Considering George A. Hellinger’s family history, it’s a wonder he has waited this long to run for Delaware City Council.
His late father, Charles, was a three-term mayor of the city of Ontario. His mother, who died Sept. 11, retired in July from Ontario City Council after 25 years of service.
In honor of her many years on that council, the current mayor named Aug. 15 Charlotte Hellinger Day.
“I come from a family of politically active people, so it’s kind of in my genes to want to get involved,” Hellinger said a few days after filing petitions to join the Nov. 5 race for one of Delaware’s three open at-large council seats.
Other council candidates include Robert Hoffman, Teri M. Owens, Terrie A. Price, incumbent Carolyn Kaye Riggle, Jeff Rike and Kent H. Shafer. Council members Windell Wheeler and Gary Milner have chosen not to run for re-election.
If elected, Hellinger wouldn’t be new to the Delaware city government scene. Seven years ago, he was appointed to the city’s planning commission, and for the last two years, he has served as its chairman. He also was a member of the 2000 city income tax levy revenue committee.
In his time on the planning commission, Hellinger hasn’t missed a meeting. In addition to his perfect attendance, Hellinger said he has voted on all but three election days since 1977.
“I’m willing to commit to volunteer my time and skills and resources to the city of Delaware to help it improve,” he said. “In addition to that, I’ve also shown that I’m 100-percent dedicated to the whole government process and 100-percent committed to using my right to vote.
“I think it’s important that if you’re going to vote for someone, that you know they’re going to show up every night and every day and they’re going to work to the best of their ability to provide value to the citizens of Delaware,” he added.
If voters doubt Hellinger’s tenacity, he said they can consider his reaction to what he calls “Staplegate.”
In August, the Delaware County Board of Elections deemed his petitions invalid because they were not stapled together.
Hellinger fought the decision and the elections board agreed to certify his petitions if he were willing to collect all 33 signatures again and have them notarized on the spot. He was officially certified for the ballot Sept. 6.
“The board members said they recognized that they never want to have to do that again and they said they want to put some measures in place so that candidates in the future know the rules and don’t have to jump through those additional hoops,” he said.
This election is a win-win, Hellinger said, because even if he is defeated in the council race, he’ll remain on the Delaware Planning Commission. If the election is in his favor Nov. 5, Hellinger said he’s looking forward to bringing his experience with city development to the higher level of government.
“Development provides the funds required to enhance the city’s infrastructure,” said Hellinger, whose development focus is on the extension of Sawmill Parkway and turning the Delaware City Airport into a commercial air park.
“As the economy rebounds, Delaware must work to bring residential and commercial development to the southern parts of the city while carefully maintaining the green space that acts as an entrance to the city for those traveling northbound on U.S. (Route) 23,” he said.
Hellinger, 54, works as an information technology manager for SumTotal Systems. He and his wife, Brindi, have lived in Delaware for 18 years. Both their daughters are Delaware City Schools graduates.
To learn more about Hellinger’s campaign, search for George A. Hellinger on Facebook or follow @Hellinger ForYou on Twitter.