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Martin, St. Lucie County Commission Candidates Open Up About Why They Want Your Vote In Local Election

The wild presidential race may make your duty for democracy feel like a four-letter word, but don’t let the national campaigns distract you from voting locally. 

An ever-expanding atmosphere of anticipation and anxiety engulfs the 2016 presidential election. Little wonder it reminds so many political pundits of the election that occurred back during the era of … never. An arsenal of adjectives—from unprecedented to unpredictable to the unprintable—fail to fully capture the zany mania animating this presidential election. But, the fascination eclipses another important show—the local elections.     

Yes, who occupies the Oval Office impacts our lives. But so does who serves on our county commission. These five people determine: What your property taxes cost; how your tax dollars are spent; when and where road improvements take place; where and whether or not residential and commercial developments come to your community; plus way more.

Three seats are up on the county commissions in both Martin and St. Lucie counties. Some incumbents are seeking reelections. Several challengers want to take their jobs. You get to do the hiring and firing. See our election guide as your cheat sheet. See yourself as the patriot you are. As an informed voter, you’re bringing stability and reliability to an election season that’s anything but.

Where are you voting? 


Martin County

Doug Smith

Incumbent

Party: Republican

Running for: District 1

Who inspires you? 

My parents and grandparents were from a generation that refused to give up. They instilled in me the principles that “no” is unacceptable and that commitment is vital in life.

What’s important to you?

I identify problems and make a commitment to solve them.  “Commitment transforms a promise into reality.” – Abraham Lincoln 

What do you hope to do for the county during the next four years? 

[Return] hope, opportunity and prosperity to Martin County residents.

How are you going to get us there?

Protect, improve and preserve our rivers by reducing discharges, supporting the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan and removing aging septic tanks that leach into our rivers, continue efforts to stop All Aboard Florida, significantly reduce costly, futile county litigation, reinstate our independent CRA master board and implement Neighborhood Advisory Board priorities including the Bridge and Map Road projects, approve the Martin County Airport/ Marine Customs facility, resume support of the Business Development Board for a sound, long-range economic plan to create high-wage jobs, protect individual property rights and support our non-profits.

Share a defining moment in your life.

Sereving as president of the Association of Counties, representing Martin County and the other 66 counties, was defining. It allowed me to advance much broader issues, such as the formation of a federal policy committee that brought the passage of the Water Resources Development Act to advance Everglades restoration and significant legislative reform to the national flood insurance program in Washington. 

Why should people vote for you?

I’ve spent my tenure as District 1 County Commissioner making promises to my residents and keeping them. I’ll continue to work every day as your commissioner to make Martin County the best place it can be. 

 

Henry Copeland

Challenger

Party: Republican

Running for: District 1

Who inspires you?

Unassuming everyday residents who go about their business in providing for their families while carving out a visible commitment to their communities as they support and advocate for causes that enrich our lives. In Martin County, I’m inspired by other citizen advocates, the leadership of Commissioners Sarah Heard and Ed Fielding, and an assortment of neighborhood service workers.

What’s important to you? 

Martin County governance has increasingly tended toward reactive emergency problem-solving as we ricochet from one seemingly spontaneous challenge to the next. I hope to restore greater fiscal stability and a commitment to hands-on problem-solving more reflective of comprehensive planning that appreciates the interconnectivity of issues and challenges we face in Martin County.

Where do you want to take the county during the next four years? 

I want to instill in local government leadership an actionable commitment to fiscal restraint and efficient management, as well as an actionable commitment to broadening our economic base by encouraging compatible and opportunistic long-term business growth.

How are you going to get us there? 

My objectives can only be achieved by convincing other commissioners and senior staff to venture out of their comfort zones through acceptance of new, qualified leadership based on directly relevant skills and experience that I will bring to the Board of County Commissioners. 

Share a defining moment in your life.

In 2002, I walked away from a top job and promising legal career in the Philadelphia area and relocated to the Treasure Coast so that my daughter could grow up close enough to meet her elderly grandparents who lived here and could no longer travel. I realized then that family ties and quality of life are more important than professional opportunity.

