State Sen. George H. Bunting Jr. (D-Bethany Beach) announced his retirement on the floor of the state Senate on Tuesday, March 13. Bunting has served as senator for the 20th District since 1996, and prior to that was a state representative from 1982 to 1984, and 1986 to 1996. It’s fair to say he’s put in his time.
Bunting, along with state Rep. Gerald Hocker and former-Rep. Shirley Price, worked tirelessly over the years to replace the Indian River Inlet Bridge, which recently opened to traffic. He was also chairman of the Veterans Affairs Committee, along with various other prominent seats he has held in his time in the senate.
That kind of biography alone will ensure that Bunting is remembered long after he steps down at the end of this legislative session. After all, it is not every individual who can consistently win re-elections for that period of time from the people he represents, but is also thrust into roles of prominence by his fellow legislators.
However, Bunting’s lasting legacy to those of us who have had the opportunity to interact with him over the years can not be simply wrapped up in black-and-white. We remember Bunting working across the aisle with Hocker for the betterment of this community, at a period in time when not many politicians on any level are willing to cross party lines. We remember Bunting throwing his effort and energy behind Price when she saw a need in this area that needed help. We remember the countless phone calls from readers and town politicians telling us about how a phone call to “George Howard” was treated with respect and civility.
Bunting has long shown a track record of public service. Before his political career ever took bloom, Bunting served in the United States Marine Corps during the Vietnam war. He has remained involved in Marine Corps and veterans activities over the years, and has called this office on more than one occassion to tell us about a local kid who was serving overseas.
Bunting has had his critics over the years — three decades of politics in Delaware will do that. But we’ve rarely, if ever, heard anybody complain that he hasn’t cared about the community or the people who reside in it. Though he’s officially stepping aside from the legislature, we know that he’ll long remain an advocate for the people of Sussex County.
We congratulate Sen. George H. Bunting Jr. for a long and storied career serving this community and wish him the best in the future as he dedicates his time and focus to his family and his State Farm Insurance business in Rehoboth Beach.
Take time to smell the roses, sir. You’ve earned it.