Now we're defined; let's focus on issues
Elections give us a sense of the world around us. The new 20th Representative and 6th Senatorial districts, for example, are home to pockets of some of the most socially liberal, vocal and activist people in Delaware. But when the polls had closed on Tuesday this week, it was the broader and more conservative base that ultimately prevailed in defining how these new political entities will lean in the foreseeable future.
Sussex County has always been the most conservative of Delaware's three counties, and this election did nothing to muddy that picture. We're still a very rural county, which typically equates with conservatism, as opposed to the liberal tendencies in the northern and more urban section of the state.
But Sussex County's conservatism is being shaped by much more than its farmers and small business people. In the past 20 years, the county's base of registered voters has more than doubled, from 50,000 in 1991 to 133,000 this year. Many of those new voters are older and retired folks who tend to vote more conservatively. Those migrating into Sussex for the low taxes, temperate climate and laid-back quality of life are becoming the greatest drivers of our local politics.
Now that the voters have defined our majority leanings in Delaware's Cape Region, it's time to put the campaigning aside and start focusing on issues that haven't gone away. Route 1, the main street for the Lewes-Rehoboth corridor, has grown increasingly dangerous for bicyclists and pedestrians as the population and commercial activity in that area have grown.
Our new representatives in the Delaware General Assembly need to immediately begin using their power to pressure DelDOT and the Markell administration to take these problems seriously and come up with a long-term plan to make this vibrant corridor part of the positive tourist experience so vital to our local economy.
The very growth that is again boosting our economy needs to be harnessed so our infrastructure - including open space to help maintain an enviable quality of life - doesn't get compromised in the process. Now that Delaware's Cape Region has new and more focused representation, these and other local issues can begin receiving the attention and action they deserve.