Why should people vote for you?
Through years of consistent issues advocacy, I’ve demonstrated that I have the same concerns as most residents and a willingness to step up to address the problems and challenges we share. I am a problem solver. My advocacy has been and will remain about ensuring that our communities and local government enhance our lives. 

 

Jacqui Thurlow-Lippisch

Challenger

Party: Republican

Running for: District 1

Who inspires you?

Marjory Stoneman Douglas, the American journalist who wrote the influential book The Everglades: River of Grass. She was a staunch defender of the environment and helped change public perception back in the 1950s and ’60s that the Everglades was a treasured resource rather than just a swamp. She was a courageous crusader for the natural preservation and restoration of South Florida’s environment, and she is truly an inspiration to me.

What’s important to you? 

Martin County is a very special place to those of us who were born and raised here as well as those who move here for job opportunities, retirement or to raise their families. It’s important to me that we be able to protect our unique character and improve the health of our rivers so future generations can enjoy Martin County as well.  As the old Native American proverb goes, “We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.”

Where do you want to take the county during the next four years? 

I want to bring the county back to the middle from a political perspective, when business and environmental interests understood and respected that we need both to be healthy for Martin County and its people to thrive.

How are you going to get us there? 

I have deep roots in Martin County and will protect our quality of life. My family has been here since 1952, living, working and being active in our community. 

Share a defining moment in your life. 

I fell 13 feet and broke my neck. It was a long recovery and a painful, humbling, life-changing experience. After that, I didn’t do anything unless I wanted to do it.

Why should people vote for you? 

With eight years of experience as a Town of Sewall’s point commissioner and former mayor, I have the skills along with the passion to serve all the citizens of Martin County and be a fresh and reasoned voice on the commission. 

 

Anne Scott

Incumbent

Party: Republican

Running for: District 3

Who inspires you? 

Teddy Roosevelt—a leader dedicated to conservative principles. He was an environmental pioneer with a naturalist’s understanding of man’s place in the world; and a courageous, principled and very human man.

What’s important to you? 

Family, justice, ethics and integrity.

Where do you want to take the county during the next four years? 

I would like to see our heritage become our future and have us not only be a place where the landscape and life of old Florida can still be experienced, but have Martin County stand as a model of good local government in efficiency, effectiveness and innovation.

How are you going to get us there?
We must work hard to improve and safeguard our water quality and fight hard to keep All Aboard Florida from changing our way of life. We must stand firm in defense of our comprehensive growth management plan and urban service boundary. We must encourage and enable our staff to do the outstanding work of which they are capable to help us meet these goals.

When was a defining moment in your life? 

There have been three separate moments in my life, inextricably bound by their common connection: life and death. They are: giving birth to a child, becoming a judge invested with the power of life and death, and receiving the chilling diagnosis of cancer, more than 20 years ago.

Why should people vote for you? 

I have guided the county to review and reform many policies that were wasteful, inefficient or unfair. With the experience of four years’ service, I am poised to continue the significant progress we have made and there is much left to do. I have served as an impartial and objective commissioner, giving reasons for each vote I cast. I am beholden to no special interests and have an abiding respect for people and the rule of law.

 

 “Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost.”  — John Quincy Adams

 

Darlene Fuggetta

Challenger

Party: Republican

Running for: District 3

Who inspires you? 

My grandfather. He characterized the American way and truly pulled himself up by his bootstraps. 

What’s important to you? 

Family and friends. The future of our country and our county. I have been paying close attention, and I am very worried.

Where do you want to take the county during the next four years? 

We desperately need a healthy economy in this county. There’s the $258 million infrastructure deficit, legal fees that are out of proportion, expenses such as studies that could be avoided. There exists a culture among the majority of the commission of disdain for entrepreneurs and property rights. There is a real disrespect for citizens. The mentality of service, which is what commissioners are elected to do, is lacking. I want to turn all of that around, streamline the permitting process, help create an economic plan for the county. I want people to approach the commission in anticipation of objective and impartial decisions.

How are you going to get us there?

We must stop the tax and spend habit so citizens don’t wonder why more money is always needed but problems never get solved. People will come together in that culture.  When people come together, problems get solved.

Share a defining moment in your life.

