Having been involved behind the scenes in local politics for a number of years, Ocean View resident Frank Twardzik is finally stepping behind the dais to serve as an Ocean View town councilman.
Twardzik and his wife, Colleen, built their home in 1991, and have been attending town council meetings ever since.
“I rarely missed a council meeting. Then, a number of years ago, we had the opportunity to get involved in some of the local elections here. My wife and I were the campaign managers for Geoff Christ and Michele Steffans, and we were also the campaign managers for Tom Sheeran,” he said. “We had a small hand in changing the atmosphere of the town council.
“I thought, ‘Well, it’s about time I throw my name into the hat.’ Several people in town asked me to consider running, and I agreed to run.”
Twardzik, who was the only District 2 resident to file to serve on the Ocean View Town Council this year, will be sworn in on Tuesday, April 26, at 6 p.m. at town hall.
“I firmly believe that the government which affects you most is your local government. Sure, there are laws passed in D.C. and Dover, but when it comes to it, the people that you deal with every day is where you live,” he said. “Ocean View, especially these past few years, has had the fortune of having excellent councilpeople on board.”
Also serving as vice president of the 38th District Republican Club PAC, Twardzik is an associate member of the Sussex County Women’s Republican Club, of which Colleen Twardzik is a member.
“We believe in taking an active part in local politics and also state politics,” he said. “Instead of just talking about something, go and do it. Get involved.”
Twardzik praised former councilman Sheeran, who passed away last fall, for his excellent service to the Town and its residents.
“Tom was an excellent, excellent councilman. We would like to keep up that tradition. I look at us as stewards of the town. Any decision we make should be for the best interest of the town. We should put aside our prejudices and decide what’s best for the town. There are things I’d like to see done.”
Along with being actively involved in town politics, the Twardziks also served as state Rep. Ron Gray’s campaign managers when he first ran for that 38th District post.
“We’re fortunate here. In Pennsylvania, the only time you saw your politician was during an election year. Here, you’re meeting your politicians on a monthly basis… they’re hosting morning coffees... Plus, you walk into say, Sen. Hocker’s store, and he walks up to you and says, ‘How are you?’ That’s first how I met Gerald. Rep. Gray is the same way.
“What’s unique is these individuals have their home phones listed, and I think it takes a very big man to do that.”
The Twardziks were first introduced to coastal Delaware when they were invited to visit friends.
“In 1979, we were invited down by a friend of mine who had a boat at the Indian River Marina for a weekend. We came down, walked the docks, and there happened to be a boat there for sale and we liked it. At that time, I knew nothing about boats — absolutely zero. Since then, I’ve had my master’s license since ’88.”
They named their boat, the Blind Date, because that’s how the two first met. Now, as Twardzik describes it, the couple are “Mutt and Jeff” and will be celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary next month.
Twardzik spent his working life serving as a Pennsylvania state trooper for 27 years.
“This goes way back, to when I was a little kid, when we were living in Pine Ford Acres, which was a military housing project from World War II,” said Twardzik, of why he went into law enforcement.
“One day, there was a knock at our door, and this giant of a man was at the door. And that giant of a man was a Pennsylvania state trooper. That’s back when they used to wear the bloomer pants and the high boots. There was a friend of mine who ran away from home, and he decided to knock on our family door to see if we knew anything. Ever since then, I wanted to be a state trooper.”
Once he graduated from high school, Twardzik matriculated to Harrisburg Area Community College and earned an associate’s degree in police science and administration, before graduating from Central Missouri State with a bachelor’s degree in law enforcement.
As an Ocean View councilman, Twardzik said he plans to be a staunch supporter of the Ocean View Police Department.
“I believe the No. 1 function of any government is to keep its people safe. With that in mind, and especially with my background, I’m a very big supporter of the Ocean View Police Department and Chief Ken McLaughlin and all the officers. Everybody who works in that police department is top-notch, as far as I’m concerned,” he said.
“With that said, I think all of our Town employees are great people. My goal is, when someone comes to work for this Town, they look at it as a career, not just as a stopover or stepping stone.”
He added that he hopes the Town will continue to stay on “an even keel.”
“I think we should take advantage of some opportunities. Route 26 is one opportunity I think we should take advantage of,” he said, noting right-of-way properties the Delaware Department of Transportation has purchased for its recent road expansion project. “It would be nice if the Town could have those properties deeded to us and partner with someone to beautify the Route 26 corridor, similar to how Bethany Beach is beautified with the flowers and plants.”
Twardzik said he is looking forward to the next two years serving his neighbors and hopes to help keep Ocean View a beautiful place to live.
“I would like to leave Ocean View a better place than how I found it. With that said, I think Ocean View is a great place to live now. And I would like it to be an even greater place to live,” he said. “I’m looking forward to going on the council. After 27 years of serving the public, I’m excited to serve the public again.
“I’m looking forward to my neighbors asking me what I can do for them.”