Rehoboth Beach 2020 municipal election

Full slate of candidates in Rehoboth race

Two vying for mayor’s seat, four for commissioner
July 10, 2020

Story Location:
Rehoboth Beach City Hall
229 Rehoboth Avenue
Rehoboth Beach, DE 19971
United States

Rehoboth Beach’s 2020 municipal election features two candidates for mayor and four candidates for two commissioner seats.

In the mayoral race, incumbent Mayor Paul Kuhns is facing off against former Commissioner Stan Mills. In the race for commissioner, there are two residents – former Commissioner Jay Lagree and Rachel Macha – and two nonresidents – Hugh Fuller and former Commissioner Patrick Gossett – facing off. Sitting Commissioners Lisa Schlosser and Steve Scheffer are not running for re-election.

The election will take place from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 8, in the Rehoboth Beach Convention Center, 229 Rehoboth Ave.

Any qualified elector may request an absentee ballot to vote by filing a request for an absentee ballot form, which is available online, no later than noon, Friday, Aug. 7. The deadline for the city to mail out ballots is Tuesday, Aug. 4. Ballots must be received by mail or in person before the polls close on the day of the election.

For more information, contact Donna Moore at 302-227-6181, Ext. 108, or go to

Mayoral Race

  • Paul Kuhns •

Education: BS, accounting, Georgetown University; MBA, finance, Columbia University

Occupation: Rehoboth Beach mayor; restaurant owner

Residence: Rehoboth Beach

Family: Married, no children

How long have you owned property or resided in Rehoboth? No response

Relevant experience: Rehoboth Beach commissioner – 2006-2009, 2015-2017; mayor since 2017

  • Stan Mills •

Education:  BA, English; secondary degree in education

Occupation: Retired remodeling contractor; retired rental property manager

Residence:  22 years full time in downtown Rehoboth Beach in the second block of Maryland Avenue

Family:  Wife, Marcia Maldeis and three rescue (indoor) cats. More dogs soon.

How long have you owned property or resided in Rehoboth?  We have owned for over 22 years and have resided here full time throughout that period.

Relevant experience: 12 years as a resident commissioner, four years as vice president; past chair of Boardwalk Committee, communications committee and state Recycling Public Advisory Council; current chair Boardwalk and Beach Committee; oversaw total reconstruction of Boardwalk, ADA compliance on our streets and sidewalks, introduced the city’s comprehensive recycling program, and developed trusted relationships with county, state and federal officials.  


1) What are the top three issues facing Rehoboth Beach right now?

Paul Kuhns: The top three issues facing Rehoboth Beach are: 1) providing a safe and healthy path through and recovery from the COVID-19 crisis, and the difficult social and economic effects it has had on residents, businesses and the City of Rehoboth Beach; 2) develop and adopt the much-anticipated comprehensive development plan currently being designed by the planning commission for the future of the city; and 3) analyze and evaluate, with public input, the city’s code and implement suggested amendments.

Stan Mills: 1) Ensuring financial stability in a post-pandemic world, taking into account lower-than-expected revenues now and into the near future; revising the budget and capital improvement plan; 2) Ensuring that we remain a viable, special city to our different constituencies, protecting and preserving our charm, and enhancing quality of life in our residential neighborhoods; 3) Revising our code in conjunction with comprehensive development plan implementation including priorities, budgeting and funding. Using the CDP to guide selection and management of future projects and improvements.

2) How should COVID-19 shape the new comprehensive development plan?

Kuhns: COVID-19 has devastated our country as well as our hometown. However, we can seize positive opportunities from what we have learned from these societal changes. We can evaluate changes made due to the pandemic that have worked. The city may be able to implement, through the updated CDP, and with input from all stakeholders, some positive changes. Our community is open to thoughtful ideas and considerate solutions to continue the road back to our prosperous future.

Mills: The CDP, our principal tool for land use and other planning, is currently undergoing an update by the planning commission, and requires meaningful public participation. We have an opportunity to incorporate lessons learned in response to the pandemic, and make sure our vision for the city aligns with them. Immediate action must be taken for prioritizing and funding key capital projects. I have promoted enhancements to Baltimore and Wilmington avenues – a 2010 CDP recommendation not yet accomplished. With a desire to allow more outdoor dining, the redesign of these two streetscapes should incorporate more opportunities for outside dining.  

3) Does the city need experience or fresh voices to help guide it through the next three years? Why?

Kuhns: The makeup of our community is constantly changing and we are fortunate to have a community that many people want to join. Our residents, property owners and business owners are an incredible resource. These voices, both new and experienced, are extremely important to the development of our community and should be welcomed. All voices, fresh and veteran, together can create robust input to guide the city through the next three years. I believe the mix is very important for the city’s future – and I urge us to stay the course and continue the forward-thinking good work we have begun.