As an exchange student in Sweden, I was walking on the shores of the Baltic Sea with my host mother. She was relaying a story about WWII and remembered as a child watching the German U-Boats patrolling the water. And then, she softly said that her mother had been stranded in Copenhagen because of the U-Boats. History came alive for me then. When I returned to the States, I enrolled at George Washington University as an international affairs major.

Why should people vote for you?

I’m honest. I am a hard worker. I learned that from my grandfather, a farmer.  And, I love Martin County. I know we all do. I know I can help right the direction of the county without destroying its integrity. We have a lot of problems now. Spending more on litigation than on community development is indicative of an unhealthy county. A third of the workforce leaving the county every day to work, and ad hoc taxation is indicative of a commission that just doesn’t know what else to do. Change is needed. We need to stop this ridiculous argument about no-growth and pro-growth. We need to come together to face the challenges of the train, the water and the deficit.

 

Harold Jenkins

Challenger

Party: Republican

Running for: District 3

Who inspires you? 

My father was a soft-spoken, hardworking man and the most levelheaded person I have ever come across. Roy Rood, dear friend of my father, picked up where my father left off after his passing in 1986. Roy was the most grounded, giving person and influenced me to be compassionate, fair and understanding. 

What’s important to you? 

Family, by far. I have a wife of 35 years, three grown, married children, and three grandchildren. 

Where do you want to take the county during the next four years?

I would like to see Martin County keep its charm and secure its future. Our aging communities need to attract investment to rebuild infrastructure, improve our tax base, help our small businesses and increase the quality of our lives. 

How are you going to get us there? Supporting and reinvigorating our CRAs and reestablishing a CRA board. Our building and development codes need to be cleaned up and clarified so Martin County’s staff and its citizens can clearly navigate them in a cost-efficient manner. Encourage a service-oriented mindset to the taxpayer so we can undo this perception of constant obstruction, and bring basic business principles to the county’s financial decisions. 

Share a defining moment in your life. 

Losing my father at the age of 26 and having to take over the family business was the moment I went from being a 26-year-old young man to an adult who had to make decisions that affected hundreds of others’ lives. 

Why should people vote for you? 

Having lived and worked here my entire life, I understand the concerns of the community—from the working person to the retiree. I’m deeply rooted in the Martin County community and have the experience of running a large business and ability to make hard decisions. I have no hidden agenda nor am I tied to any special interests. Most of all, I will listen to the citizens.

 

“The efforts of the government alone will never be enough. In the end, the people must choose. and the people must help themselves.”  — John F. Kennedy

 

Ed Ciampi

Challenger

Party: Republican

Running for: District 5

Who inspires you? 

Personally, my father. Politically, Ken Pruitt. 

What’s important to you? 

My family and my faith.

Where do you want to take the county during the next four years?  

No. 1, pursue every option to stop Lake Okeechobee discharges from entering our river and estuary. No. 2, complete a majority of the current repairs and needed maintenance projects. No. 3, spend the taxpayer’s money efficiently. 

How are you going to get us there? 

No. 1, work on current water storage options but ultimately “Sending the Water South!” No. 2, list all needed projects by community, with a timeline. No. 3, end unnecessary consultant reports. (We have residents that would volunteer their knowledge and talents.) Conduct county business in an ethical manner to avoid costly litigation.

Share a defining moment in your life. 

Becoming commissioner in 2008. Having the responsibility of safeguarding residents’ safety, tax dollars and quality of life.  

Why should people vote for you? 

I have a proven track record of accomplishments and constituent services. I promise to once again be an advocate for our working class, families, business owners and seniors. I will improve your quality of life and keep taxes fair.

 

John Haddox

Incumbent

Party: Republican

Running for: District 5

Who inspires you? 

My father, a Pearl Harbor survivor who fought in the South Pacific. He taught me the importance of service—to country, community and others—and to do it in a way that isn’t self-seeking, but genuinely puts others first. 

What’s important to you? 

Family, freedom and the privilege of serving others. Whether it was serving my country over 20 years in the United States Navy, 13 years serving fellow veterans and their families with Martin County Veterans Services or the last 3.5 years serving my fellow citizens as a Martin County commissioner, I’m grateful for every opportunity to make a positive difference in the lives of others. 

Where do you want to take the county during the next four years? 

