A Pot Nets woman says she wants to represent manufactured homeowners in Dover. Democrat Paulette Rappa is running for the 37th Representative District seat in the 2014 elections.
Rappa, 51, spoke to Eastern Sussex Democrats Nov. 7 at Bethany Blues in Lewes. “She is polished, she is classy, she is intelligent,” said Mitch Crane, introducing Rappa.
Rappa is also a manufactured homeowner. She said there are side effects to Senate Bill 33 – which forces park owners to justify excessive lot rent increases for manufactured homeowners – legislators have not considered, and she is in a unique position to bring these issues to legislators.
Rappa also said, if elected, she would focus on improving transportation and establishing a four-year college in Sussex County.
Rappa was born and raised in New Jersey. “We can’t all choose where we’re born,” she joked.
She and her husband, who is president of the Pot Nets Manufactured Homeowners Association, bought a home in the community 10 years ago. When her husband retired in February 2012, they moved to the area full-time.
Rappa was a high school teacher for 11 years. When her family made the switch to Sussex County, she became president of the Parent Teacher Organization at Long Neck Elementary, where one of her eight children goes to school.
“We jumped right into work in the community,” she said.
Rappa said the population in RD 37 is escalating, and many seniors live in the area. “We have an aging population that needs to be addressed in terms of needs and services,” she said.
There is not enough public transit for people with disabilities or residents who have aged out of the ability to drive, she said. “It’s an ineffective system,” she said.
Rappa said she would work to bring more public transportation to Sussex County.
Seniors are also working longer before retiring, Rappa said, likely because they were hit financially by the economic recession. Long years of work can lead to stress and other health issues, she said.
“There’s a strong deficit of family practitioners,” she said. Also lacking are mental health services, she said. Sussex County needs to attract healthcare workers to serve the growing senior population, she said.
“We can’t talk about jobs if we don’t talk about education,” Rappa said.
She said high school graduates have no four-year institution to continue their education in Sussex County. “If our young people do leave, typically they stay where they’ve been trained,” she said.
Rappa said if a college or medical school were built in Sussex, it would attract young professionals and increase healthcare services to residents.
She said she is optimistic about her candidacy. Rep. Ruth Briggs King, R-Georgetown, currently holds the RD 37 seat. “She’s going to be occupied in session from January to June,” Rappa said.
She said she plans to campaign hard during that time. To contact Rappa, email firstname.lastname@example.org.