It was a tough, hard-fought campaign, but you personally as a candidate worked hard to remain professional and civil. Why was this important to you?
I believe candidates should be honest, consistent, and predictable. The ‘campaign’ candidate should be the same as the ‘elected’ official. I ran my campaign as a candidate who appealed to all voters or the largest majority. No extreme views or special interests are favored by all residents, so I tried to project professionalism practiced throughout a long career and built on stability, decency, thoughtful consideration, deliberate action, and the art of listening. I hold myself accountable for all I do and use these qualities as a measure of my performance.
Throughout the campaign a number of policy issues and voter topics were brought to the forefront. Was there a topic or issue that surprised you being on the public’s radar? What did you learn during the campaign you didn’t know before about Palm Coast & the community?
I was surprised that mental health services were not brought to the election’s forefront as a priority issue. Only one forum question addressed the gap in local services available to residents. The problems associated with mental health are growing in the community and will be further aggravated by population growth. An important lesson is that special election campaigns may not have a long enough timeline to promote all important issues and topics.
Moving forward, transparency is one of the things voters most clamored for. How will you ensure City Hall, and the council is transparent?
Sunshine Law, ethical standards, and best practices are a good starting point to ensure transparency. Communication is most effective when accompanied by training. The voters should be better educated on priority issues, so they have a working knowledge of the subject and are able to digest communication updates. Inconsistent or unintelligible communication creates doubt and negative impressions in the community. Clear and regular releases from public relations to informed voters is a good recipe for transparency.
Council meetings have been tough. How do you hope to ensure council members act respectfully to each other and to the public?
Leading with decorum and tolerating nothing less than mutual respect is the first order of business. A common understanding that each council member may have different or opposing views on any issue is paramount. A team can unify through respectful debate and enjoy a best possible outcome when all views are discussed and debated. The process is challenging but produces a best result built on a full vetting of the subject. A collaborative conclusion should always be the team’s priority and expected goal following negotiation and concession.
What was your first thought when waking up on Wednesday morning, knowing it was over and that you have a real chance to make an impact for the City of Palm Coast and the citizens you’ll now represent?
I enjoy a calm sense of purpose and satisfaction. Campaigns are challenging and provide some seasoning and earned stripes for the elected candidate. I have studied both the land and community for ten years to prepare for the election. I am excited over the prospect of leading the City of Palm Coast forward through growth, opportunity, and success. I am committed to make Palm Coast the best city, in the best county, in the best state to live, work, and love life!