I plan to continue working to resolve the most significant challenges that I’ve already tackled head on. No. 1, ending the degradation of our waterways. I lead a multi-county panel committed to water quality. No. 2, stopping the expansion of All Aboard Florida, a fight I’ve led at the county level to protect our property values and quality of life. No. 3, implement a plan for sustainable economic development, which will not only create good-paying jobs but support our tourism and marine industries, preventing the rise in property taxes that the majority of my commission colleagues have unfortunately voted for. 

How are you going to get us there?

For far too long in Martin County, extremists, seeking to control the county for themselves, have stoked a bitter divide using litigation and personal attacks. This slows down the decision-making process, discourages citizens from getting involved and keeps community from coming together on matters of substance. I’ve built a reputation for treating everyone with fairness and respect, and refusing to play to special interests. Judging from the very diverse individuals and organizations endorsing me, including law enforcement, the Realtors, elected officials from local municipalities and leading environmentalist Nathaniel Reed, this effort is working. More and more citizens are involved in the process, and that has the extremists very worried. 

Share a defining moment in your life. 

My election in 2012 as county commissioner. This privilege has enabled me to meet and interact with many incredible organizations and individuals. In particular, our many remarkable non-profit organizations and their volunteers. Additionally, it’s given me the opportunity to work in a leadership role on our environmental issues, and toward a better future for every resident.

Why should people vote for you? 

My vision for Martin County is to continue working hard on behalf of the everyday citizen who wants their quality of life protected, their taxes kept at a reasonable rate and their government to be responsive and respectful to their needs and concerns. I truly believe that actions speak louder than words. That’s why I choose my words carefully and strive to deliver on what I say. This is what voters deserve, and hopefully they’ll entrust me to continue representing them. 

 

Donna Melzer

Challenger

Party: Republican

Running for: District 5

Who inspires you? 

The residents of Martin County inspire me. From volunteering in schools and sports to working hard to restore our Indian River Lagoon and to stop All Aboard Florida, I have listened to and admired residents working together for our special Martin County difference.

What’s important to you? 

Family, grandchildren, community, democracy, honesty, transparency, protecting our environment and preserving our Martin County quality of life. We must restore our lagoon, stop All Aboard Florida and protect our environment. Development must follow the rules of the comp plan to prevent urban sprawl, which brings higher taxes for existing residents.

Where do you want to take the county during the next four years?

With Martin County residents working together, we can preserve our quality of life and low taxes, along with enjoying a healthy economic well-being and responsible growth. Florida’s statistical data shows that Martin County has the most per capita manufacturing shipments of the Treasure Coast, in fact of the Southeast Florida counties. We also have the lowest unemployment of the Treasure Coast. In my opinion we have the best quality of life of South Florida with lower taxes, and we must take great care to preserve that.

How are you going to get us there? 

Standing firm for fairness, government transparency and following our comp plan is the best way to move Martin County forward. Our healthy economy is a result of our quality of life, low taxes, good infrastructure and an outstanding, well-educated employee pool.

Share a defining moment in your life.

My parents were advocates for standing up for what is right.  Because of my strong upbringing, I have not been and will not be intimidated by special interests including: Big Sugar, All Aboard Florida and Lake Point privatization of our public water. I expect these special interest groups will weigh-in with large dollars against my campaign in the commission race. 

Why should people vote for you? 

I have proven over the last 20 years that I will stand firm for our quality of life, for residents and for responsible budgeting that does not put frivolities over needs.

 

St. Lucie County

Chris Dzadovsky

Incumbent

Party: Democrat

Running for: District 1

Who inspires you? 

My mother, an immigrant from England with a sixth grade education who worked hard and demanded the same type of work ethic from her children. 

What’s important to you?

Making every day count by helping someone and making something good happen. Our environment is incredibly important for the quality of our lives. Health, safety and quality of life are issues of the greatest importance every day in my work as a county commissioner.  

Where do you want to take the county during the next four years?

I would like to see the Treasure Coast International Airport become a significant job creation center of manufacturing and aviation-related employment with applicable wages that help people succeed in our community. Securing limited commercial service at the airport would significantly improve attracting new businesses to the area and provide many critically needed jobs. Ensuring that communities have paved roads, proper drainage and sidewalks when projects are approved, and fixing the sins of the past when communities were built without those necessary components, are equally important. 

