Candidates Vie for Open Representative Seat


by Terry Rogers

Three area residents have announced their intentions to run for the 36th House of Representative seat vacated when Representative Harvey Kenton announced his retirement on Friday, February 9.   Don Allan of Milton and M. Catherine “Cathy” Cohee of Milford plan to run as Democrats while Mayor Bryan Shupe will run as a Republican.

Don Allan was born in Delaware and raised in the area until he was 14. At that time his parents purchased a horse farm just over the Maryland state line and he spent his high school years there, working on the family farm. He graduated from vo-tech school in Maryland with a drafting certificate and attended Del-Tech, studying engineering.

“I soon realized sitting in front of a computer screen all day wasn’t for me,” Mr. Allan said. “I moved back to Lewes when I was around 21 and have lived in Milton since 2010. I met my wife, Carrie, in 2010 and we married in 2013. Our daughter, Josie, was born in 2014. My favorite hobby is cooking dinner with Josie whenever I get the chance. I’ve worked in the construction industry in Sussex County since 2003 and installing kitchens is my specialty, but my job has ranged from sweeping floors to helping manage large scale construction projects.”

Cathy Cohee is originally from Northern California but has lived in Delaware for more than 20 years. Her husband, David, is a native Delawarean who graduated from Milford High School. The couple met and married when Mr. Cohee was in the Coast Guard and have been married almost 40 years. They have three sons and two grandchildren.

“If I had known grandchildren were so much fun, I would have had them first,” Ms. Cohee said. “I have an AAS in accounting after going back to school at 35 years old. I graduated with a 4.0 while working and raising a family. I am a retired tax accountant and former small business owner. I have spent the last few years traveling with my husband, supporting his career as a power plant engineer while maintaining a home in Milford.”

Mayor Bryan Shupe was born and raised in Milford, the son of William and Sheridan Shupe. He graduated from Milford High School and earned a Bachelor’s in Political Science from the University of Delaware. Over the next several years, he worked in Wilmington for a statewide political party and several campaigns, “discovering his passion for public service and community.” Shupe served Milford’s Ward 1 before he was elected Mayor in April 2014 and has served in that office since his election.

“The passion to improve the quality of life in Milford drove me to start my own business in my hometown and create the city’s first hyperlocal community driven media outlet,” Mayor Shupe said. “Shortly after, I met my wife, Sherry, and, together, we opened Fur-Baby Boutique and Doggie Daycare and seventeen months ago had our first child, Evelyn.”

Each candidate expressed their own reasons for deciding to run for the House seat. Mr. Allan filed for the seat before Representative Kenton announced his retirement.

“I didn’t enter this race to challenge anyone,” Mr. Allan said. “I decided to enter the race due to the neglect I think the middle class receives. I’m a blue collar worker, my hands get dirty every day. I cannot help but feel the government is too focused on the richest Americans and corporations. The focus should be on the majority of us, the middle class. When the middle class prospers, America prospers. I think the two biggest issues facing our district, opportunity and water quality. We should be increasing opportunities available to our citizens by promoting small business and investing in our state infrastructure. Residents in parts of our district have water coming out of their faucets that fall far short of meeting drinking water standards. Some wells have shown toxins of over ten times the accepted level.”

Ms. Cohee said that, after attending the Women’s March in Washington, DC last year, she decided she needed to do more than just march.

“I am running for office because I am afraid of the future that awaits my children and grandchildren,” Ms. Cohee said. “I did not believe Mr. Kenton represented the people. We need more women in politics who look at things from a different point of view. Next year, we will have a brand-new hospital. We will need new infrastructure to support the staff and visitors. They will need restaurants to eat in, stores to shop in, houses to live in and places to play. I want to keep their money in our district. I would like to see new stores and restaurants and, maybe, a movie theater. At the same time, we need to promote farmland preservation. I believe there is a way to do both without building more strip malls.” Both Ms. Cohee and Mr. Allan point to Allan Harim’s partnership with Artesian Water Company to build a Wastewater Recharge Facility off of Route 30 as another factor that encouraged them to run for office.

Mayor Shupe says that he plans to run a positive, issues-oriented campaign, using his record of service as well as the will of the constituents in his efforts to make the future bright for all Delawareans.

“I will work hard to earn the support of every voter in the district,” Mayor Shupe said. “Our bright future depends on all of us working together. We have experienced a lot of success in Northern Sussex County, but there is more work to be done. From healthcare to education to better jobs, the 36th district needs someone with a record of fighting for the things we value.” Mayor Shupe has been endorsed by both Representative Harvey Kenton and Senator Gary Simpson who is also retiring at the end of this term.

The Primary Election will be held on September 6, 2018 with polls open from 7 AM until 8 PM. The General Election will be held November 8, 2018 with polls open from 7 AM until 8 PM. The deadline to register to vote in the Primary is August 11 while the deadline to register to vote in the General Election is October 13.


Disclaimer: Bryan Shupe is the current owner of MilfordLIVE, a business he started in 2010. 


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