Why did you decide to run for political office? I spent over 34 years in public service here in Florida and as a native of the west Volusia area and a resident of Orange City since 2002, I felt I needed to contribute to Orange City by becoming a representative of both the business owners and residents to help our city prosper and become more attractive as a place to live, work and play.
How do your life skills prepare you for this position? I have been in public service all my working years. I have dealt with people in all walks of life. My communication skills, both verbal and written, have helped me always.
Give an example of how you have served your community. How does this example make you the right choice for this position? One of my proudest actions, in this last term on the city council, was to advocate face to face with members of the Volusia County Council for approval of our plan for our Community Redevelopment Agency. This plan, finally approved in June 2015, has begun, and will revitalize our downtown core, which was severely adversely affected when US 17-92 was four laned in 1972, eliminating on street parking and much of the available parking in front of then existing businesses. This revitalization will not cost taxpayers in Orange City, and is a 20 year operation. We have already begun to provide municipal sewer services to this CRA area, and will continue to do so until we have substantially complied with the plan to eliminate septic tanks and replace them with sewer in the city. Bringing new businesses into the city core will enhance all other businesses by promoting visitors and residents to patronize all the businesses in our city.
What is the number one issue on the minds of the businesses in your region? How would you address this issue? I believe the number one issue is sustainability and retention of businesses. Our city government is dedicated to working with residential and commercial developers to bring new housing and businesses to Orange City, and we work closely to address proportionate sharing of infrastructure costs to benefit the developers and the city.
What do you think are good industries to attract to this community? Why? As the recognized hub for health care services in SW Volusia, I think we need to attract more health care specialty providers to support existing health care in the community. We also need light manufacturing industries to expand into our community to provide more employment opportunities for our citizens. Additionally, with the rising economy, and the recognition of the importance of eco-tourism in our west Volusia area, with our development of a trail system connecting all of west Volusia across the bridge into Seminole County, there will be a niche for craft and recreational businesses to prosper and bring visitors into our entire business area.
What infrastructure project(s) do you feel is necessary to move this community forward? Water related infrastructure projects—-potable water services, reclaimed water services, sewer and stormwater projects, are absolutely critical to move our community forward. We are additionally assessing our public safety—police and fire services- to meet the demand with our growth.
What do you plan to do to prepare this community for the I-4 corridor expansion? With the exception of monitoring proposed development near our eastern city limits, I am not aware of our needs to respond to the I-4 expansion. We do have need to connect Veterans Memorial Parkway with SR 472 more directly in the future
Do you see Sunrail as more of a positive or negative for SW Volusia? In what way(s)? I see Sunrail as a positive for SW Volusia; however, it appears that extending Sunrail to DeLand is not going to happen in the near future. Nevertheless, with development around the Debary station, we shall see continued growth in the surrounding communities
What opportunities/challenges do you see on the horizon for SW Volusia? With the I-4 expansion, we will see more need for residential and commercial development near I-4; consequently, we need to develop cooperative agreements with Deltona, Debary, and Lake Helen for sustainability and consistency in our plans for growth.
what do you believe are the main assets SW Volusia has to solve problems in the area? What does SW Volusia lack? We lack, with the exception of the new community center in Deltona, adequate facilities and hotels to attract more businesses and visitors to our area.
What ideas do you have to bring more of a sense of community to SW Volusia? More cooperation between the cities to promote SW Volusia as a destination and the place to live, work and play in a safe and healthy environment where there is something for everybody.
What role do you feel the local business community plays in SW Volusia? The local business community is of extreme importance. New businesses fill voids, and sustainability and expansion of existing commercial hubs are a must.
If you are elected what role do you think you would play in economic development in SW Volusia or the area you will be representing? Advocate for bringing more affordable combination residential/commercial projects to our area.
How do you propose to eliminate barriers to conducting business in SW Volusia? In our city, we work very hard to attract new businesses to this area. We seek to work with proposed businesses to see how to make their plans work within our system.
What strategies do you have to cultivate technological literacy in our region? I believe we need to attract technological training facilities, to provide trained workers for both our region and to the south of us, since many of our residents work over the county line.
Having training facilities in our area would also attract new businesses to our area.
How will you provide our citizens with access to middle skills jobs? See above