With early voting kicking off on Monday, Aug. 9, the campaigns for Orange County Commission and the Orange County School Board are in overdrive.
In the Winter Park and Maitland area, former District 5 County Commissioner Ted Edwards, Maitland Mayor Doug Kinson and write-in candidate Robert Talley are vying for the County Commission District 5 seat, while incumbent Joie Cadle and Orange County schoolteacher Jackie Centeno are contenders for the School Board District 1 seat.
Since it is such a small field, the winners will be determined at the Aug. 24 primary election. County-level races that have a handful of candidates, such as the county mayor race, will likely have runoffs on Nov. 2. A candidate must get more than 50 percent of the vote to secure a seat.
Orange County Commission District 5
A native Floridian, Ted Edwards served as the District 5 Orange County commissioner from 1996 to 2004. He is partner at Orlando firm Foley & Lardner, where he serves on the Real Estate Practice and Hospitality, Report & Gold Industry Team.
Edwards said he stands for responsible and efficient government and fiscal discipline. He said while he was chairman of Metropolitan Planning, he was responsible for the Operation Move-It program, where road accidents were cleared up quicker to reduce traffic congestion.
If elected, Edwards said he wants to work on three things: bringing more high-tech businesses to Orlando, reducing county expenditures and maintaining public safety.
Edwards said he wants to bring more medical and military simulation jobs to Research Park because it will bring billions of dollars into the economy. He also wants to maintain the quality of law enforcement by providing more funding for law enforcement, fire fighters, jail systems and the courthouse.
When asked what he has that his opponent lacks, Edwards said, "I think I have a proven tract record of keeping campaign promises and effectively representing Orange County residents."
Edward's campaign has raised $147,000 and has $94,000 cash-on-hand, according to a campaign finance report filed on July 23. To learn more about Edwards, visit www.tededwardscampaign.com/
Doug Kinson has been serving Maitland as the mayor since 2006. He said he recently helped bring Metavante Corporation into Maitland, which created 500 jobs.
If elected, Kinson said he wants to help diversify the economy by expanding the medical industry and Research Park. He wants to stimulate job growth by helping existing businesses grow and attract new jobs to the area. He wants to create a better quality of life for families and protect taxpayers' dollars by keeping projects moving ahead and taking advantage of grants.
"The difference between my opponent and I is that I have real life experience in the here and the now, and he has none of that," Kinson said. "I have proven successes that will stand the test of time."
Kinson wants to see a greater role in park expansion where more places can be identified as parks in areas such as Eatonville and the west side of Maitland.
Kinson's campaign has raised a total of $30,000 with $11,000 cash-on-hand, according to a campaign finance report filed on July 23. To learn more about Kinson, visit www.votefordougkinson.com/default.html
Robert Talley, a write-in candidate for District 5, is a Winter Park resident. He declined a phone interview by for this story.
School Board District 1
Bookkeeper by trade, incumbent School Board member Joie Cadle said she brings the business perspective to the Board. She's been on the Board since 2002 and has 20 years of prior volunteer experience in the public school system as a cafeteria volunteer and a three-time PTA president.
She said in these economic times, it's important to have someone on the Board that has experience and understands the challenges in funding for public school education.
"I stand for straight talk and common sense," Cadle said. "I'm not going to make promises I can't deliver."
If elected, Cadle has three goals: operational efficiency, accountability and making sure that every child in the school system learns. Cadle wants to find ways to save money by cutting overhead costs such as the one she helped implement that closed public schools down for one week during the summer, saving $1 million.
She said she wants be held accountable to the community on decisions made by the Board and always answers e-mails and phone calls from constituents. She also wants to make sure all students are receiving one year of education for every year of schooling.
Cadle's campaign has raised $16,364 and has $6,559 cash-on-hand, according to a campaign finance report filed on July 23. To learn more about Cadle, visit www.ocps.net/sb/Pages/District1.aspx
Jackie Centeno worked for the Orange County Public School district since 1998 as a special education teacher, an instructional coach in the Multilingual Student Education Services Department and a Curriculum Compliance Teacher for ESOL.
Centeno said she's got a heads up on her opponent in terms of knowing what teachers are looking for, what teachers want and what teachers are lacking in their classroom.
Centeno has two things on her agenda if elected: better communication between the public and the Board and implementing a uniform policy. Centeno wants to employ a separate board comprised of community leaders that will be a liaison between the Board and the community. These liaisons and board members would go out into the community and discuss what is needed for each specific area and its population.
"Even though the board is educational, it works as a business, and our kids are our clients," Centeno said. "We need to provide the best services to our clients."
Centeno said principals should be given the option to execute a uniform policy. She said uniforms help parents save money, it reduces bullying and it helps students feel like they belong.
Centeno's campaign has raised $3,932 and has $1,361 cash-on-hand, according to a July 23 campaign finance report. To learn more about Centeno, visit: www.jacquelinecentenoforocsb.com/
Be an early bird
Want to vote early? Early voting runs Aug. 9-24; Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Early voting will take place at the Supervisor of Elections office and libraries throughout Orange County.
You will be asked to show photo ID and signature ID. To find a complete list of libraries, visit: www.ocfelections.com/Voting/2010%20Primary%20Early%20Voting%20Centers%20Schedule.pdf