Son of departing Sussex County Councilman Wilson seeking father’s seat

GEORGETOWN – After 12 years as Sussex County Council’s District 2 representative, Samuel Wilson Jr., at 82, has decided to call it quits.

But he hopes to pass the baton through family ties.

Sam Wilson

His son, Robert Wilson, is one of three Republican candidates for District 2, which covers all or portions or all of Georgetown, Millsboro, Greenwood, Milford, Bridgeville, Lincoln, Ellendale as well as the outskirts of Seaford.

Republican candidates Lisa Hudson Briggs, Cindy Green and Robert Wilson will square off in the Sept. 15 primary. Robert Wilson was the last to file. July 10, several days before the July 14 filing deadline.

“Robert, I think he’ll be a good councilman. I really do,” said Samuel Wilson. “He’s got good common sense.”

A farmer and lifelong conservative with strong beliefs in moral and family values, Samuel Wilson has championed rights of property owners and supported the agricultural community throughout his county council tenure. He said factors in his decision to not seek a fourth council term were his wife and his health. In mid-October 2015, he suffered a stroke and missed several months of council.

“As I got older and I don’t talk as well as I’d like to, and I’m not getting around as well as I’d like to, I’ve been thinking, ‘Well maybe I ought to quit’ … because I am in other people’s way most of the time,” said Samuel Wilson, who turned 82 on July 14. “The only thing that throwed me out of whack was this dad-gone stroke.”

Son Robert Wilson, 49, started his Gas Tech business in 2012 and works on the Wilson family farm on Wilson Hill Road.

“I have a deep concern for Sussex County,” said Robert Wilson. “I am a firm believer in smaller government or less government. I get fed up when I go get a permit for something and I have to go to another office and another office and another office. It’s seems like it’s a never-ending money collection of permits.”

“I will say, a lot of views my dad shares, I share also. There are some things we do differ on,” said Robert Wilson. “But as far as moral and Christian beliefs, I am a pro-life family guy. I believe in doing the right thing at the end of the day. It’s not about a Republican/Democrat thing. It’s all about doing the right thing.”

Like his father, he pledges to not raise taxes and says there needs to be a balance between development and agriculture.

“I think the government intrudes a little more than it should. I am a farmer. So, I am my own environmentalist. The farmers get picked on quite a bit, nutrient runoff,” said Robert Wilson. “There has to be a happy medium between development and agriculture. Agriculture is still the largest industry in Delaware, and development is on pace to catch it. We have to have a happy medium. And land use ultimately determines that. We’ve got be careful where we approve a development and how it is going to impact farmland and the people around where the development is going.’

“The roads are quite crowded all weekend. I don’t want to ruin the way of life for people that do move here, nor do I want to ruin it for my own family,” Robert Wilson said. “I’ve seen the way development has changed the last 20 years. I’ve seen the way it has changed in the last 10. Obviously, the infrastructure is not in place.”

He refers to the problem as a giant funnel.

“You can’t come off the Beltway over in Washington off a four lane, then get down to coming into Delaware on a three lane, and then get on Rt. 1 to a two lane and then go into Rehoboth to a single lane,” said Robert Wilson. “It’s just like dumping water into a funnel. When the funnel gets down to the little teeny squeaky part on the bottom, what happens? And the closer to the water you get … the water runs into the ocean. And that is where they are all going, to the ocean. I truly believe the infrastructure is not here yet. I don’t know exactly how to solve that problem. We’ve got to pass some onto the developers but at the same the county has just done a poor job in approve, approve, approve, and not having an infrastructure in place.”

“I feel that being a farmer and dealing with land-use issues, which is a major issue, for this council it puts me in a very interesting spot. Living on a farm and seeing how land is used,” said Robert Wilson.

The Republican primary features contest for county council seats in District 1, where incumbent Michael Vincent is challenged by Hunter Hastings, and in District 3 where Mark Schaeffer is challenging incumbent Irwin “I.G.” Burton III.