Mills: Commissioners with experience and knowledge of our municipal government are essential to our success, but experience and fresh ideas are not mutually exclusive: I collaborated on the rebuilding of the Boardwalk utilizing modern enhanced amenities and engineering; sponsored progressive No Smoking legislation, and contributed forward-thinking recommendations for installing additional showers and expanding public restroom facilities, including family restrooms. With no incumbent commissioners running the past three years, there is a dearth of institutional knowledge on the commission. Our challenges require experience to solve, as well as a transparent government that welcomes observation, participation and input from many in our community.

Commissioner race

  • Hugh Fuller •

Education: college courses, advanced military specialist and administrative training

Occupation: Self-employed; restaurant owner

Residence: Rehoboth Beach

Family: Married

How long have you owned property or resided in Rehoboth? Since 1991

Relevant experience: Management, personnel, financial planning, and a front-row view of downtown and its issues for over 30 years.

  • Patrick Gossett •

Education: BS, hospitality management, Florida International University, Miami, FL.

Occupation: Retired; Hilton Hotels, 18 years; Independent Meeting Planner, 6 years; American Association of Museums, 12 years

Residence: Washington, D.C., Rehoboth Beach

Family: Married to Howard Menaker, 10 years married, 41 years together

How long have you owned property or resided in Rehoboth? Howard and I purchased our home in 1996.

Relevant experience: Commissioner, 2004, 2012 and 2015; 9 years on planning commission; part of the 2005 and 2010 Comprehensive Development Plans

  • Jay Lagree •

Education: BA, zoology, University of Kansas; DDS, University of Missouri School of Dentistry at Kansas City; MS, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston

Occupation: United States Air Force

Residence: Fulltime at 7 Prospect St., Rehoboth Beach, DE

Family: Wife, Enid; dog, Josh

Property: Our family has owned our property for 42 years; my wife and I have proudly owned it for the last 30 years.

Relevant Experience: Served 30 years in the United States Air Force in upper-level management, retired at the rank of Colonel; served over a decade on the Rehoboth Beach Audit Committee; active in the Rehoboth Beach Homeowners’ Association and served on the board of directors; served as commissioner for 10 months in 2017-18.

  • Rachel Macha •

Education: BS, business administration, Wilmington College; master in management, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University

Occupation: Head of Customer Success

Residence:  Rehoboth Beach

Family:  Married to Rich Macha; 5 children – triplets (22) and twins (20); 2 dogs – Luke and Duke

How long have you owned property or resided in Rehoboth? 20 years

Relevant experience: Member of Rehoboth Beach planning commission and park, shade and tree commission; Rehoboth Main Street, COVID Recovery Marketing Project, spring 2020; board of directors/special events, Ronald McDonald House of Delaware, 8+ years; alumni advisory board, Salesianum High School, 3+ years; executive board, Highlands Association, Wilmington, 5+ years; board member, Wynleigh Homeowners Association, Wilmington, Delaware, 4+ years; special events/projects, Ronald McDonald House of Jacksonville, 4+ years; corporate officer/board member/advisory board – several companies over past 25 years


1) What are the top three issues facing Rehoboth Beach right now?

Hugh Fuller: 1) Recovery from the COVID-19 devastation – we must be smart and empathetic, helping residents and businesses come back to financial health and navigate the new normal. Our city government can help, being sensitive to what stakeholders need to recover – residents as well as businesses. It’s been life-changing for all. 2) Having a clear city financial plan for the future. This is of ultimate importance and critical to the mayor and commission discussions. 3) Making sure there is transparency in all city planning and decision-making; making certain all voices are heard. Open meetings, everything in daylight, it’s paramount.

Patrick Gossett: 1) Our paramount concern must be the health of our residents, property owners, business owners, employees and visitors. Only when we are known as a healthy and safe destination will we have a healthy economy. 2) I will always be a champion for preserving our sense of place and unique character. The CDP must clearly state our vision for the community regarding growth, preservation, scale and character of our neighborhoods. 3) Restoring citizen confidence in government and responsible fiscal management. We must conduct city business in the open, welcoming citizen input. We must differentiate between needs and wants when making decisions.

Jay Lagree: 1) FinancialOur infrastructure, wastewater system and COVID-19 are all challenging our financial stability. We must manage spending, support businesses, and protect homeowners, holding the line on taxes and utility rates. 2) TransparencyConfidence in city government is low. Freedom of Information Act requests are at an all-time high. We must bring back transparency, ensuring all citizen voices are heard and special interests don’t determine our future. 3) Our Future - The 2020 CDP is our guide. Its development must come out from behind closed doors. To preserve Rehoboth’s character, we must revise our code.

