On February 11, 1972, Carol Ruckle gave birth to a healthy 8 pound 13 ounce baby boy. She named him Todd after his maternal grandfather, Frank Ruckle, a lifelong UAW autoworker employed by General Motors. The Ruckles could not have been more excited bringing Todd back home from Wilmington General Hospital to their family home in Kiamensi Heights.
When Todd was three, his older brother Frank Ruckle was diagnosed with Muscular Dystrophy, a debilitating disease that would eventually be fatal. Todd helped his brother for the next 18 years doing everything from dressing to using the bathroom. He learned first hand what it took to help others in their time of need and developed empathy for others. Todd also experienced losing someone before their time which changed his outlook on life.
Growing up, Todd was very involved in Boy Scouts. . He earned his Eagle Scout rank at the age of 15, making him one of the youngest scouts in Troop 50 to earn this prestigious award. To this day, Todd leads his life by the scout law - to be trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent.
Throughout his youth, Todd was also involved in sports. He lettered on two John Dickinson High School Championship Football teams in 1989 and 1990. Although he was the smallest lineman on the team, he never allowed one sack during his 3 year tenure. His coaches praised his quick thinking, attention to detail, and his strong drive to protect his quarterback. He would never let his quarterback get blindsided.
Todd spent a lot of time with his father who was his baseball coach and scout leader. He credits his father for teaching him many of life's lessons, from making pancakes at 5 years old to changing the oil on his car. Frank Ruckle always taught Todd that your word is your bond. If you say something, you do it. In the end you only have your name. This is still one of Todd's core values.
Todd grew up in a blue collar family. The family faced many financial hardships during the layoffs of the 1970's and the eventual and economic downturns in Delaware's auto industry. He learned the importance of being creative and thinking outside the box. These lean times taught Todd to always be humble. You never know where someone is in their life.
Todd graduated from John Dickinson High School in 1990. He wanted to attend college, but his family just couldn't afford it. Todd made the decision to work three jobs and pay for it himself and was accepted to the Parallel Program at the University of Delaware. He soon found a passion for Criminal Justice, with the goal of becoming a police officer. He joined the New Castle County Police Department's Explorer program and went on a multitude of ride alongs with the officers. He was hooked. Saving lives and protecting people from dangers was his calling. But it was not to be. During his senior year at the University of Delaware, Todd was working for the City of Newark's Parks and Rec Department. While stopped on the side of the road he was rear ended by a drunk driver going 55 miles per hour. Within 24 hours life changed for Todd. He could not walk. His back was seriously injured. He had reached his final interview with the New Castle County Police but was quickly removed from the applicants because of his injury. His dream to protect and serve was over.
Todd graduated from the University of Delaware with his Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice. He was recruited by First USA in the fraud department. He quickly became an expert, stopping millions of dollars in check fraud each year. Todd became a Nigerian Check fraud handwriting expert. He later worked on stopping balance transfer fraud , indicating the need for further verification. A focus group was created that led to CVV verification codes. Those 3 number codes are still used today to stop mail fraud.
After 11 year of working to stop criminals, Todd decided to do something else to help the community. He was hired as a Treatment Specialist for the State of Delaware's Ferris School for boys, taxed with rehabilitating juvenile felons. This was very rewarding, however he quickly learned that at-risk children needed intervention much sooner than 14. Frustration with this system led Todd to work as a Family Service Specialist for the State of Delaware, investigating child abuse and neglect. Sadly, he learned how flawed the State's policies and procedures were. He saw honest parents arrested and placed on the child abuse registry, which caused them to lose employment. And he saw truly abusive parents game the system and get away with it.
He eventually left the field and became a licensed Realtor in 2002 . He wanted to help people transition from one stage of their life to another. As a Realtor, Todd has helped his clients through the good times and the bad. First time home buyers, upsizing, downsizing, divorce, death, short sales, job loss, medical issues and forced relocations. The Ruckle Team is one the top teams in Delaware and have achieved many sales goals. The team's motto is "Protecting communities one neighbor at a time".
