The City of Milford will hold a Special Election on Tuesday, September 1 as residents of Ward II go to the polls to determine who will represent them on City Council. The seat was previously held by Councilman S. Allen “Skip” Pikus before he passed away in July.
Between the hours of 7am and 7pm eligible City of Milford voters can cast their vote at Milford City Hall at 201 S Walnut Street. Qualified Persons in the 2nd Ward voting in the City of Milford Special Election must have registered at Milford City Hall by Aug 3, 2015. Residents are reminded that having registered through the State of Delaware, Kent County or Sussex County Department of Elections does not qualify individuals to vote in a City of Milford Election. To be eligible, individuals must have registered at Milford City Hall. To determine if you are registered to vote, residents can contact City of Milford at 302-424-3712.
Any qualified 2nd Ward elector, who is unavailable on the day of the election, may fill out an absentee ballot before this election. Voters can call 302-424-3712 for information on how to obtain an absentee ballet. Voters can file affidavits and cast their vote in person at city hall up to noon on August 31.
I was born at Milford Memorial and graduated from Milford High School. Upon graduation, I attended Elon University in North Carolina, where I majored in Spanish Education and International Studies. It’s also where I met my husband Jason. After graduation, I taught for six years, as a Nationally Board Certified teacher, and founded a K-5 Spanish immersion program in Durham, North Carolina. When we had our first child in 2005, we returned to Milford to be closer to my family and purchased a charming old home near downtown. Milford’s strong community and developing downtown are exactly what we were looking for in a place to raise a family. Two of my children attend Mispillion Elementary, and the third starts kindergarten this fall at Morris Early Childhood Center.
Since returning, I earned a master’s degree in literacy from Wilmington University, and I’m currently pursuing my doctorate in educational leadership at the University of Delaware. I have worked at Delaware Tech in Dover for ten years as an instructor, coordinator, chairperson, and currently as the instructional director for education programs. As an extension of my job, I serve on a number of advisory committees for high schools and organizations to support programs that prepare teachers and advocate for quality early childhood programs, such as the Delaware Association for the Education of Young Children’s T.E.A.C.H board. I am also the secretary of the Delaware Association of Colleges of Teacher Education. Locally, I serve on the Board of Directors for the Greater Milford Boys and Girls Club as board development chair. I volunteer at various events for the Boys and Girls Club and serve as the volunteer coordinator for their annual Kidsfest event.
Why are you running for City Council?
I have a vested interest in the city. My husband and I decided to return to Milford to raise our children because of the strong sense of community that shaped my upbringing. Milford is at a crossroads, as the next generation embraces the opportunity for public service. It is a critical time for young people to get involved and usher in smart growth for Milford. I am running because I want to be involved in that growth, but I’m especially interested in the plans for repurposing the Bayhealth Clarke Avenue facility and other vacant buildings in my ward.
What do you see as the major challenges in the City of Milford during your first term in office?
As someone who is forward thinking, I tend to perceive challenges as opportunities. First, it’s paramount that we hire a new city manager who understands the Milford community and can maintain its integrity to bridge the past with the future. I am glad to see the job advertised by the Novak Consulting Group as seeking someone with fresh ideas who solicits input. I think that’s exactly what we need. Secondly, my priorities in Ward II would involve repurposing old buildings citywide, such as working alongside the Bayhealth Medical Center team to ensure an appropriate use for the Bayhealth Clarke Avenue facility as the new health campus opens in South Milford. A strategic plan for Ward II is important for the strong economic future of Milford. Third, as I campaign, I’ve heard frustrations about the code enforcement process from several residents of Ward II. I look forward to the opportunity to research solutions with the city planner and find a proactive resolution to this issue.
What do you see as the major opportunities for the City of Milford during your first term in office?
Having grown up in Milford, I’ve seen a great deal of change in our community since returning in 2005. I am particularly excited about the downtown development and expansion of local businesses and community events. I commend Downtown Milford, Inc., whose vision has led to improved aesthetics downtown and fantastic seasonal events, and I would like to see continued growth and development in the downtown area. One opportunity I see is establishing a greater connection between the City of Milford and Milford School District. I think by working in tandem through programs, such as the Milford Student Employment Program, Milford students can work with local businesses and volunteer at community events to gain an understanding of civic responsibility. Secondly, the vacant buildings in Ward II present unique opportunities for businesses to become a part of Milford’s revitalization. By successfully filling those vacant spaces, Milford could attract additional foot traffic to patronize the existing downtown businesses.
Downtown Milford is located in Ward II. What do you see as the future of downtown and what do you see as your role?
Milford’s downtown revitalization efforts will require thoughtful planning and fresh ideas. I see my role as working in collaboration with Milford City Council and Mayor Shupe, seeking input from Ward II residents and business owners, and researching how other communities have achieved a thriving downtown. My vision for downtown is a vibrant destination with opportunities for shopping, dining, and mingling with neighbors. I see the Riverwalk as an ideal location for recreation, like the upcoming Run the Goat 5k race, and historical buildings as an attraction and venue for events like the recent Roaring 20’s party showcasing the Causey Mansion.
Bayhealth Medical Center plans to build a new health campus on Route 1 and repurpose the use of the current hospital on Clark Ave in Ward II. What do you see as the future of this site and what do you see as your role?
I welcome the opportunity to participate in planning to ensure an appropriate use for the Bayhealth Clarke Avenue facility. Trammell Crow, the firm selected to lead the repurposing of the Clarke Avenue space, has a notable reputation for involving the community, and I hope to provide ideas and input as the project begins. As a member of Milford City Council, I see my role as listening to input from Ward II residents, advocating for their ideas, and maintaining open lines of communication as plans progress on this multi-year project. I am hoping that the re-design team will explore the opportunity to engage institutions of higher education and perhaps include a space that would offer accessible education and training opportunities for healthcare professionals and local high school students.
Why should residents vote for you on Tuesday, September 1?
Residents of Ward II should vote for me on September 1 because I was born and raised in Milford, but I’ve lived in communities like Durham, North Carolina that have undergone tremendous revitalization to become a thriving destination to visit and live. While Milford is smaller and distinct, I am sure there are lessons that can be shared. I am an involved citizen who cares about Milford and making it a better place for my children’s generation. I am smart and informed. I seek input from others and make thoughtful decisions. I am motivated, enthusiastic, and hardworking. I would be honored to serve the City of Milford and represent Ward II.