Desire to serve drives Fuller to seek lieutenant governor’s office

VOTE 1 COL by . DOVER — In many ways, Greg Fuller breaks the mold of a typical Delawarean seeking to win a statewide office.

Successful candidates usually raise more than $100,000 and can often boast of prior elected experience. Mr. Fuller had $7,600 on hand as of last week, and his only political claim is having been appointed Sussex County register of wills in 2008, an office he failed to win election to in 2010 and 2014.

But not only is he undeterred by a lack of money and prior experience, Mr. Fuller sees them as advantages in their own way. The Lincoln resident who speaks of service and of returning the lieutenant governor’s office to the people is confident he will be the winner of a very crowded Democratic primary, thanks to his background helping others.

One of six Democrats seeking to win over voters for Sept. 13’s primary, he has been running, he said, since the end of 2014.

Greg Fuller

Greg Fuller

In Mr. Fuller’s eyes, seeking the lieutenant governor’s office is a continuance of what his entire life has been about: service to a cause greater than himself.

As he tells it, lieutenant governor will primarily serve as a larger stage for him to aid others.

A longtime worker in the criminal justice field, first with the Department of Correction and now with the Division of Youth Rehabilitative Services, Mr. Fuller said even as a private citizen he is “oriented to trying to make people’s lives better.”

In 1996, he helped set up the Sussex County Boot Camp, which was designed as an alternative to prison with “a highly regimented routine of physical exercise, education, substance-abuse treatment and community service,” according to the Department of Correction. He later became the superintendent of the Ferris School for Boys in Wilmington.

As lieutenant governor, he plans to promote greater substance abuse care and poor early childhood education — areas he said he knows well.

While the other candidates for the office have unveiled ambitious plans for advancing the state — creating jobs, legalizing marijuana, improving public health — Mr. Fuller takes a different approach.

He downplays the importance of the seat, noting its holder’s only constitutional duties are to preside over the Senate, chair the Board of Pardons and succeed the governor if need be.
“The lieutenant governor doesn’t make policy, the governor makes policy,” he said. “The role the lieutenant governor plays depends on the governor.”

Mr. Fuller said he aspires to be the voice of the state, representing the concerns of Delawareans to the governor. He presents few specific proposals, focusing instead on general messages of guaranteeing “the people are at the pinnacle” of his actions.

As a man with experience in several posts related to crime and punishment, he sees himself as the best candidate to serve on the Board of Pardons.

“It just touches so many people’s lives,” he said of the board. “It ties right in with the need of this state for criminal justice reform and prison reform.”

He opted to run for the office because, he said, the “public” in the word “public service” is being ignored.

The other five Democratic candidates, all of whom hold elected offices, are “abandoning” their seats, Mr. Fuller alleged.

“To me it’s a clear example of self service,” he said.

Delaware State University Sam Hoff sees him as a “second tier” candidate, one who faces serious difficulty in claiming the Democratic Party’s nomination.

Financial reports also show a grim outlook for Mr. Fuller: three lieutenant governor candidates have vastly outpaced him in fundraising.

Despite that, the former register of wills is not discouraged.

He said he has focused on connecting with individual voters and “hitting the doors in New Castle County hard” rather than seeking donations.

“I think people are going to be a little surprised come Sept. 13,” he said.

Reach staff writer Matt Bittle at mbittle@newszap.com

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