On May 7, 2004, Todd met his future wife, Maria, at the Casablanca restaurant in New Castle, where a mutual friend introduced them. They soon became a couple and on September 10, 2005, they married. Todd helped raise Maria's children from her first marriage, Jack and Megan, since they were 5 and 6 years old.and in June of 2006, Emily was born, completing their family.
Shortly after being married, Todd's dog hating neighbor called the City of Newark indicating his dog was barking for more than 5 minutes. Unknown to Todd, Newark had passed a law stating that a dog could not bark for more than five minutes. This was actually a criminal offence! After getting fingerprinted and charged, Todd called Councilman Jerry Clifton. With a BA in Criminal Justice who studied Delaware Law, Todd knew this was an unconstitutional law and must be removed from the books. While visiting Todd's home, they both watched the neighbor's cat come up to Todd's fence, rolling in front of his dog causing her to bark. We agreed the dog was doing her job and the law must be off the books. Jerry had the law overturned with the support of the City Council. Jerry and Todd maintained a friendship for over ten years. This injustice and direct violation of constitutionally protected property rights by the City of Newark drew Todd's protective spirit to stand up for his neighbors.
In late 2013, Jerry Clifton reached out to Todd because he had failing health and could no longer serve the City of Newark. Jerry indicated he needed someone with common sense who would serve and protect District 2. He was afraid of what the other person would do. Todd was not really in a position to serve due to the recession and the need to provide for his family. But, after several meetings, Jerry convinced Todd to run. Todd won his first term as Newark City Councilman for District 2 in 4/2014. He quickly learned why Jerry wanted him to serve. He saw the lack of support the police received and constitution infringement laws passed by council that created the strictest noise ordinance in the country. On his first night, he watched one councilman object to plans to build a building because the shadow the building might cause on the street would make it too dark to see. It became abundantly clear why unqualified elected volunteer legislators can cause significant damage to our community.
On 9/27/2014, the Ruckle Family experienced a tragedy. Emily Ruckle was viciously attacked by a dog, severing her arm. She was transported by helicopter to the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, where she coded on the Operating room table multiple times and was placed in a medical coma. Emily spent over a month at CHOP, enduring 13 surgical procedures and learning how to function without use of her arm. While Emily was in her coma, Todd had to make one of the most difficult decisions of his life. An extreme faction on Council had a critical vote come up regarding license plate scanners. Some of Council wanted them removed from the City streets. These scanners hold license numbers for 6 months, allowing the police to solve many serious crimes. Todd felt he had to support the department that was critical in saving his daughter's life. He made the trip and cast his vote causing the bill to fail so the police could keep all their scanners. Todd quickly returned to the hospital to be with his daughter. He was told that the police have never seen such strong support for law enforcement.
In 2015, Todd ran again for City Council and won with 91 percent of the vote. In 2016 he was approached by both representatives of the Democratic Party and the Republican Party to run for Karen Peterson's District 9 Senate Seat since she would not seek another term. It was an honor to be asked by both parties. They recognized Todd's common sense and innovative ideas. They both saw his desire to protect his neighbors. Since Todd is a finisher, not a starter, he declined the opportunity to run. Todd had a productive meeting with Senate Canidate Caitin Olsen discovering they had a similar vision for the future. A Republican did not run in 2016. Unfortunately, Caitlin was defeated by Jack Walsh in the Democratic primary election, and he was automatically granted the Senate Seat running unopposed.
