Three toss hats into ring for 1st District special election

DOVER — When Jim Hosfelt was voted in as a commissioner for Kent County Levy Court in a special election on March 21 it put the wheels into motion for another special election – this one to fill Mr. Hosfelt’s former 1st District seat on Dover City Council.

Three people have emerged as candidates for the vacant 1st District seat: Rachel L. Dunning, Matthew J. Lindell and Ronald G. Poliquin.

Mr. Lindell actually ran for a 1st District seat in the regular April 18 Municipal Election but came up short to Tanner Polce.

The special election for the 1st District will take place on Tuesday between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m.

Voters from within the 1st District can cast their votes at The Elks Lodge #1903 (entrance at the rear of the building) at 200 Saulsbury Road in Dover.

Here is a look at all three candidates’ backgrounds and some of their views regarding their campaigns:

RACHEL L. DUNNING

Rachel L. Dunning

Education: 2002 graduate of Dover High School.  Pursued college coursework at both Delaware Technical and Community College and Delaware State University.

Family: Single. Lost both parents, Ricky and Lois Dunning in recent years.

Years living in Dover: 30 years

Affiliations: State of Delaware Division of Professional Regulation Board Member; Former Level Three Jaycee.; Member and former secretary of my District Political Committee.

Have you ever been publicly elected to office?

This is my first try at elective office. I have participated in many different capacities in several campaigns for city, county and state offices.

Best way constituents can contact you if you are elected? Phone at 302-670-7666 and email at rldunning22@gmail.com.

Q: Why are you running (or running again) for this office?

Ms. Dunning: I’m running because I’ve lived here for 30 years and in that time I’ve seen Dover change for the good and bad and I want to contribute to its future by bringing new ideas and a willingness to work with my fellow council members, citizens and key stakeholder groups. I am an energetic, young woman who is willing to listen and learn to make the best informed decision.

Q: In your campaign thus far, what seems to be the most pressing concerns to the constituents of your district?

Ms. Dunning: Among the many concerns I’ve heard from residents are (1) streamlining city processes to make starting a business easier, (2) bringing stakeholders together to enhance economic development, (3) better utilizing specific data to strengthen our over-stretched police department, and (4) insuring the city is properly and wisely investing in infrastructure including water and parks.

Q: What important skills from your background will you bring to Dover City Council?

Ms. Dunning: Through my various community activities, I have learned the value of listening closely and considering each person’s contributions to the discussion. I believe it is important to understand all points of view before making a final decision.

Q: What are the personal or professional accomplishments of which you are most proud?

Ms. Dunning: The personal accomplishments of which I am most proud are having cared for members of my family during difficult times in their lives, including at the end of their lives. Making them comfortable was a comfort to me. In terms of other accomplishments, I have greatly enjoyed helping friends and acquaintances in their political campaigns, even when they were not successful.  I consider helping run good, clean, honest campaigns to be a success in itself.

MATTHEW J. LINDELL

Matthew J. Lindell

Education: Smyrna High School (1999); Wesley College B.A. History w/ Minor in Political Science (2003); Wesley College M.A. Teaching (2005), and Washington College M.A. History (2014)

Family: Wife: Jennifer Wutka-Lindell; 3-year-old daughter Ava Grace; and 11-year-old adopted dog Madison

Years living in Dover: 18 years

Affiliations: Teacher of History and Social Sciences at Dover High School (2005-2011) and Cape Henlopen High School (2011-present); Delaware School Boards Association-2nd Vice President (2016-present).

Have you ever been publicly elected to office?: I was elected to the Capital School District Board of Education in 2012 and served as President (2013-2014) and (2015-2016) and Vice-President (2014-2015). My term expires June 30, 2017.

Best way constituents can contact you if you are elected? Phone, 302-632-0078; Email, lindell99@yahoo.com, or follow my campaign on Facebook Matthew Lindell for 1st District Dover City Council

Q: Why are you running (or running again) for this office?

Mr. Lindell: I entered this election because there are too many politicians and not enough public servants serving our city. I am fed up with the palace intrigue and partisanship, I am fed up with politicians putting their own needs ahead of their constituents, and I am most fed up with voters being used as pawns on the chessboard when they should be treated as the king. We have major issues in the city to deal with now and politics and partisanship only serve as a distraction to addressing the real issues. I am just a hardworking husband, father, teacher, coach and school board member trying to make a difference in the community that my family calls home. Public office is a community service not a career choice. If I am elected, I am not going to accept a salary and my votes will be based on what is best for the future of the city of Dover and its citizens. The only people that will pull my strings are the citizens that I hope to have the honor to serve.

