Meet the candidates in Seaford's upcoming election

Meet the candidates in Seaford's upcoming election
Seaford City Hall

Seaford residents will get a chance to have their say in a few weeks in the city’s April 16 election, with current Mayor David Genshaw running against Pat Jones, and incumbent Council member Matt MacCoy running against Stacie Spicer.

One big change this time around is that many more people are eligible to vote now that Seaford has switched to a new registration system. Previously, people had to register with the city; now, residents who are registered with the state can vote. What that means is Seaford had 1,363 eligible voters last year, but that has now jumped to 4,804 (more than 250 percent), according to numbers provided last week by the city. Seaford still has a registration list for nonresident property owners who are allowed to vote, adding up to fewer than 100.

Turnout, of course, may be a big factor. The city reported 316 people voted last year.

The deadline to register is Saturday, March 26.

To help residents learn more before election day, we talked to each candidate. Here’s what they said, edited for length and clarity. (Candidates are listed alphabetically.)  

David Genshaw, incumbent mayor

Genshaw began serving on City Council in 2012, and in 2013 was appointed acting mayor after the recently elected Mayor Bill Bennett stepped down to take a job with the city. Genshaw then was elected to the seat in 2014 and has held it since. Aside from his town leadership duties, Genshaw has worked in sales for 30 years.

Why are you running?

There’s a lot going on in Seaford that I want to see through, and there’s a lot more coming up in the future that I’d love to be a part (of), helping see some of those things come through. I’ve developed some great relationships with the county and state, and our governor. Whether you’re a Democrat or Republican, doesn’t matter, you’ve got to be able to work together. That’s been fun to be able to talk about things and work hard. I feel like we’ve just finally got that flywheel moving in the right direction and this is where you can really make hay quick if we can really get after it. So I enjoy that, and I feel like I’m bringing value to that, so I’d like to continue. Still feel that call that I’m supposed to be here.

I love being part of the change process and watching everybody here grow in their roles and I’ve been here long enough now that we’re starting to maybe reach some of those benefits from some of those changes we’ve done. The waterfront’s developed, downtown is full … it’s really getting to be fun.

What do you hope to accomplish if you’re elected?

Well I think in some ways, continue the same path that we’re on, and that is continuing to build infrastructure so companies like KRM see the value of building an industrial park here. But I also think there’s even more beyond that. The Eastern Shore is a great place to live, and to work, and to play, and companies are moving and people want to be different places now, and I think Seaford is an affordable place to live. The beach is not for everybody either, financially you can’t afford it. I used to love our beaches 30 years ago, but now they’re very crowded. Now I love the quietness of Seaford, but I love being close to the beach. So Seaford has a lot to offer. We’re all kind of interconnected right now, we’re all pulling in the same direction, so I just want to keep that continuity going and see where we might take this thing. We’ve made some really difficult, hard decisions, but we survived them and it’s proved to be the right thing. I think Seaford’s future is bright, and I want to continue to help contribute to see that through.

Why should people vote for you?

I think the advantage of being an incumbent is that I have a track record. My goal is to be the same person on Sunday morning as I am Monday morning when I go to work, and Tuesday night when I come to City Council meeting, and I really hope no one ever sees a difference in the person I am. And so campaigning should be the exact same way, and I don’t really have a platform because it’s the same thing we’ve been doing. Which isn’t very exciting to say that, but the reality is there’s just good work going on right now with what we’re doing infrastructure-wise, and that’s going to produce incredible results. I think there’s a lot of upside with technology and different things we can do that are down the road that I think will make people’s lives better and easier. We’ve got good people on staff now, I’m just excited (with) where we are. I’m having a great time and now I want to see it continue.

I believe that if we can attract good jobs here, that’s what’s going to redevelop our town. I don’t see Seaford as a tourist town, I don’t see us necessarily as a retirement community. I do see us as a place that creates jobs. Government’s role in that is not to be the salesperson of jobs. David Genshaw’s not bringing jobs to Seaford, but I think government does a pretty good job of clearing pathways so companies can come here easily and get started fast.

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Submitted image. Credit: Hilltop Studio

Pat Jones, candidate for mayor

A Seaford native, Jones served for more than 10 years on Seaford City Council, and lost a bid for mayor in 2012 after longtime mayor Ed Butler retired. She also worked in banking for 30 years, and is a pastor with a street ministry in Seaford. Jones also serves as executive director of the Eastern Shore AFRAM Festival.

