Frankford resident Rob Arlett officially filed this week to run as a District 5 candidate in the upcoming Sussex County Council election in November.
“I believe that we have a great vision for the future of the county and for the councilmanic District 5, and we want to be a part of that process,” said Arlett.
Along with owning Beach Bound Realty, Arlett has taken an active role in the community over the years. Currently, he serves as the chairman for the Republican Party in the state’s 30th Representative District. He is a past president of a homeowners Association, past chairman of the Public Policy Committee of the Sussex County Association of Realtors and had served on the board of directors with Operations SEAs the Day.
“We’ve been serving for quite some time,” said Arlett. “We’ve always had a heart to want to give and find solutions and be a help to others. That has always been a part of my life.”
During his official filing on Wednesday, July 2, Arlett was joined by his wife, Lorna, and his two sons, Justin and Jared, along with Sussex County District 4 Councilman George Cole, who announced his candidacy in June, and Lewis Briggs.
Arlett said that, as a man of faith, it has always been important to him to serve others.
“My faith is important for me and our family. That’s the way we’ve tried to live our lives and instill in our kids.”
The Arlett family moved to Sussex County in December 2005 from Virginia.
“That’s when life began for us. We moved here because it was important for us to focus on the family in a great quality-of-life area. I respect and appreciate Sussex County so much because of the quality of life and the values that are here.”
Arlett said his family moved to Delaware from Virginia after hearing about the area from friends and mentors who had purchased homes locally.
“I came here and fell in love with the low-key quality of life. In the Northern Virginia area, it’s all about the rat-race, keeping up with the Joneses — the focus was on careers and the dollar bill.
“For me, my focus has always been on my family and the quality of life as it related to the family. I chose Delaware strictly because of what it was offering. It’s something I appreciate greatly, as do others.”
That, Arlett said, is what has compelled him to run for the District 5 seat, which is currently held by Republican Vance Phillips.
“My goal is to preserve the past and plan for the future. That’s something I’m focused in on,” he said. “In ‘preserving the past,’ what I mean is conserving one’s conservative values.”
Arlett said he believes people love the county due to its low taxes, small government and having the power in the hands of the people.
“I think that’s what’s most important here in Sussex. People know that, people appreciate that, and people value that. That’s what we will continue to ensure happens — keeping those conservative values on the forefront of our way of life here.”
In planning for the future, Arlett said, there’s a lot of work to do.
“Throughout Sussex, our youth struggle here. A lot of them get in trouble. There’s not much for them to do. There are not many opportunities for them,” he said. “For me, the No. 1 is focusing in on the economic development of this area. I came here because I had a vision and a dream to be a part of this lifestyle. We know what this area has to offer because that’s why we came here.”
Arlett said that, if elected, he hopes to maintain the rights of property owners.
“I’m very familiar with property rights, as a Realtor. A big function of the Sussex County Council is land development. I’m a big believer of property rights. I think that’s something that is important.”
If elected, he also hopes to work closely with the State, to ensure that Sussex County is never an afterthought.
“We need to work hand in hand with the State. I think we need to work more directly with the State. We need to keep pressure on the State to focus in on Sussex County — not just upstate,” he said. “That’s something that is very important to me — making sure Sussex County is getting highlighted by the State when it comes to their responsibilities.”
Arlett said he agrees with a fellow District 5 candidate that the County is in need of its own Code of Ethics, above and beyond the State’s Code.
“It’s correct that, because we don’t have one, by default we follow the State’s Code of Ethics. The difference is we are the only county who does not have a county Code of Ethics,” he said, adding that some people believe there is corruption in the state, and the current code is a passive one — “meaning nothing is done unless there is a complaint.
“I’m not so sure that that’s best. Sussex County takes pride in being different than the rest of the state. Therefore, why wouldn’t anyone not want a Sussex County Code of Ethics? I think the government should be held accountable to its people. As Sussex County councilmen, we should be held accountable not to the State of Delaware, but to the people of Sussex County.
“To me, it’s common sense. I think that’s very, very important that we have that… More accountability is better than less accountability.”
District 5 spans southern Sussex County, extending from the Maryland line to the Atlantic Ocean, including the towns of Dagsboro, Delmar, Fenwick Island, Frankford, Laurel, Millsboro, Millville, Selbyville and South Bethany and nearby unincorporated areas.
“The Fifth District a microcosm of all of Delaware, and for the country, for that matter. If you think about it, the Fifth District is very diverse. It’s diverse, economically speaking — you have beachfront million-dollar properties and you have very rural homes. Geographically speaking, you have rural areas, farmland, industrial areas like Millsboro and Selbyville. Ethnically speaking, it’s a very diverse district.
“It’s very, very diverse, which is why I think I would be best representative of it, because we have a vast experience, very diverse experiences. We’re not raised with land given to us, no trust fund. We’ve had to work for everything. We have a respect for the work ethic and personal responsibility.”
Arlett was born in Newport, R.I., the son of a U.S. Navy officer and, as a result, has lived all over the country.
“We did quite a bit of traveling as a kid,” he said. “For 15 years I was in San Diego, Calif. I graduated high school in Hawaii and started college out there.”
Arlett will be running against Phillips in the September Republican primary election. Democrats Brad Connor and Bob Wheatley have both filed for the seat, as well.
“In District 5, I want to restore integrity back to the office. There have been some distractions that have been there. That, in my opinion, takes away focus from the people’s business. I come with no hidden agendas, no backgrounds that I’m ashamed of,” he said. “As a conservative Republican, I want to make sure that we win this seat and keep control of the County Council a Republican body. We already know how the State is run by the Democrats, and people are not very pleased. We want no part of that. We want to continue to be a conservative county.”
Arlett’s first campaign kickoff will be on Friday, July 4, at the Laurel Fourth of July Parade.
“We are going to reach out, meet and listen to the people,” he said. “We’re going to go out and do whatever it takes to be out in front of the people and to listen and learn from them.”
Arlett said he’s received a lot of support in his run, especially from his close family friends who are native Sussex Countians.
“I’ve had a lot of encouragement and support from many people, from locals especially. Our best friends are locals. We vacation with locals. We have been accepted by the locals.”
Arlett said he will offer a fresh perspective — one of optimism and positivity — to the council if elected.
“We are very excited about the future for Sussex County, and glad to be a part of it. It would be an honor to serve as an ambassador of the Fifth District,” he said.