Kent County Register of Wills candidates square off

vote-logo-2016DOVER — Register of Wills incumbent Harold Brode, a Democrat, is seeking to retain the office as he faces Republican opponent Michael Routh.

Both candidates believe they have the ideal qualifications to serve the post responsible for assisting families and lawyers in obtaining the necessary documents to transfer the assets of a deceased person in Kent County.

Mr. Brode, who has held the office for a single four-year term, has lived in Harrington since 1962. He worked with the U.S. Post Office for four years before going on to spend a 20-year career with the Delaware State Police. He retired from the state police in 1989 and has spent the past 27 years serving as an investigator for the law firm of Schmittinger & Rodriguez.

He was a member of the Harrington Council in the early 1980s and from 2007-11 he served as the 5th District Kent County Levy Court commissioner. He also remains a 51-year member of the Harrington Fire Company.

Harold Brode

Harold Brode

Mr. Routh, originally from Indiana, has lived in Felton with his family for the past 10 years. At the end of his 20-year active duty career as a military firefighter, he was posted to Dover Air Force Base. When he retired from the military he decided to stay in Delaware and is now civilian firefighter for the U.S. Navy in Washington, D.C.

Mr. Brode said in a second term he would continue the work he’s started.

“I have enjoyed helping the residents of Kent County during the trying times in their lives,” he said. “I would like to continue to ensure that the Register of Wills office maintains a high level of service and this will not be possible without continuing the modernizations of the office that

Michael Routh

Michael Routh

have begun during my first term.”

Mr. Routh said the draw of taking his public service to the next level is what inspired him to run for the office.

“I have always been in public service since I was 19 years old,” he said. “From the unique job of being a military firefighter, which in itself is two forms of public service, to serving for over six years on the local town council here in Felton, my desire to serve my fellow citizens is what pushes me.”

Mr. Brode said his experience in the position will enable him to keep bringing quality services to people who pay for them with their tax dollars, but Mr. Routh said that his background in supervising many airmen and helping them get their wills established and filed make him a good candidate. He also notes he seeks to streamline service to the public while doing more public outreach.

“I want to give the best customer service possible as well as providing public education on the importance of having a will written and on file,” said Mr. Routh. “I want to assist citizens through this process during a difficult time, with the highest level of professionalism and least amount of time.”

Mr. Brode said the staff he’s helped cultivate over his first term is in the best position to maintain service standards.

“The office is important to me because we have an amazing staff that works here,” said Mr. Brode. “The staff is dedicated to helping people. They have begun modernizations of the office and records that will continue if I am reelected.”

Reach staff writer Ian Gronau at igronau@newszap.com

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