Scott Herman is no stranger to the political process.
A candidate for the Florida House of Representatives in 2014 and 2012, Herman is on the ballot again, this time in a special election for a seat on the Oakland Park Commission.
“This campaign is about smart growth,” said Herman, 44, a disabled combat veteran of the Gulf War.
A married gay man, Herman said he will be the LGBT voice for Oakland Park, one of the older cities in Broward County that today is home to an estimated 41,000 people. He is endorsed by the Dolphin Democrats, Equality Florida Action PAC and Broward County AFL-CIO.
“Upon election I will immediately hire four fire rescue personnel and open a station east of the railroad tracks by Dixie Highway,” Herman said in a telephone call to SFGN. “I will be a full-time commissioner.”
Herman faces competition from former Mayor Layne Dallet Walls and current commissioner Michael Carn. An engineer, Carn was appointed to an open commissioner seat by Oakland Park Mayor Tim Lonergan to fill the vacancy of Shari McCartney, who resigned in October to move to Fort Lauderdale.
“I believe I have the resources, relationships and ideas to move the city forward,” said Carn, in a telephone call to SFGN Tuesday afternoon.
A father of three sons, Carn, 58, said he has a vested interest in the community.
“I grew up in the sands of Oakland Park,” Carn said. “This is my home. This is where I am from.”
Carn sought the endorsement of the Dolphins Democrats, but the group went with Herman instead. Carn said he considers himself an ally of the LGBT community.
“I don’t judge and I don’t believe in legislating love,” he said. “As a black man growing up in the South, I certainly understand discrimination and I have raised my children to never discriminate.”
This will be Carn’s third attempt to gain voters’ approval, falling short in commission elections in 2009 and 2011 and losing a state senate bid in 2008. Similarly, Herman came up short in his quest for the Florida House in 2012 and 2014.
Herman said he’s self-funding his campaign and is not beholden to any developers’ wishes. He plans to eliminate private contractors and bring permitting procedures “in house.” Helping city management simplify codes is a central theme of Herman’s message.
“I’m campaigning on principles over politics because the people of Oakland Park deserve better,” he said.
Walls, 60, who served on the commission from 1993-97 and again from 2001-09, is a wife, mother and grandmother. She serves on the city’s civil service board and charter review board.
The election, March 15, is citywide.