Q: In your campaign thus far, what seems to be the most pressing concerns to the constituents of your district?

Mr. Lindell: With a large hole in the state budget, many are worried about the financial impact that the state budget will have on Dover in regard to taxes and services. My wife and I own a townhouse in the Village of Westover that was bought at the height of the housing boom in 2006, and our mortgage is bigger than the current value of the home. We make enough to pay the bills and provide for our daughter, Ava; however, like many families, we are forced to make tough budget decisions. While contributing to basic services is a part of living in a community, I feel we need to recalibrate how we determine what is an absolute necessity versus nice-to-have(s), just as many families (including mine) have to do every day. A government for the people by the people should not be exempt from having to make the tough decisions that every day families must make to balance their budgets.

Q: What important skills from your background will you bring to Dover City Council?

Mr. Lindell: I have taught and coached high school students for 12 years, so I am well versed in dealing with a variety of personalities while helping shape the future. As a current member and past president of the Capital School District Board of Education, I work hard to ensure that the $105 million of local, state, and federal tax dollars that flow into the school district are used to maximum potential to provide a quality education for our students while decreasing the tax burden at the local level. In fact, I am the only candidate in the 1st District race who has actually has voted to lower taxes, through adding programs that benefit our children and eliminating the programs that do not provide results. Another skill I bring to the table is having the experience of having to hire several high level positions at once just as the city is tasked with doing at this time. In 2015, our district superintendent, assistant superintendent, and human resource director all retired at the same time, one of our board members resigned to join the Dover City Council and our board president was finishing her tenure on the board in the midst of this process. Our board weathered this process by hiring the best person in each of these positions and Capital School District continues to move forward.

Q: What are the personal or professional accomplishments of which you are most proud?

Mr. Lindell: Personal-I am most proud of being a product of the American Dream. My parents scraped by paycheck to paycheck as many of us do, and created a stable environment so I could thrive and have the chance to do better than they did. I paid my own way through college and through hard work and fiscal responsibility paid off my loans early. Now, I have a family of my own and a career that helps others on their path to achieving their dreams. Professional-My years of service on the Capital School District Board of Education and making the tough decisions on finances and personnel that will keep the district on an upward trajectory for years to come.

RONALD G. POLIQUIN

Ronald G. Poliquin

Education: Eureka College, Bachelor of Science in History, Juris Doctorate from Widener Law School

Family: Wife, Maria; children: Ronin (10), Lillian (7), Luna (4), Rocco (2)

Years living in Dover: 14 years

Affiliations: President, Meadows Homeowners Association, Past Board Member Habitat for Humanity, Member-Dover Downtown Parking Authority, head coach of Holy Cross chess team.

Have you ever been publicly elected to office? No

Best way constituents can contact you if you are elected? Cell phone: (302) 229-2430, email: ronpoliquin@gmail.com

Q: Why are you running (or running again) for this office?

Mr. Poliquin: I am running to stand up for taxpayers. We need to hold the line on taxes, squeeze out government waste and implement initiatives to create new jobs in Dover. I also plan to continue the tradition of outstanding constituent services set by former council members Jim Hosfelt, Jim Hutchinson and Beverly Williams.

Q: In your campaign thus far, what seems to be the most pressing concerns to the constituents of your district?

Mr. Poliquin: Job creation and taxes. Dover still hasn’t recovered from the great recession. Bringing good paying jobs to Dover is essential and high taxes are a burden on families and seniors. I will fight to hold the line on taxes and ensure tax money is spent as efficiently as possible.

Q: What important skills from your background will you bring to Dover City Council?

Mr. Poliquin: Courage – I’ve never been afraid to stand up for what I believe in even in the face of powerful opposition.

Q: What are the personal or professional accomplishments of which you are most proud?

Mr. Poliquin: As an attorney, I successfully litigated a groundbreaking Taxpayer Rights lawsuit declaring over $220 million in taxpayer money being held illegally by the government. I also litigated a Taxpayers Rights case resulting in a $50,000 scholarship fund for high school students promoting open and honest government. I fought against the government’s insatiable appetite for your tax dollars as a lawyer and as a city councilman I pledge to respect every dollar that comes into the government’s coffers because it’s your money at stake, not the politicians’.

Delaware State News staff writer Mike Finney can be reached at mfinney@newszap.com.

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