Why are you running?

I have the time, and I have the talents, and hopefully I can gain the (trust) of the people.

Talking to constituents and hearing some of the concerns that are going on now, that’s one of the main reasons I decided to come back to the table. Not to mention that we need women on Council. Because when I served on Council, there were three women on Council and (now) there are none. And the men are making decisions that concern women, and not every woman is happy with some of the decisions that are made because we don’t even have a voice at the table.

What do you hope to accomplish if you’re elected?

When I’m elected mayor, I would like to accomplish transparency. I would like to start there, because that is a big issue in Seaford right now.

(The recently disputed fetal remains ordinance) would be a hardship on someone that’s already in a hardship, because they’re underserved, they’re underprivileged, impoverished.

The fact that what the city is saying that a woman should do with (the fetal remains), I don’t feel it’s any of their business. And they made it their business, and the business affected not just the city but the state level.  (The state) threatened a lawsuit, so it was pulled off the table, but as soon as something else was done in the dark, with a private donor wanting to cover the cost of the litigation, then it was put back on the table.

We are elected to serve people, to hear people, to talk to the people, to answer the people’s questions and we’re not doing that on the level that the city is operating now.

So all those things are kind of tying into the transparency.

In addition to that, I would certainly look into fair housing, because of where I live. I live on the east side, and everybody at the table representing Seaford lives on the west side of Seaford, so there is no representation about what’s going on on the east side. And one of the main problems that we have … is homelessness.

There (are) a lot of underprivileged people that we need to serve, that we can no longer overlook in 2022. We need to do something different. And we do everything else, so let’s kind of refocus and try to really meet the needs of the people.

We do have Code Purple, but Code Purple is there to get them out (of) freezing elements.

A lot of them get in trouble, they end up on drugs, crime and it’s all kinds of things that could be preventable if we would work with these people and find some solutions.

Why should people vote for you?

This is my second chance, the second time around they say is better. I don’t think I had a fair chance the first time. And it’s a lot of things that went on behind the scenes. I had an opportunity to be in the (mayor’s) seat after I lost, because the mayor stepped down and he took a high paying job with the city.

I was at the table, but I was overlooked. And they overlooked me and all the other women, and then they picked a white male. That was the main thing. But I don’t come back bitter, I come back better than I was as a result of that experience, because it was not a very good one. Because I was really sincere (about) serving, as I had at all other capacities. I am trustworthy, and I have integrity, and I am very transparent and very people-engaged. I really do enjoy helping people solve problems and I’ve done that most of my life. (It would really benefit the city) to have not only a woman but an experienced woman and a trustworthy person in that office and someone that can really get some things done.

Matt MacCoy, incumbent Council member

MacCoy has served one term on City Council, starting in 2020. Before that, he started getting more involved in the community, he said, and attend City Council meetings. That led to sharing information about the meetings on social media, and eventually running for office. He works as a recruiter.

Why are you running?

The first time I ran, initially, it was, I believe this is good for me, I thought I could help the city. And what I found quickly was you look past your own front door, and you have your own reasons for why you wanted to run, and it really became I have this connection with our residents now, and they are trusting me and they believe that what I say I’m going to do. I had a loyalty to the city, I had a loyalty to our residents, and that’s really what propelled me initially. And I said, “You put me on Council, these are the things I’m going to do. And I’m going to bust my rear end to do it.” So I want to fulfill those promises, and I hope that I’ve done that in short order and people are happy with the direction we’re heading. I think now it’s more of a sense of your job’s not done, there’s a long way to go. It would almost be a shame to put some of these wheels in motion, get things going in a positive direction, and then not follow through with it. We’re a growing city, we’re a growing area, and people are moving here constantly, and new residents (bringing) new fresh ideas, and the community is constantly evolving. All these good things. I think you’ll start to see a lot come to fruition in the next two to three years.

What do you hope to accomplish if you’re elected?

For me, it’s additional economic development. I think it’s also (better supporting) our schools, I think it’s also supporting our departments and services. We have an amazing, diverse city leadership group. Our police department and fire department are all moving in the right direction; we continue to throw our support behind them and whatever they need. With growth and a growing city you have additional challenges, and we know that, but we’re being proactive in our approach and meeting those challenges.