How are you going to get us there?

I intend to continue making incremental efforts to chip away at the hundreds if not thousands of needs in our community through research, partnerships, and significant personal input, driving issues to the forefront and securing the necessary funding to accomplish those tasks.

Share a defining moment in your life.

Being my mother’s caretaker when she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, and at the end of her life when I became her hospice caretaker. However, I have to say that being injured as a volunteer firefighter, which resulted in the loss of my ability to continue the airline job I had enjoyed for 25 years, caused me to re-establish my life and future by returning to college to create and follow my new career path. 

Why should people vote for you? 

I believe my history and work ethic as an elected official over these two terms are evidence that I work for all of the people in St. Lucie County. I work very hard at researching issues and finding solutions to the best of my ability.  

 

Betty Jo Starke

Challenger

Party: Republican

Running for: District 1

Who inspires you?

People who care, along with certain historical literature, and my late brother-in-law, Arthur Wood, who taught me “If you don’t care, who will?”

What is important to you? 

Integrity—doing the right thing when no one is looking. Dignity—seeking the humanity in each of us; and transparency.

Where do you want to take the county during the next four years?

Balance budget and reserves; balance upper level bureaucracy with basic service level providers (which is what the taxpayers are paying for); equal opportunities.

How are you going to get us there?

Welcome small-to-medium industries and manufacturing and technologies at the port/airport/county. Focus on crime. Clean up our communities. Free up some expenses by expanding the jail work program. Incorporate this with the innovative technologies leading the way to a mentoring future to reduce the inmate population and create pathways toward jobs, making the minimal offenders part of society and the community. Take the tax burden off the homeowners and spreading it out.

Share a defining moment in your life. 

My biggest realization is man’s injustice to man and wanting mankind to evolve beyond this. I try to do my part.

Why should people vote for you? 

I am of the people and for the people. Service has been my life. I am a St. Lucie County citizen since 1986. I traveled this entire county to hear the citizens’ voices. We must place the taxpayer first. After all, this is a representative government meant to pass along to someone new after four to eight years. Career politicians lose sight of the real reason they are there. 

 

“The people who say they have not time to attend to politics are simply saying they are unfit to live in a free community.” — Franklin D. Roosevelt

 

Robin Bynoe

Challenger

Party: Democrat

Running for: District 1

Who inspires you? 

My father, the late Whitfield “Moe” Bynoe Sr. He raised me to be a responsible and respectful, strong man. I treasure his lessons and carry them with me today.  

What’s important to you? 

That all citizens of St. Lucie County believe they have a fair chance to succeed in their pursuit of the American dream and a government that supports and encourages it for all of its citizens.

Where do you want to take the county during the next four years? 

I have a vision for St. Lucie County that will take it to heights beyond. Making it a desired destination will take a collective effort from all citizens of the county. There should be no need to beg businesses to come to Florida. We should create an atmosphere here in St. Lucie County that makes big businesses knock down our door to come in. 

How are you going to get us there? 

We must do a self-assessment of the county from top to bottom and then allow an external audit of how we conduct our business in the best interest of its citizens. We must have leadership that has the courage to change bad policy for its citizens. We must think big but stay within our means and not pass the burden onto the citizens when we over-extend ourselves.

Share a defining moment in your life. 

When I was 17 years old and about to depart to the Army,  my mother was at the kitchen table and said, “I don’t have any money to give you, but remember this: You can be and do anything you put your mind to if you put God first.” Those words have carried me throughout my life.  

Why should people vote for you? 

People should vote with their conscience and heart. If it leads them to me—great. I would love the opportunity to spend the next four years reassuring the citizens of St. Lucie County I have their best interests in the forefront of all my decisions. We all win when everyone feels part of the team.

 

James Monds Jr.

Challenger

Party: Democrat

Running for: District 1

Who inspires you? 

Coaches, my community educators of St. Lucie County Schools, the community peace officers, the community pastors, but most of all, my parents who taught me to always stay true to myself and taught me to aspire to conquer the tallest mountains and be a mighty voice for those less fortunate. 

What’s important to you?

