Two Republicans win Sussex County Council seats

GEORGETOWN — Sussex County voters elected two new Republican leaders to serve on County Council.

Republican John Rieley received 10,786 votes, almost 61 percent, to win the 5th District seat over Democratic challenger Ellen Magee.

Republican Doug Hudson defeated Democratc Paulette Rappa to win the 4th District seat vacated by longtime Councilman George Cole.

Mr. Rieley said, “It was a wider margin than I anticipated, but we’ll take it. We’re very happy.”

“I am retired and I am a point in my life where I’m young enough, and I will have the time to devote to the job fulltime. My background as a financial advisor is going to give me a little bit different perspective. We’re both farmers so it wasn’t any big difference there. We worked hard. We did a lot of door-to-door. We did the work. This is the result.”

“My opponent ran a good campaign. She was a clean campaigner. She is a good lady. I am sure that it is disappointing to her that she lost, but I want to say that she is a great person and she ran a good campaign.”

Mr. Rieley, 63, recently retired as a financial adviser. He resides on a farm property in rural Millsboro with Lou Ann, his wife of 39 years. They have 12 children.

In September, Mr. Rieley defeated Kevin Christophel of Laurel in the GOP primary.

As county population increases, Mr. Rieley’s top priority is to maintain or improve county services, especially public safety while keeping taxes low and maintaining the excellent fiscal condition. The county’s two largest economic drivers, agriculture and tourism, and attracting new companies to choose Sussex, particularly on the western side of the county, and the need for high speed internet county-wide are his other priorities.

A lifelong Sussex Countian who resides in Williamsville, Ms. Magee, 59, is in business as a multi-generational member of the Sussex County farming community. She serves on the county’s board of adjustment.

With a campaign pledge to “preserve the Sussex County way of life,” Ms. Magee’s top priority was to maintain and constantly improve our infrastructure, which includes roads, public water, sewer and broadband. Ensuring clean water is another high-level priority along with making Sussex attractive to businesses clean industries to facilitate job creation. Vocational education was another priority.

The 5th District spans from Fenwick Island to Delmar, north to include parts of Millsboro and also includes the towns of Dagsboro, Frankford, Millville and South Bethany.

Mr. Hudson, 58, retired last year as a school safety monitor in the Indian River School District after 27 years with Delaware State Police. Mr. Hudson currently works in real estate with Beachbound Realty and serves on the Sussex County Planning and Zoning Commission – a five-member, council-appointed body that reviews and gives consideration toward subdivision applications and other land-use requests.

“Well I am looking forward to serving the community and continuing my longtime service. Paulette Rappa ran a very good race. I am just very humbled, to be honest. I want to stay that way and I want to work hard,” he said.

Ms. Rappa, 56, of Long Neck, filed in late June for the seat to be vacated by Mr. Cole, saying she has serious concerns about the direction Sussex County is headed in and it was “time for a voice to reflect the needs that emerged out of that district.”

District 4, commonly referred to as the coastal district, encompasses all or portions of Bethany Beach, Rehoboth, Lewes, Oak Orchard, Long Neck and Millsboro. It is arguably the densest and the most environmentally sensitive of the county’s five districts.

Among Ms. Rappa’s prioritized concerns included traffic congestion and over-development. Her solutions to growth in the county were introduction of a hometown overlay, geared to perpetuate and enhance the character of a community and ensure that the re-development and changes to the zoning pattern are compatible to the existing community, and support for a Transportation Improvement District.

Ms. Rappa, who lost to Republican incumbent Ruth Briggs King in quests for the 37th district representative seat in 2014 and 2016, also pledged to seek better coordinated solutions with DelDOT, DNREC and the state.

Ms. Rappa, who taught 16 years in public education, is the executive director of The Way Home, a Georgetown-based nonprofit that assists formerly incarcerated citizens transition back into the community.

A resident of Clarksville, Mr. Hudson earned the Republican spot on the ballot by defeating George Parish in the September primary elections.

Mr. Hudson’s top priorities include public safety, inadequate infrastructure and traffic congestion, as well as land use and over development.

 

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