In 2016. The City of Newark and DelDot reduced the signal time at Woodlawn Avenue and Capitol Trail from 9 second to 3 seconds. This intersection is the gateway to Downtown Newark for most of District 2. 2500+ residents experienced a huge back up in the flow of traffic coming out of the five connected neighborhoods- Stafford, Stafford 2, Windy Hills, Lumbrook and Prestwick Farms. It was as if a bomb went off in the District. Todd received hundreds of calls and complaints to fix the issue. After Deldot refused to give any additional time for the light, Todd gathered up representatives from Deldot, the City of Newark and Representative Ed Osniski for a meeting(no Jack Walsh) Todd with his problem solving skills created the new Double Left. This creative change allowed 9 cars out in three seconds thus eliminating the light's failure and maintaining the Kirkwood Highway flow of traffic. Todd set out to create a Win/Win for all parties, and succeeded. Neighbors were beyond grateful. But not even one week later, DelDot announced they were planning on eliminating the signal at that intersection altogether, essentially limiting 2500 neighbors to just one main egress from their five connected neighborhoods - Anna Way. Enter the "Florida T". Todd spent countless hours discussing the issues with his constituents. They fought and because of Todd's efforts, defeated the Florida T. With his daughter's recovery demanding daily physical therapy, as well as the responsibility of a thriving business, Todd made the decision to not run again. Jerry Clifton was healthy and he was able to return. Todd protected his neighbors and was happy to return to civilian life. He had no desire to stay in the political realm.
After Todd stepped down, the Florida T Forces returned. With strong support from Representative Paul Baumbach, Deldot and the City again trap 2500 neighbors to one exit. Being a real estate professional, Todd explained that the depreciation in home value could reach over 25 million dollars if this plan went through. The retired Councilman organized his neighbors, door knocked, handed out flyers and had a huge turnout at the Aetna Firehall where he gave a passionate speech that turned several supporters on council to vote no, including the Mayor Polly Sierer. His neighbors were protected again. Jack Walsh was nowhere to be found. He couldn't be bothered to even attend the meeting.
Since Jack Walsh became District 9's Senator, we have watched Jack vote to raise the real estate transfer tax to 4 percent - the highest in the United States - making home ownership unaffordable for many including minorities. We have watched Jack Walsh take away the Senior Tax Credit, causing financial hardship to many of his Senior constituents. We have seen Jack Walsh vote to throw money at the broken Christina School District with no accountability. His big project was to pass unconstitutional animal protection laws including one mandating that pet owners had to build elaborate dog houses if their dog spent 15 minutes outside in temperatures over 89 degrees or under 35 degrees. These Luxury dog houses cost thousands of dollars to build and require hard wired electricity. He endangered his neighbors by actually voting to band tools to control dogs putting children and other neighbors at great risk. As a former child abuse investigator and child protection advocate, this infuriated Todd. He even supported legislation that would have a child arrested for felony animal abuse for having a dog out for more than 30 minutes- Walsh's own SB139. He even got a bill passed into law making it illegal to place a dog on a tie out, even the pets of Senior Citizens or Disabled Veterans that may not have the ability to leash walk or put fences in deed restricted communities. This is a complete violation of the American with Disabilities Act. Jack Walsh ironically supported keeping a railroad underpass open on Casho Road but he completely abandoned his own district with the Florida T.
With this horrendous representation of his neighbors by Jack Walsh, he made the choice to come out of retirement. He can not allow anyone's rights to be violated any longer. Todd's plans include the introduction of a new school community center concept that will change and eliminate the waste of the Christina School District, putting money where it belongs - with the teachers, instead of the multitude of administrators we currently have. Another idea is to develop a cruise ship terminal along the Delaware River that could potentially bring millions in revenue and well-paying jobs to Delaware. He will introduce a plan to bring more airlines back to the Wilmington Airport. Todd plans to introduce a prison reform bill that will also help drastically reduce waste in our landfills. He believes in personal accountability and would introduce legislation that would prevent any government agency from fining or arresting a person for merely being the owner of that property. The person who commits the crime will do the time or pay the fine. The party that commits the offense mudt be accountable. Since Todd is a big supporter of Labor Unions, his proposals would bring thousands of jobs to Delaware. Jack Walsh has produced zero Union Jobs. Finally, Todd Ruckle will bring his unique negotiation skills to the table that will bridge the divide to get this State moving again, while preventing any constitutional right infringements. Every State official must uphold their Oath of Office and can no longer spit on the rights of their neighbors. Todd will always protect communities one neighbor at a time. No exceptions. He will lead instead of follow. He will not let his neighbors ever be blindsided again.
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