I want to make sure that my four children and the youth of the county will have the possibility to have access to the American dream and take a huge bite out of the American pie. 

Where do you want to take the county during the next four years?

Where we as a county compete in the workforce in areas of job creation and sustainability, education retention and graduation rates in diverse demographic communities to ensure that we are producing the most innovative, college- and job-ready students. 

How are you going to get us there? 

By becoming the model county for other surrounding areas by creating cross-county relationships via collaborative meetings and countywide focus groups. 

Share a defining moment in your life.

I was in high school living in Fort Pierce. My father had gone to prison, and my mother was left to be the sole breadwinner working a minimum wage job. I was 17 years old and had a baby on the way as well as getting ready to go to college. I made it my duty to go as high as possible in education and ... to reach a career in which I could really make an impact. As an educator I am able to reach more youth and cultivate their minds to become successful adults. 

Why should people vote for you? 

I have shared the struggles of the county as well as the paradises of this great community. I walk in unison with those who are struggling to make it here in the county because of continued broken promises from our elected government to its citizens. For me this is not a job, this is life. I will make sound decisions and judgements based on research methods, which are streamlined with positive results. 

 

“I am rather tired of hearing about our rights and privileges as American citizens. The time is come — it now is — when we ought to hear about the duties and responsibilities of our citizenship.” — Ronald Reagan

 

Sal Anicito

Challenger

Party: Democrat

Running for: District 1

Who inspires you? 

I am first and foremost inspired by God. I admire people that have worked hard and have been successful by believing in their dreams.

What is important to you? 

My wife of 26 years, my family and being able to make good decisions that will truly help others.

Where do you want to take the county during the next four years? 

In the next four years I would like to see our county with an increase of thriving businesses, a lower unemployment rate, a low crime rate and an attractiveness to our county to increase our tourism. I would also like to see an expansion of our airport and to the Port of Fort Pierce to create jobs. It is also important that we work hard to keep our waterways clean.

How are you going to get us there? 

We can get where we need to be, and we can achieve these goals through hard work and utilizing the many resources available to us to work together as a team. 

Share a defining moment in your life.

When I earned my criminal technology degree, and in 1986, when I was sworn in as a Fort Pierce police officer. As the son of a police officer I knew that one day I wanted a career in law enforcement. 

Why should people vote for you? 

My roots run deep in St. Lucie County. I moved here in 1981 after serving eight years in the U.S. Navy. I have been a part of this community for the past 30 years as a law enforcement officer, helping people in my community and becoming a part of them. My son is a firefighter/paramedic here in St. Lucie County. Having an experienced public servant serving on our Board of County Commissioners will be a great asset for St. Lucie County. 

 

Howard Fein

Challenger

Party: Republican

Running for: District 3

Who inspires you?

My children inspire me. We as a family continue to perform better and better, year after year, but many in this county do not. It seems unfair to those who do not understand why their opportunity has been diminished.

What’s important to you? 

To have an effect on our government to the point that they realize the regulation and taxation currently in place is self-defeating. If one is to increase the tax base of any county, there needs to be an ample amount of land available that generates the most amount of tax revenue, namely commercial and industrial. These two land use designations can generate the most amounts of revenues per square foot than any other land uses. This would properly pay for our first responders, law enforcement and teachers.  

Where do you want to take the county during the next four years?

To help it become a society where all involved can share in its success and offer opportunity for those willing to work for it.  To help our farmers produce more with access to larger international markets just to the east of our shores. To increase both the number of and the salaries of jobs available by using the marine port and the airport.   

How are you going to get us there? 

Currently the marine port is not being used effectively or efficiently.  

Share a defining moment in your life. 

The birth of my children made me realize that another human being is counting on me. To live my life honorably, give no quarter when challenged, but to yield when necessary. Basically… listen to my wife.   

Why should people vote for you?

The people of St. Lucie County need someone who has been in their shoes. Our economy will depend on them for making critical decisions because as it stands, we are the first to feel the effects of a downturn in the economy and the last to come out of it. We must think about making our economy sustainable.

 

Linda Bartz 

Challenger

Party: Democrat

Running for: District 3

Who inspires you?

There is no one individual who inspires me. However, I have been fortunate throughout my life to have met, worked with or been exposed to many people that have inspired me. 

