On Monday night, three days into the eight-day early voting period, 808 voters had cast ballots at the Winter Park Library, with more than 5,000 Orange County residents opting to vote early at the 10 centers across the county.
Early voting continues in Orange County through Saturday, Jan. 28; Election Day is Tuesday, Jan. 31. Ten centers are available to eligible voters including the Winter Park Library, 460 E. New England Ave., Winter Park (10 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day). Visit www.orangecountyvotes.com
Early voting is in full swing as Winter Park and Maitland get ready to elect mayors, weigh in on economic incentives meant to attract new businesses to the area, and pick the state’s Republican nominee for president.
It wasn’t just the local candidates blazing the campaign trail this week. Presidential candidate and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich addressed donors at a fundraiser at Jeanne Atkinson’s Winter Park home on Wednesday evening. What started out as just a small fundraiser turned into a nationally televised event on Fox News, organizer Shannon Herring said.
“I thought I was hosting a small reception and fundraiser for Speaker Newt Gingrich,” Herring wrote on her Facebook page on Tuesday, “and now I find out that Sean Hannity and Fox News will be filming at my event tomorrow and half of Winter Park is attending.”
On the local level, we asked the candidates for mayor in Winter Park and Maitland to write, in about 50 words, why they deserve your vote. Here’s what they had to say:
I'm very excited to run on my record. The last three years in Winter Park have been good years. Winter Park is a much better place than it was. I believe the voters in Winter Park will recognize that and vote for me. This election is about leadership and about who is best to manage our city's finances. Clearly there is only one choice.
A city does not run like a corporation. The mayor works for the citizens — not the other way around. You deserve a mayor who respects that. Decisions I make as mayor will benefit no one but the citizens of Winter Park. These are Winter Park values. Vote your values Jan. 31.
My first-year priorities were to reunify the City Council and streamline our permitting process. With those accomplished, my present and future priorities are to complete the revision of our Land Development Code and promote quality economic development with the emphasis on our new downtown. This in turn will bring jobs and hold our homeowner taxes down by expanding our tax base.
Vote for Doug because I will build a stronger financial base by reducing expenses and leveraging revenues, I will bring responsible development to Maitland by taking into consideration its impacts on our community, and I will plan appropriately to bring walkable, pedestrian-friendly development to our downtown, similar to Park Avenue.
If elected, I plan on focusing on revitalizing Maitland’s downtown, this spans from the silent train initiative to the destruction of dilapidated buildings into positive contributions to the community. But why should you vote for me? I promise to listen to every citizen and not ignore the problems of the people like some of the past mayors have.
Orange County and Maitland have economic incentive referendums on the ballot. Voting yes would allow the county and the city to offer tax credits to businesses that relocate or expand there. In Maitland, the incentives program would allow City Council to give businesses, on a case-by-case basis, as much as a 100 percent tax exemption for as many as 10 years. The measure needs 50 percent of the vote to pass. Visit tinyurl.com/MaitlandRefFAQs for more information.