Most of you will read this on the day of your local general elections and say something like, “Oh yeah, now I remember!”
If you live within the city limits of Apopka, Belle Isle, Ocoee or Winter Park and you are registered to vote, remember to vote today, Tuesday, March 13!
Call your City Clerk’s office or the Orange County Supervisor of Elections Office if you don’t know exactly where you are supposed to vote. Better yet, go online to the elections office website, put in your address and the other required information to find out where you are supposed to vote. Also, research the candidates and issues for yourself, before actually voting. That way, you can vote wisely not blindly inside the voting booth.
Keep in mind: Local elections are just as important as state and national elections. They all matter and your representatives are elected to serve you. Right now, state officials, mayors and even sheriffs are deciding whether or not to train and arm teachers to help protect students in schools throughout the country.
The Town of Eatonville had its general election on this past Saturday, March 11 and Mayor Eddie Cole reclaimed his position by earning 30 more votes than his competitor – educator Angie Gardner, according to the elections office website. Thirty votes! That could be registered voters on one town street or usher board members at one of the churches in historic town! Incumbent Councilman Rodney Daniels beat Marcus A. Davis to get re-elected for Seat 3.
The cities of Apopka and Winter Park will also elect a mayor.
Winter Park Mayor Steve Leary faces challenger Jim Fitch, a Navy veteran who is fairly new to Winter Park (2016 from Haines City), reports say.
In Apopka, incumbent Mayor Joe Kilsheimer, who defeated long-time mayor John Land, is on the ballot with Orange County Commissioner Bryan Nelson. That will be an interesting race to watch. Nelson, originally from Apopka, has also served as a state representative.
Two other seats on the Apopka commission are being hotly contested, with four candidates vying for each seat. (Open Seat 1: Suzanne Kidd, Gene Knight, Theresa Mott and Alexander H. Smith. Seat 2: Incumbent Diane Velazquez is on the ballot with Leroy Bell, Alicia Koutsoulieris and Alice Nolan.) Members of the Apopka commission, like those in Winter Park, are elected at-large, so all eligible voters can vote on the candidates.
Belle Isle voters will vote on one Commission seat, District 6, and 13 different charter amendments. (District 5 Commissioner-Vice Mayor Harvey Readey ran unopposed.) Jim Partin and Andrew Thompson are running for the open District 6 seat. With 13 different charter amendments, from how to fill vacant seats on the commission to whether a candidate be required to live in the district for which they seek election, voters should make sure they voice their opinions by voting in today’s election.
Voters in some parts of Ocoee will only vote on eight charter amendments, while others who live in other areas will also vote for commissioners. District 2 Incumbent Rosemary Wilsen faces Robert Rivera, a retired police officer. District 4 Incumbent Joel F. Keller faces George Oliver III, a businessman who ran again Keller back in 2015 when reports said Oliver may have been the first Black person to seek a commission seat in the City of Ocoee. Another close race: Keller beat Oliver by only 20 votes.
– Trish Martin, Founder & Publishing Editor
© Orlando Community News, 2018