- July 14, 2017
A Winter Parker who recently announced his candidacy for the Florida House’s District 47 seat is already gathering endorsements.
Republican Stockton Reeves filed for his candidacy following Rep. Mike Miller’s announcement that he will vacate his seat to run for Congress.
Reeves is the executive director of The Center for Public Safety — an organization located in Winter Park that focuses on research, planning and assistance for first-responders in the process of obtaining new or expanded facilities.
“Mike Miller is my neighbor; he’s a friend of mine,” Reeves said. “I was taking the kids and the wife on an airboat ride on the St. Johns River on a Monday when I got the call that he was going to leave that seat and run for another office.
“I thought about it and I looked at my wife, and Valerie said, ‘You’ve been wanting to do this. You’ve been around politics all your life. This is a great opportunity, what are you going to do, wait until you’re 62 or 72?’”
Reeves has been working in the field of public safety since 1989, and he plans to bring that expertise to Tallahassee. Reeves said that, if elected, he would focus on establishing regional training facilities for law enforcement and fire departments.
The Center for Public Safety played a major role in helping the Orlando Police Department establish several cutting-edge facilities, including their 55-lane firing range — one of the most technologically advanced ranges in the country, Reeves said.
“So many places that we go to — police departments and fire departments — they don’t have the kinds of training facilities that they need in order for the men and women who work in public safety to be as fully trained as they could be or as they should be,” he said. “Let’s say you roll up in a patrol car and there’s a group of people. You don’t know who’s arguing with whom. You don’t know what the situation is, but you’ve got to quickly figure that out. Those are real-life situations where training plays a very critical role in helping firefighters and officers under- stand the situation, read the situation correctly and then apply the appropriate action.”
Another key issue for Reeves is clean energy and water research and advancement in Florida.
“Florida should be the leader in alternative energies, particularly in photovoltaics and solar, because A: We are the Sunshine State; and B: We already have the infrastructure in place,” he said. “We have skilled people and engineers graduating from UCF, Rollins, UF and FSU. We have all the things right there in place, but nobody has ever taken it and drawn with a pencil a line from point A to point B to point C to point D.”
Reeves rounds out his top priorities with a focus on the environment — preserving Florida’s lakes and waterways. He’d also like to see the state connect its trails into a long, continuous Florida Trail.
“I have an innate appreciation for the environment of my state and my home,” Reeves said. “Unlike the Appalachian Trail, which has a starting point and end point, the Florida Trail has a starting point in South Florida and an ending point in the Panhandle but there are entire stretches of land where it doesn’t connect.
“I would like to think the third thing would be to push the state of Florida, the counties and private entities so that we can connect and finish the Florida Trail, publicize it and make it so that people would come,” he said.
Reeves grew up in the Winter Park area, attending Lakemont Elementary, Glenridge Junior High and Winter Park High. He served on numerous public boards, including the Winter Park Board of Adjustments, the Board of Trustees for the Maitland Art Center and the Winter Park Housing Authority. He’ll be running against Democrat Anna Eskamani for the District 47 seat, but said as a representative he would ignore the party affiliations.
“I don’t come out of Central Casting in Hollywood,” Reeves said. “You can’t pigeon-hole me into a caricature of what this political label is or what this ideology is. The breadth and depth of my life experience transcends all of that. You’ve got a conservative guy who believes in talking to people who aren’t conservatives. ... I just don’t fit into any mold.”