Former Rehoboth Beach Commissioner Jay Lagree said when he decided not to run for office in 2018 it was because he thought he could be just as effective, if not more, by being a citizen activist. Two years later, Lagree filed paperwork May 11 to run for a commissioner seat in the city’s 2020 municipal election.
“I do have more influence than I thought I would by staying active,” said Lagree, acknowledging the importance of citizen participation during an interview May 13. “It works, but it works a lot more if you have a vote.”
Lagree’s first experience in office was a truncated 10-month term. In November 2017, he was appointed by Mayor Paul Kuhns to fill Kuhns’ vacant commissioner seat after he defeated former Mayor Sam Cooper in the city election four months prior.
Lagree said he enjoyed his previous experience, but it’s a lot of work. It’s a full-time job if a person wants to do a good job, he said.
A member of the city’s audit committee, Lagree said he’s running for office because he thinks the city has some real financial challenges coming – primarily in funding for upgrades to the wastewater and stormwater systems. The city needs to continue to control what’s coming out of the outfall, he said, but the wastewater upgrades are going to present a tremendous challenge.
Lagree said he also wants to be a part of the city’s 2020 comprehensive development plan, and part of a review and reconstruction of the city’s code. He said he would also like to see the city’s freshwater lakes be better maintained.
In the age of COVID-19, Lagree said he’s not sure how campaigning will go because he might not be able to knock on doors, which is something he likes to do. This will be different from any election he can remember, he said.
“I think I have some of the name recognition needed to run a successful campaign,” he said.
Kuhns’ term is also up. He filed for re-election May 1.
Commissioners Lisa Schlosser and Steve Scheffer are also up for re-election. Schlosser is in her first term as an elected official in Rehoboth. Scheffer was appointed by the other commissioners in December 2018 to fill the vacancy that occurred when former Commissioner Kathy McGuiness took office as state auditor. As of press deadline May 14, neither had filed.