Kent Levy Court candidates gear up for special election

DOVER — In December, Kent County Levy Court Commissioner Bradley Eaby, a Democrat who represented the Snd District, announced his resignation to take a job with the state.

A special election was called by the Levy Court to fill the vacant seat. Contenders from both the Republican Party and Democratic Party have now announced their candidacy.

County Administrator Michael Petit de Mange said the special election will be held on March 21.

Dover Councilman James “Jim” Hosfelt announced his run for the seat and was endorsed by the Kent County Republican Committee at their headquarters in Dover on Wednesday.

“We formed a committee when Mr. Eaby resigned and looked over about four or five potential candidates. Jim stood out immediately,” said Henry McCann, chairman of the Kent County Republican Committee. “We feel that he’s eminently qualified and makes a great candidate for the court.”

From left, Kent County Republican Committee chairman Henry McCann, Levy Court candidate James “Jim” Hosfelt and Republican Committee Vice chair Pat Donahue gather to announce Mr. Hosfelt’s campaign. (Submitted photo)

Mr. Hosfelt’s background includes service in the US Air Force as a security policeman between 1980 and 1987. He also served with the Air Force Reserve prior to being hired by the City of Dover in 1988 as a police officer. He was promoted to Chief of Police in 2010 and retired in 2014 after 26 years of service to Dover.

He continues to serve the City of Dover as one of two councilmen for the city’s 1st district.

“It’s a great opportunity for me to continue to serve my constituency — a large portion of the 2nd district falls within the City of Dover,” he said. “Constituency service is what I know. I was born and raised to do it.”

Mr. Hosfelt is a graduate of Delaware Technical Community College and the FBI National Academy. With the support of his wife Sherry, to whom he’s been married for 34 years, he looks forward to running his campaign on the ground, door-to-door.

“I like to go knock on doors and talk to people about the things that concern them in the county – I did that as well when I ran for city council,” he said. “I have a great community with the Republican Party behind me and we’re ready to work hard – I can guarantee that no one will outwork me.”

Andrea Kreiner

With the support of the Kent County Democratic Party, Andrea Kreiner announced her candidacy last week. The party is currently in the process of filing her candidacy officially with the state.

Kent County Democratic Party Chairman John Mancus said Ms. Kreiner was selected from a pool of several candidates because her background would make her a strong Levy Court commissioner.

“When Mr. Eaby resigned, he did make some comments about the Levy Court lacking some diversity,” he said. “The court commissioners are all white men. From a Demographic standpoint, women are 51 percent of the population. With Andrea’s education and skills she would add a lot to that court in addition to balancing it a bit.”

Ms. Kreiner has owned and operated her own sustainability consulting firm since 2005. Prior to that, she was former Delaware Gov. Ruth Ann Minner’s first-term policy advisor on agriculture, energy, environment and transportation. Ms. Kreiner also spent 10 years managing the business and community services office at DNREC.

“My career has been based in public service whether it’s been in government or in my consulting firm  my main concern is being able to leave whoever I’m working with better off than they were before,” she said. “When Mr. Eaby resigned, I looked at county government and thought that it’d be a great place to impact peoples’ lives for the better.”

Ms. Kreiner holds an undergraduate degree in applied economics and business management and a graduate degree in resource economics. She’s also a Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) accredited professional. She feels that her skillsets in economics and sustainability practices will be an asset to the county.

“When I approach problems, I have to come up with solutions that make sense and cents,” she said. “Much of my work is based around the idea that economic improvement and environmental friendliness can go hand in hand.”

With the support of her husband, Ali Mirzakhalili, Ms. Kreiner is also gearing up to doing some canvasing of the district on foot.

“I want to talk to a lot of people, meet them and learn their concerns and talk about how we can work together to make the county better,” she said.
Over the course of their respective campaigns, Ms. Kreiner and Mr. Hosfelt will outline the issues they feel are most pressing.

“It’s a key challenge the county may face,” said Ms. Kreiner. “If the state’s proposal of shifting more costs down to the counties goes through, it has the potential to be a huge disruptor. My skillset will be useful to help ensure that the taxpayers don’t carry an unfair burden.”

Mr. Hosfelt believes the proposed budget being handed down will take a logical, common-sense approach to manage properly – one that he says he’s qualified to provide.

“I don’t think we have lavish spending in Kent County right now, I think we’ve done a pretty good job,” he said. “But that’s not to say that we may not be forced to take other measures because of the state’s mismanagement of funds. At that point, I think we’ll have to take a close look at what services we provide. There is the possibility that costs may be passed on to us, and it’s a very serious concern.”

The Kent County Republican Committee set their first fundraiser for Mr. Hosfelt’s campaign for Feb. 6th at 6 p.m. at their headquarters on 2151 South Dupont Hwy in Dover. The Kent County Democratic Party will likely announce their own events shortly.

Reach staff writer Ian Gronau at igronau@newszap.com

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