(Communication) is vital. All this stuff that you want to do, and it sounds good in theory, if you’re not communicating with the people who live here, none of it matters. It’s about what our residents are going to support and allow (businesses) to be successful here. People are honest with me about what they want to see, now it’s my job to do my best to go get it and to fight for them. It is not easy to bring business in, but this is the process: I will tell you every step of the way what’s going on.

Why should people vote for you?

I always struggle with that question. I’ll be honest with you. I don’t like talking about myself, personally. I think I’m just a guy who grew up here; I love this city, I love the people in it. I am not your typical politician. If that’s what you’re looking for I’m not your guy. What I am is the kind of guy who loves this city and is going to do everything I can for the city. If you have concerns, your concerns are my concerns. If you have dreams and wishes, they’re my dreams and wishes. We’re from the same place. I want to raise our kids here in Seaford, I want them to go to these schools and be a part of this community. So I want this to be the best community I possibly can make it, selfishly for my family, but unselfishly for all the families here in the city of Seaford. I just try to dig into every aspect of this community. So if there’s a chance, an opportunity to coach (on staff for) Seaford High School football, I enjoy that immensely. Love that opportunity to mentor young men and have that conversation. I love coaching Nanticoke Little League. So it’s not just lip service from me.

Stacie Spicer, candidate for Council

Stacie Spicer was raised in Seaford and graduated from Seaford High School. She worked for the state for almost 25 years with the Division of Family Services and later as a probation officer. She now teaches criminal justice at Del Tech and serves as chair of Seaford’s Planning and Zoning Committee.

Why are you running?

I really want to see a community that is more cohesive, where people feel heard. I think a lot of people don’t feel heard right now in this community, and so I really want to bring that to the table. I want to listen to people, I want to make it part of my mission and part of how I carry myself in office. I know it’s not realistic to talk to everybody every month, but at least every month go into different neighborhoods, walk around and talk to people to just see how folks are making out, just bring a voice and keep those open lines of communication with people.

What do you hope to accomplish if you’re elected?

Like I said, I really want to bring a voice to the people. We’ve gotten some good starts here, we’re going to bring in some businesses downtown. I’d love to see that grow and, I wouldn’t say return to what it was when I was a kid, but when I was younger and growing up this was a vibrant community, lots of shops downtown. And I’d like to see that revitalization continue. I’d like to see Seaford be a destination for people. And part and parcel with that is making sure our police are visible, making sure people feel safe to come down here and walk around, making sure our officers are taken care of as well, (have) good community relationships with folks, make sure (police) have the tools that they need. And I’d really like to have more green corridors and really (try) to revitalize and bring nature back. Just make it pretty (so) it’s not just a plain little alley to walk through, it’s a nice walkable spot for folks.

I think sometimes things will be going on in the community, perhaps proposed expansion, or (a) rezone, and the community that’s adjacent to that area will voice concerns or bring up what they perceive to be issues. And I don’t think (the) city always takes that into consideration, and I don’t think they always do a good job of explaining why they’ve gone this route. Which, people need to know that. People buy their houses in spots for good reasons, they want to be close to things, or they buy them in good faith that this plot behind me is not going to be developed, or it’s going to be developed like this, and then the city turns around and rezones it and does something totally different. I know we can’t make everybody happy … but I think they can do a better job of listening to folks.

Definitely there needs to be transparency on what’s going on. And I am transparent.

Why should people vote for you?

People should vote for me because I am honest, I am transparent, and above all I’m fair. And I think because of my (past job as a parole officer) and having to operate a certain way … I have to be able to look outside of myself and I can do that. I’ve had years of training with doing that and I’m approachable, I don’t mind talking to people. I’m comfortable in every neighborhood here. And I think that that’s a uniqueness that I can bring to the table is my ability to connect with a diverse population.

When I was (a probation) officer, you have to really be mindful of being fair, that you’re applying the parameters and the rules in a fair and equitable manner and that’s what I can bring. Having worked under a multitude of laws, and what I have to follow and what I can and can’t do, I was able to work and thrive in that area. So I feel like I can bring that to the table here at City Council.

Find more on the election here. Register to vote here.

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