By: Sharon Aron Baron
One Kings Point resident is bringing his business expertise as well as his advocacy for senior citizen rights to the forefront in his race to become the next city commissioner in Tamarac.
I caught up with Gerald Heller while he was changing planes in St Louis on a business trip and was able to ask him a few questions about why he wanted to run for the District 3 seat that will soon be vacated by Diane Glasser.
Heller said he spent a lot of time in the fight against the charter high school that disrupted seniors lives. The plans for the school, which would have been been built on seven acres of public park space close to Kings Point, were eventually scrapped.
“I understand that the city is growing, but I think that the seniors need to be a part of the solution rather than being excluded,” said Heller. “Seniors need to have somebody watching out for them. We thought that Diane Glasser was going to do that, being a senior herself, but obviously she was at the forefront of that location. That’s where the problem was. I don’t want to see that happen again.”
As a Board Member for his condo association, Heller spends a lot of time making sure residents are aware of safety and security. He was also appointed by Broward County Commissioner Stacy Ritter to the Board of Advisors to Broward County for Small Business.
Heller has experience and knowledge with over 40 years as a business leader and employer in Broward County. Currently, he is the Director of Business Development at JAS Interconnect Solutions, which according to the website, is an international source for electronic interconnects component, airplane spares, mil-hardware, and semiconductors requirements.
Born in Brooklyn, his mother died of breast cancer at the age 51 and his father, who battled depression, died two years later from alcohol-related causes. He said that his biggest influences were his elementary school teachers who were aware of his family situation and made sure he was taken care of.
Heller fell in love at the age of 19 with his wife of 60 years, Francine Katz, and married her six months later with his father’s approval. They were living at his in-laws, working and going to school while he delivered meat for Highway Meats on the weekends for his father-in law. Heller said that the Trump’s were customers, and Donald Trump’s mother was his best tipper: a quarter. Donald’s father Fred Trump got them their first apartment in his rent-controlled building on Kings Highway and Bedford Avenue where they lived only a block away.
Heller said that as a commissioner, he will do whatever he can to make sure residents concerns are given the proper consideration as Tamarac grows and the demographics change.
“As a business leader and adviser to the County I understand the importance of the business community to our City,” he said. “However, our senior citizens need an active commissioner protecting their rights and assuring their safety, security and lifestyle.”
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