Clerk of the Peace candidates pledge to donate salary portion, quit day job

vote-logo-2016DOVER — Clerk of the Peace Loretta Wootten is retiring from her position this year after serving three four-year terms.

Seeking the office are two Milford natives, one of whom is Ms. Wootten’s daughter, Democratic candidate Brenda Wootten. Representing the Republicans is DJ Silicato.

Ms. Wootten earned a bachelor’s degree of science in paralegal studies from Wesley College and has worked 27 years for the state of Delaware in the judicial and executive branches of government. The work has included a nine-year stint with Justice of the Peace Court No. 7, two years with the Commissioner of Elections office, two years with the Delaware Hospital for the Chronically Ill and currently as a judicial case manager with the Court of Chancery for the past 16 years.

Mr. Silicato started his career as a real estate agent at age 18 working for Harrington ERA. At 21, he began working at Dover Downs and has spent the past 20 years in the industry. He currently works as Harrington Raceway and Casino’s executive director of food and beverage.

DJ Silicato

DJ Silicato

Ms. Wootten is running with hopes of continuing her mother’s work in the office.

“I have had the privilege of working hand-in-hand with my wonderful mentor and mother, Loretta Wootten, 2016’s Delaware Mother of the Year, as she sought and succeeded in running for this office and another one for seven successful terms,” she said. “I have firsthand knowledge of the operations of this office, and it would be such an honor to be elected to continue her great legacy.”

Mr. Silicato is seeking the office because he hopes to restore public trust in politics.

Brenda Wootten

Brenda Wootten

“I want this opportunity to become Clerk of the Peace in Kent County not only to complete its responsibilities efficiently and effectively, but also to grow my knowledge of politics and to become the voice that the public has been missing,” he said. “I am not afraid to speak my mind and do not have the political mindset that most elected officials possess. I want to go over and beyond to start a movement where public perception and faith in politics is restored.”

He also noted the hospitality industry has provided him with the opportunity to meet and converse with thousands of people from varied backgrounds and manage more than 150 employees directly. That, he said, has sharpened his leadership skills.

“I also have a great understanding of budgets as I have been responsible for maintaining over $12 million in revenue for the food and beverage department (of Harrington Raceway and Casino),” he added.

Ms. Wootten said her experience working for the state of Delaware will enable her to bring forward-thinking and detail-oriented solutions to the office.

“Whether it’s to obtain a marriage license, have a wedding ceremony or any other form of business, I’ll leave people with a positive impression of this office and the county government as a whole,” said Ms. Wootten. “I will ensure my staff has the most current and up-to-date resources needed to allow the administration of this office to operate both efficiently and effectively.”

Both candidates have made their own pledges if they’re elected.

Ms. Wootten plans to quit her day job.

“I am running for this office because I have a sincere passion and commitment to make a difference in my community by serving others,” she said. “If elected, I will retire from my current full-time position with the state of Delaware which will allow me to dedicate 100 percent of my time and attention to fulfill the duties this position requires and provide exceptional service to the citizens of this great state and county who are so deserving.”

Mr. Silicato plans to earmark more than 25 percent of the position’s salary for donation.

“Accountability is a massive oversight within our government and I want elected officials doing all they can to earn their provided term and salary,” said Mr. Silicato.

“As I begin my mission by giving back, I will donate over 25 percent of my elected salary, $8,000 each year, back into the Kent County community to show my true intent and immediately make the impact that is promised. I also ask my opponent to make the same pledge in order for her to show that she is willing and able to change the course direction of politics and to show her intent is true.”

Reach staff writer Ian Gronau at igronau@newszap.com

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