Geri Delevich has lived in New Hope for 40 years, 18 of which she served in Borough Council. However, the out community member does not plan to stop there.
“Now that I’m retired, I can’t just relax and do nothing,” Delevich laughed. “I feel like I have to make a contribution, use my talents that I have and make my place in the world better for everyone.”
If elected later this year, her new contribution will be as mayor of New Hope. Delevich is running unopposed in the Democratic primary and will compete against Republican incumbent Larry Keller in November.
Throughout her time in New Hope, Delevich advanced a number of LGBT-rights issues within the town and the New Hope-Solebury School District. This included a 2002 LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinance. Additionally, she helped reinvigorate the school district’s Gay-Straight Alliance and backed a transgender-inclusive policy.
“I was happy to participate in such movements for our area and such protections for people’s rights,” Delevich said. “I am proud that I was able to do that. I feel that members of the community can feel safer here.”
Another way Delevich contributed was by working to increase New Hope’s rating on the Human Rights Campaign’s Municipal Equality Index. The ranking rates municipalities on areas such as nondiscrimination laws and an overall relationship with the LGBT community. New Hope initially had a score of 48 in 2012 but Delevich, along with attorney Angela Giampolo, helped establish LGBT liaisons within city departments, advanced a resolution supporting marriage equality and pioneered other LGBT-inclusive policies, resulting in the town’s score rising to 89 the next year.
Delevich also served as executive producer for “Embraceable You,” a documentary on New Hope. She noted her experience in the town’s first Pride parade as inspiration for this documentary.
“We were all coming down the hill into the center of New Hope,” Delevich said. “Hundreds of people were there cheering us on and they were straight allies. It brought tears to my eyes because we live in a community where people don’t even care what title or what label you have. They were just celebrating right along with us and letting us know that they supported us.
“Then I thought I wanted to do a documentary on how people in this town have embraced differences throughout their history,” Delevich added. “It’s a really amazing community that has had that reputation forever.”
The documentary ended up including interviews with more than 25 New Hope residents and merchants. Eventually, the project expanded to a book and CD — all addressing the town’s diversity.
Since Delevich has such an established relationship with New Hope residents, she said she would step into the role of mayor “very easily.”
“Those are the kinds of reasons why I think I’d do a great job and I’m eager to be mayor,” she said.
When asked why she loves New Hope, Delevich laughed before listing several reasons. Among them are the restaurants, Bucks County Playhouse and its “natural beauty.” However, she said the first thing that comes to mind are the town’s citizens and visitors.
“I love New Hope because of the people that live in New Hope and the kind of people that come to New Hope,” Delevich said. “They come to New Hope because they know it’s a community that is unique and avant-garde and a community where you can be different, accepted and welcomed.”
Delevich said New Hope boasts the diversity and bustling atmosphere of a city, yet in a much different setting.
“I’ve had friends who come from L.A. and say there’s more to do in New Hope than there was to do in Los Angeles,” Delevich said with a laugh. “They could be busy every night of the week.
“I couldn’t ask for a better place to live.”
For more information on Geri Delevich, visit www.geriformayor.com.