What is important to you?

The quality of life for our residents. Every decision we make impacts them. The two biggest issues today are economic development and our environment. 

Where do you want to take the county during the next four years?

The county is working on the expansion of the port and the airport. These two areas are of the utmost importance to the growth and stability of our local economy and also have direct effects on our two cities’ development. With my experience as a Port St. Lucie City Council member, I believe we need to work in partnership with our cities to successfully develop these two areas, while at the same time bring in jobs for our residents. 

How are you going to get us there?

It is abundantly clear that the county can’t work in a silo. We have to continue our efforts in working closely with the federal government, state government and our local municipalities to ensure the best quality of life for our residents.

Share a defining moment in your life. 

Giving birth to my three daughters, and becoming a grandmother. In 2006, being elected to the Port St. Lucie City Council and serving our residents has been a tremendous honor.

Why should people vote for you?

I am a 31-year homeowner and taxpayer of St. Lucie County, having resided in District 3 the whole time. I have raised my family here, worked here and been involved in my community throughout that time. In 2006, I was elected to the Port St. Lucie City Council, where I have garnered a vast knowledge of government, as a councilmember, vice mayor and member of a number of other boards and committees benefiting our community.  

 

Patrick Campion 

Challenger

Party: Democrat

Running for: District 3

Who inspires you?

Anybody who is doing what they love. Anybody who has found something in their life that makes each day a fulfilling one.

What’s important to you?

I have found my greatest fulfillment in solving problems in the service of others. 

Where do you want to take the county during the next four years?

A good leader takes people from where they are to where they have never been. That’s where I want to take the county over the next four years—somewhere new. St. Lucie County should be a shining example of how to achieve big goals. With our deep water port and international airport, our constantly improving education system, our centralized location, our beautiful and unique beaches and attractions, and our vast amount of developable land, we have room to grow an even more inviting place to live, work and play. 

How are you going to get us there? 

By rolling up my sleeves and reaching out to leaders in our business community, governmental agencies, civic and charitable organizations, and learning how I can best help them in achieving their vision. 

Share a defining moment in your life.

When I was 10, I was involved in a very serious accident, which left me physically broken and forced me to face an extremely long recovery. It was difficult to be confined and disabled at that young age. The doctors told my parents it would take extended rehabilitation and time, but I still may walk with a limp. Within four years I won a silver medal in the N.Y. State Governor’s Cup martial arts tournament, with no limp. My struggle taught me patience, perseverance and the power of positive thought. 

Why should people vote for you?

If one of your most important issues is clean water and our local environment, you should vote for me. If you believe that government should focus on helping local businesses grow and expand, you should vote for me. If you feel that elected officials should be focused on solving problems, not creating them, you should vote for me. 

 

“Office-holders are the agents of the people, not their masters.” — Grover Cleveland 

 

Cathy Townsend  

Challenger

Party: Democrat

Running for: District 5

Who inspires you?

God. He discerns me to move forward in where I am needed to serve. 

What’s important to you? 

The future. If we do not act now to change things, correct our past mistakes and move our county forward, there will be challenges forever. I believe people are searching for hope. They want to know there will be a better tomorrow. As a commissioner representing them, they will be allowed to be a part of the decisions for their homes and families.  

Where do you want to take the county during the next four years?

To a place where residents that grew up here will want to come home. And those living here will be proud to say I live in St. Lucie County.  

How are you going to get us there? 

By developing our port, airport and promoting small businesses. We should be a thriving county. We are the only county in Florida that has every means of transportation at our disposal. We have a railroad, port, air, the turnpike, I-95 and two other main highways leaving to the west. Our tourism should be enhanced. This will create better paying jobs to create a different environment for our county.   

Share a defining moment in your life.

As a small business owner I experienced great controversy knowing I was right. Waking up one morning (after a long four years after it was all over) to my “aha” moment of knowing that I am being prepared for something huge.

Why should people vote for you?

I am a mother, daughter, grandmother, wife and a small business owner who has created jobs in our community. I am not afraid to fight for what is right for others. I am proactive and a voice for small businesses. I have served in our community for 30 years and have lived within the district for 20 of those years. This election should be about creating opportunity.