Three seats on the Wilton Manors Commission are up for grabs in the Nov. 3 election and the campaigning has begun to heat up.
[Update: Carson is now running for mayor]
Two 4-year Commission seats, occupied by Tom Green and Julie Carson, and the Mayor’s 2-year seat, occupied by Justin Flippen are up for election. Green is not running for re-election and Flippen has not yet announced if he is running for re-election.
To date, incumbent Julie Carson and political newcomers Michael Bracchi and Chris Caputo have announced their intentions to run for Commissioner.
Here is our Q&A with Carson. Visit SFGN.com/WMelection2020 to read the other candidate profiles and for other Wilton Manors election news.
Why have you decided to run for Commission?
I decided to run for re-election because I believe that my contributions to the City’s fiscal health, improved quality of life, economic vitality, and our culture of public service and care are critical to a successful standing of the Wilton Manors for the next four years.
What are your qualifications?
I was appointed to the Wilton Manors Commission in November 2008 to complete the term of a Commissioner who resigned. I served until 2009. I was then elected in 2010 for a two-year term. I was re-elected in 2012 for four years, and again in 2016 for four years.
I am the recipient of numerous public service awards, including the Pride Center Alan Schubert Award of Excellenece, the 2016 Jamie Bloodworth Leadership Award, the 2015 Equality Florida Community Partner for Equality Award and the 2014 Trans-Equality Award for Service to the Community.
List your top issues of concern?
I take my cues from my constituents and the stakeholders of our City. They have indicated that a main concern is that we continue to diversify our economic base, and with the hiring of a new Economic Development Director, chart a path for our community that is fertile for supporting the right mix of businesses in all areas of the City, while still preserving our neighborhoods.
I am supportive of increased density and height in the appropriate area of the City, along with ushering in a boutique hotel. Providing adequate and affordable housing for those who want to live, work and play in our City is critical.
Continuing to address Climate Change and Sea Level Rise issues through thoughtful planning and partnership with neighboring cities and Broward County is essential to our safe future. Preserving, repairing and providing for infrastructure that supports our anticipated growth are crucial.
Why are you a better choice than your opponents?
I am a dedicated and accessible public servant who responds to all emails and phone calls, and I have never missed a Commission Meeting in my entire tenure. I provide a unique vision and am committed to conscientious service to all residents.
How long have you lived in the city?
I have lived in Wilton Manors nearly 18 years and currently rent a condo in the Central Area.
Are you in favor of term limits, why or why not?
Yes, I am in favor of term limits and have voiced that favor from the dais on numerous occasions. I feel that it is important to have continuity of service but also critical to have new ideas from involved persons.
Talk about your ideas for improving the city’s downtown business district?
I believe that the narrowing of Wilton Drive will be an impetus for growth in the City. Additionally, like the majority of my colleagues, I urge the continued exploration of a public private partnership for the City Hall Property.
The city now has an all-gay Commission. How will you serve ALL the city’s residents, since the majority of Wilton Manors’ residents are not gay?
As a City Commissioner, I am a servant to all residents, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, race, political affiliation, faith or otherwise. This is a demonstrated hallmark of my service!
Are you married, kids, partner, etc?
I am single with two wonderful dog children.
What is your profession?
I am a paralegal with Vertical Bridge REIT, LLC, a national company based in Boca Raton, Florida where I coordinate legal matters related to the acquisition and leasing of cellular and radio towers. Vertical Bridge is the largest privately- owned cellular tower company in the nation.
How will your profession mesh with your job as commissioner, if elected? Would there be a conflict of any sort?
There have been no conflicts of interest during my tenure on the Commission, and my employer is supportive of my public service.
What is your biggest criticism of what the Wilton Manors Commission has done recently, if any?
Our Mayor and City Commission are each committed public servants who, I believe, care about our Island City. I however, view the City Charter and our Code of Ordinances as living, breathing and expansive documents. I believe that our City Commission should work together to expand rather than constrict our Code of Ordinances.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
One of my greatest accomplishments was having the opportunity to be a foster parent to my 5-year old nephew. He attended each Commission Meeting with me, and my colleagues, city staff and administration helped me during this important and valuable time in my life. Truly, it takes a Village and Wilton Manors is my home.
Visit SFGN.com/WMelection2020 to read the other candidate profiles and for other Wilton Manors elections news.