Vessella files to run for Lewes council seat

Leaving BPW, making bid for city office
March 8, 2013
Candace Vessella, a Lewes Board of Public Works director, has entered the race for a seat on Lewes City Council. Vessella has withdrawn her candidacy seeking re-election to the BPW. SOURCE FILE

Candace Vessella is not one given to resting on laurels. Vessella, a Lewes Board of Public Works director, filed to run for a Lewes City Council seat March 5.

Last month, she filed to run for re-election to the BPW, but she has withdrawn from the race. The city’s charter prohibits citizens from holding seats on both the BPW and city council. Two city council seats are open.

She said she had not been thinking about running for a city council seat but several friends encouraged her to enter the race following Victor Letonoff’s withdrawal.

“I thought about it long and hard, weighed the changes and what that would mean, and decided that I could offer something constructive to the city council.

“Sitting on the planning commission as the ex-officio member on behalf of the board has given me insight into city operations I didn’t previously have,”  she said in a March 6 interview.

Letonoff, 77, a three-term incumbent, filed for re-election, Feb. 1, but he withdrew from the race Feb. 20, for health reasons he said would distract him and the public.

Vessella, 57, is a graduate of Southern Connecticut State University and holds a bachelor’s degree in communications. She earned a master’s degree in international relations from The American University.

In 2008 she retired from the U. S. Navy Reserve and in 2009 she retired from a position in the defense industry. She and husband Adrian Nakayama have owned a home in Lewes since 1995 and became fulltime residents in June 2009.

Asked about her campaign strategy Vessella said “I have a plan to wear out shoes.” She said she would campaign door-to-door and meet as many people as possible while walking throughout the city.

“I don’t have an agenda or any preconceived ideas. I’m happy to serve wherever there’s a need,” she said.

If elected, Vessella said she would continue the approach she used while on the board – clearly communicating with the public, listening to citizen concerns, thoroughly researching and analyzing issues, respecting different points of view, and collaborating with officials to address issues.

She is president of Friends of Lewes Library and is excited to be involved with plans to build a new facility.

Vessella has also served as a volunteer reading tutor at North Georgetown Elementary School.

“I flunked retirement. It’s the only thing I’ve ever flunked,” she joked.

Vessella will face off against Fred Beaufait, 76, a one-term incumbent, retired engineer and former college administrator; Dennis Reardon, 72, a retired attorney, Lewes Planning Commission member and Delaware native; and Nancy Stenger Joseph, 58, a former publisher and lifelong Lewes resident.

For additional information about Vessella, go to www.votefor

The annual municipal election is Saturday, May 11, at City Hall. The deadline for candidate registration is 4:30 p.m., Thursday, April 4. For additional candidate and voter requirements, visit City Hall or go to

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