Delaware News

Delaware City Council race

People, parking are central to Rike's campaign

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

Jeff Rike estimates he's spent less than $300 campaigning for a seat on Delaware City Council.

Instead of mailing postcards or buying advertisements, he's spent the last two months attending the meetings of local organizations and visiting city businesses.

"I just like talking to people and finding out what they think," he said. "That's really what City Council is for."

While speaking with business owners, Rike said he came to understand that a lack of downtown parking and the enforcement of current parking spots are major concerns -- and they're issues he'd focus on fixing if he is elected Nov. 5.

"People tell me that two-hour parking is a joke because they never get ticketed, and even if they do, they'll move their cars to different spots every two hours for the next few days," he said.

To support local businesses, Rike said he'd like to re-evaluate available downtown parking and begin a card program that gives shoppers discounts for buying local.

"If you want the businesses that are downtown to survive, there has to be places to park," he said.

Rike said if he were elected to council, he would continue to talk to residents and business owners outside of council meetings. He also said he's interested in serving as a council liaison who would work with local organizations and report back -- even if he's not elected.

"Not everyone can make it to the meetings, so I think (a representative) is something we need," he said. "I've learned a lot by meeting with different local organizations and it's interesting to see what they're doing."

Rike is running for one of three open at-large seats.

His challengers are George Hellinger, Robert Hoffman, Teri Owens, Terrie Price, Kent Shafer and incumbent Carolyn Riggle. Mayor Gary Milner and Vice Mayor Windell Wheeler are giving up their seats.

Rike, who earned a master's degree in public administration while he was in the U.S. Navy, said he's always wanted to put his education to good use. He has done that by volunteering with the treasurer's and city manager's offices and by being actively involved with the county board of elections, where he is a poll worker and inspector.

He graduated from the Citizens Police Academy in 2012 and is a member of the secretary of state's Americans with Disabilities Act Advisory Committee.

Rike, 46, was a plant manager until 2005, when he was in a car accident that left him disabled. Since then, he's spent most of his time volunteering and raising four children: a son and a daughter who graduated from Delaware City Schools and two daughters who currently are enrolled, one a sophomore in high school and the other in seventh grade.

He and his wife, Estela, have lived in Delaware for nine years.

To learn more about Rike and his campaign, email questions to Jrike1967@yahoo.com.

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