The senior-most member of Sussex County Council will seek another term.
After saying for months he might not run, Councilman George Cole, R-Ocean View, has decided to campaign to reclaim his District 4 seat for an eighth term. First elected in 1986, Cole is carrying on a family tradition. Since the county established councilmanic districts, the seat has always been held by a Cole. His father, Charlie Cole, was elected to council in 1974; his mother, Kitty, was appointed to council in 1985 after her husband's passing.
Cole will face William Carroll of Bethany Beach in the Tuesday, Sept. 9 Republican primary.
Cole said he has been contacted by numerous people from both parties to run again. “Even one of the top area developers told me he would rather have me on council because I've been very consistent. You know what you are going to get,” he said. “I haven't changed my views over the decades. I've been hard on some people, but they know it's not personal.”
Over the years, Cole – an advocate of sensible growth – has taken stands against development he deemed detrimental to his view of the county. “More is not better. People come here for a reason because it's a great location,” he said. “Others covet what we have.”
Cole said he has some unfinished business. “There have been several issues that have been slipping through the cracks, and this council seems willing to tackle them,” he said.
A perfect example, he said, occurred during the May 6 meeting when council voted to amend the county's ordinance on building height limitations.
Cole said even after 28 years on council, he is still learning. “I understand that government moves slow,” he said. “In the past, I think I've been in too much of a hurry.”
A graduate of the University of Delaware, Cole and his wife, Jerri, live near Ocean View and are the parents of six children. A licensed realtor who also owns an antique store, Cole is a lifelong Sussex County resident. Cole said he would officially file before Tuesday, July 8, the deadline for candidates to file for office.
District 4 includes southeastern Sussex County and the area around the Inland Bays, including Bethany Beach, Dewey Beach, Henlopen Acres, Long Neck, Millville, Oak Orchard, Ocean View and Rehoboth Beach.
Democrat Shirley Price of Ocean View has also filed for the seat.