics the governments from the very places they came here to escape. I won’t increase your taxes, take away your property rights or leave traffic issues unaddressed. I will provide proactive leadership and deliver results.

What would you like to see the county do differently regarding coronavirus?

MS: We need to allow our businesses to open and operate and send our children back to school.

What should government do to help both businesses and workers right now?

MS: Businesses should be allowed to open and allow their employees back to work.

Should the county make any change to its development policies?

MS: We need to implement transportation improvement districts immediately. It is unbelievable that my opponent does not support this proven program to manage and improve traffic and roadways. We need to work aggressively to manage sprawl and provide opportunities for affordable housing.

What do you make of the state of race relations in the U.S. and particularly in Sussex County?

MS: The 3rd District of Sussex County is a wonderfully diverse community. I am proud to call such a hospitable, caring community accepting of all people my home and the home of my children and grandchildren.

Do you have any additional thoughts you wish to share?

MS: I have a proven, lifelong record of service above self, managing land-use issues and creating jobs. I look forward to providing proactive leadership to finally tackle our traffic and road issues head-on and manage growth aggressively. And I, unlike my opponent, will not support or vote for tax increases.