Rehoboth commissioner explains decision

June 6, 2014

People generally agree that the things we do that are most satisfying are often the most challenging to accomplish. Having a successful relationship, building a business, raising a family, getting an education - these are the building blocks of our society, and they require intense levels of effort and focus. As the old saying goes, “No one ever said it would be easy…”

One of the most joyful aspects of my life has been finding Rehoboth Beach. Buying a home here, opening two restaurants, and establishing Rehoboth as my home has been a wonderful experience. And when I decided to run for the Rehoboth Beach Commission in 2011 it was because I wanted to help steer our town, not in a new direction as is often said, but instead to help guide its need to modernize while keeping true to its core. I knew that would be a challenge, but it was one I felt was worth undertaking.

However, after sitting on the commission for three years, I can honestly say that the challenge I was looking for has been both a joy of service and a vexing journey. It started with a letter to the Delaware Public Integrity Commission questioning my ability to be impartial and a deeply invasive tax review to see if I was “truly” a citizen of Delaware. Both accusations were found to be baseless, and those came from the dais I so eagerly wanted to join. And, one week after being elected, I worked with two other commissioners to fulfill a campaign pledge I made to expand dialog and outreach to citizens, but was told no.

In the three years that have followed, I worked to be the voice that I heard on the street, in emails and phone calls, from businesses and beach goers. It has always been clear to me that we needed to move our city forward and capitalize on the growth and energy emanating from all of our residents, but I found many are content to only look to the past in the guise of “tradition.” That fear to put a toe in the water of progress led to many painful debates and often resulted in missed opportunities for our town.

I have shared these same thoughts from the dais, always wearing my position on my sleeve, where my frustration has been apparent, but my passion consistent. I ran on a platform of measured change and open communication, and I still believe that’s what’s needed in Rehoboth. Unfortunately for me, I can no longer push for that change while on the commission at this time, and as a result I have decided not to seek re-election. I’m disappointed, and I will miss the debate, but the truth is at this time and with the current mix, I believe I can work for change as a private citizen again.

I have the utmost respect for the commissioners and the mayor and I am very proud of to have served with them as your representative and to have been part of bringing a new city manager to town, upgrading our parking systems, the creation of our Sister City Garden of the Navigators, expanded scooter and bicycle safety and parking, a smoke-free beach and many more projects.

As a resident, a businessman, a spouse and a father, I will remain involved and engaged in moving our city forward for the better. And as a voter, I will continue to actively support and encourage candidates who are focused on the core of Rehoboth. Who knows, that candidate may one day again be me. But for now, I will be content to push for change for the town I love from outside City Hall.

Commissioner Mark Hunker
Rehoboth Beach

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