There will be a crucial election in Rehoboth Beach, Del., on Aug. 8. Voters will decide if they want to move backwards to the days of the Sam Cooper commission or continue to move forward into a better future for all.
The mayor and the commission have a difficult task as they ensure Rehoboth Beach meets the needs of its homeowners, businesses and visitors. All must be working together in harmony if the city is to thrive and that is not always an easy task to accomplish.
This election is being held in difficult times for the nation, for Delaware and for Rehoboth Beach. There are two crises impacting the city: one is the coronavirus pandemic and the other is the fight for equality for all. It has been clear Rehoboth is not immune to their impact.
There have been intimations by some about who the candidates are supporting on a national level. While Rehoboth elections are non-partisan, each of the candidates I am supporting have proudly told me they endorse Joe Biden, a Rehoboth home-town-boy, for president.
Two candidates for office represent the past. Their votes on the commission brought the city close to bankruptcy with support for building what many call Rehoboth’s City Hall Palace. Their policies brought demonstrators to city hall because they didn’t understand the need to keep all the important sectors of the city working together. There was a lack of real planning and budgeting for the future.
I urge Rehoboth voters to make their votes count, keep moving forward and to re-elect Mayor Paul Kuhns and elect Hugh Fuller and Rachel Macha as commissioners. Some have asked, “Is it better to elect experience or someone new?” Rehoboth can have both by electing new members to the commission with the right experience needed to move the city forward.
Both Hugh Fuller and Rachel Macha have a wealth of experience. Fuller is a successful businessman owning the Purple Parrot and Iguana Grill. He has lived and worked in Rehoboth Beach for 30 years. His family is from the shore. He understands budgets and knows his businesses can’t be successful without a strong cadre of happy full-time residents. He has walked the streets of Rehoboth nearly every day for 30 years and understands the city and its issues in depth. His ability to work with people was first honed in the military as a member of a Presidential Honor Guard. He is committed to keeping Rehoboth Beach a welcoming community for all with the small town feel everyone loves.
Macha is a born and bred Delawarean. She and her husband Rich bought their first home in Rehoboth 20 years ago and have lived there full time for the past three years. Macha is a mom of five and a businesswoman with a leading software/technology company. She is on the Rehoboth Beach Planning Commission and her goal is to keep Rehoboth Beach the place she has loved all her life.
Mayor Kuhns was first elected in 2017. He has worked to move the city forward walking a fine line to meet the demands of the various constituencies important to the success of Rehoboth. He understands that both homeowners’ and business owners’ needs must be met if Rehoboth is to succeed. I have watched him in action, at meetings of the commission, and am confident he deserves another term. He has navigated the economic shut-down and worked to ensure businesses could recover. He understands without its wonderful restaurants, tourist businesses and hotels, both on and off the boardwalk, Rehoboth won’t continue to exist as the place we all love. He is doing this and managing a budget without proposing new taxes on homeowners.
Reelecting Kuhns as mayor and adding Fuller and Macha to the commission will enable Rehoboth to not only survive these difficult times, but to thrive as the city moves successfully into the future. What the voters shouldn’t do is revert to a commission and mayor who thought it was fine to waste taxpayer money on unneeded palaces as a paean to someone’s vanity.
Peter Rosenstein is a longtime LGBTQ rights and Democratic Party activist.