Rachel Macha: 1) The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically impacted city revenues, increased expenses and had a severe economic impact on local businesses and property owners. 2) Develop a robust strategic plan and a budget based on our needs. A 5-year capital improvement plan, developed in 2018, will need to be updated. The impact of COVID-19 has caused the city to defer some infrastructure upgrades and maintenance because of lost revenue. 3) Ensure the economic vitality of our downtown, shops and restaurants. Rehoboth Beach is increasingly a year-round community. Its reputation and inclusive atmosphere attract people from surrounding areas of Sussex County and beyond.

2) How should COVID-19 shape the new comprehensive development plan?

Fuller: We must navigate our new reality, making certain that the CDP – critical to plan Rehoboth’s goals and policies for land use – reflects and concentrates on the things we can do for the foreseeable future and then, hopefully, beyond. Encouraging outdoor dining is one step, but there can be many more. The CDP has a provision to consider the unexpected, and here we are. It’s a critical document and I support a careful and meaningful update.

Gossett: The CDP is the opportunity for our citizens to enunciate their vision for the future of our city. It is imperative to solicit and listen to the views of our residents, property owners and businesses. Even in the midst of a health crisis, and its effect on our economy, we must maintain our vision and our sense of place. Our challenge is to have the CDP reflect the appropriate balance between effective economic recovery plans for our business community and our commitment to keep the unique charm and character of our residential neighborhoods.

Lagree: COVID-19 has already imposed a severe hardship on Rehoboth’s businesses. In turn, reduced city revenues from parking fees, hotel occupancy tax, rental tax, and utility usage are already having an impact on our city’s financial stability. This experience should inform our 2020 CDP and make us better prepared for the future. The new CDP should recommend a significant reserve-funds account going forward.  It should also outline proactive strategies for protecting our citizens and for supporting our tourist seasons in the event of such future challenges, much as it provides for the hardship following a beach-and-boardwalk-destroying hurricane.

Macha: The COVID-19 pandemic pivots the CDP focus to develop a more robust emergency preparedness plan, and assess the scope and role of the city to guide and assist any community recovery efforts. Developing a vision for Rehoboth Beach’s future in such uncertain times is more challenging especially when deferred infrastructure maintenance and needed improvements are adding unanticipated expenditures. COVID-19 highlights the need for a customer experience committee that will continually assess the ideas and concerns of residents, organizations and local businesses. The COVID experience has uncovered opportunities for our city that we must consider maintaining, such as outside dining.

3) Does the city need experience or fresh voices to help guide it through the next three years? Why?

Fuller: Clearly both. We are at a crossroads, having to make sure we can recover our economic health while incorporating the desire to proceed with long-in-the-works plans. I will be a fresh voice on the commission, but by no means an inexperienced voice. I will bring my 30 years of understanding of downtown Rehoboth issues to the table – and make certain that all our communities – residents, business owners and visitors are encouraged to provide input and have a strong voice.

Gossett: COVID-19 has changed everything – the way we work, the way we live, the way we interact with our neighbors. We need good ideas that will improve the city, whether they come from “experienced” or “fresh voices.” Because of my experience in the policy and operations of the city, I can hit the ground running. My record is one of accomplishment, common sense, doing my homework, and relying on facts. I will be a part of moving the city forward from Day One, rather than having to learn the basics. This is not the time for on-the-job-training. 

Lagree: Of course, the city needs both. They are not mutually exclusive. Most of all, the city needs fresh ideas to guide it through the next three years, with a commitment to unwavering transparency and respect for citizen involvement. Our next commissioners must have the leadership ability that one gains through experience. We are entering a period of significant financial hardship requiring the knowledge and vision that come with experience. We also need commissioners committed to protecting the character of Rehoboth and ready to take on the challenge of rewriting our zoning code. I will be that commissioner.

Macha: We need both. However, it would be a mistake to build our future on the failed experiences of our former commissioners. The two former commissioners running for office left us with a financial mess, a crumbling infrastructure and a culture that alienates citizens’ experiences. My successful business experience, experience as a member on the planning commission and on the park, shade and tree commission, provide experience and a fresh perspective as a commissioner. We need commissioners who are prepared to make critical decisions, be fiscally responsible and be willing to engage with residents and businesses with full transparency.

Gazette candidate questionnaire running earlier than normal

Typically, the Cape Gazette runs its candidate questionnaire two Fridays before the election, which would have been Friday, July 31. This year it’s running two full weeks earlier than normal so it can be more relevant. The city has been encouraging voters to vote by absentee ballot because of COVID-19 and voters have been listening. During a Rehoboth Beach Board of Election meeting July 8, board Chair Stephen Simmons said about 1,010 absentee ballots had been mailed and approximately 250 had already been returned. Simmons said the city has roughly 1,700 registered voters this year and there has never had 100 percent participation. Typically, he said, about 78 percent of voters participate.

Subscribe to the Daily Newsletter