The new Orange County Board of County Commissioners will be comprised of 6 women and one man. It is also the most diverse with three Hispanic women, two white women and two African-Americans, including the mayor.
Congratulations to Jerry Demings as the new mayor and Christine Moore, Mayra Uribe and Maribel Gómez Cordero as new commissioners.
Below are the board member to give you a glimpse of what we know about each person.
It will be interesting to see how committed to infrastructure improvements this new board will be and if anything will be done to close the 1.6 billion dollars needed for these improvements. We have seen little attention on improvements in the East Orange County area as focus has been on other areas such as the protection of the rural area east of the Econ.
Some questions come to mind:
- Mayor Jacobs resisted a tax for infrastructure improvements; will Mayor Demings follow the same policy or will he pursue the tax as it seems that is really the only way out of our infrastructure dilemma?
- Will the new board reactivate the regional traffic study that was put on hold because of the lawsuit over the Lake Pickett properties?
- Will multi-modal transportation come to the forefront or will our community continue to be car-centric?
- Will improvements be made for bicycles especially on Alafaya, McCulloch and University Boulevard?
- What can be done to reduce the number of cars on McCulloch Road given it is now at 23,000 cars per day?
- What about the Richard Crotty Parkway that would extend Research Parkway out to North Tanner?
- What will be done to relieve ever-growing traffic on Highway 50?
- Will this board embrace the 408 extension which will relieve traffic on Highway 50?
- What about Seminole County and working with them to find solutions to the traffic problems?
Your new Orange County Board of County Commissioners:
Mayor: Jerry Demings – Democrat
The information below came from https://jerrydemingsformayor.net/meet-jerry/.
Jerry Demings has over 37 years as a public servant in Orange County. He says he is committed to smart growth, sustaining livable neighborhoods, business and job growth and forming partnerships to improve our education system. He also says you can count on him to work with the community in developing solutions to social problems and other concerns like traffic congestion.
Mayor Glenda Hood appointed Jerry Demings as Orlando Police Chief in 1998 due to his outstanding leadership and commitment to our community. He was Orlando’s first African American Police Chief.
After retiring from the City of Orlando with 21 years of service, he was appointed by County Mayor Rich Crotty as Deputy County Administrator and Public Safety Director. In addition, he served as Interim Orange County Jail Director for seven months. He was part of the mayor’s senior leadership team responsible for managing all county operations until January 2008.
He ran for Orange County Sheriff to reduce crime and make our neighborhoods safer. He was elected the first African American Orange County Sheriff and Constitutional Officer in 2008.
Jerry Demings says he is a fiscal conservative and believes in efficient government. He also says taxpayers can count on him to be fiscally responsible as Mayor and chief executive for Orange County.
District 1: Betsy VanderLey – Republican
The information below came from https://www.orangeobserver.com/article/meet-candidate-betsy-vanderley.
She is a small business owner, an entrepreneur, and a business developer and the president of The Continuum Collaborative LLC, a business development and strategic planning firm. Her background in construction, development and government has provided her a unique perspective of Orange County’s growth. She served as the Chairman of Orange County Planning and Zoning and on the Affordable Housing Board. She also holds a LEED Green Associate certification. She was also selected by Commissioner Boyd for his Citizen of the Year for District one for 2013 and by the Greater Orlando Builder’s Association for their Eagle Award for “exceptional contribution to government affairs…” to the organization.
Organizations include: Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW); Society of American Military Engineers (SAME); Greater Orlando Builders Association (former Board Member); past Orange County District One Planning and Zoning Commissioner and Chair; Orange County Affordable Housing (former Board Member); OCPS Superintendent’s Search Advisory Committee member; Membership and Mission Review Board (former Board Member); 2014 Orange County District 1 citizen of the year; Orange County Teach in participant 2013 and 2014; Winter Garden Rotary (Board Member); Urban Land Institute Women’s Leadership Initiative board; West Orange Chamber of Commerce; West Orange Chamber of Commerce 2014 Chairman’s Award; Chairman of West Orange Chamber Economic and Government Affairs Committee; West Orange Chamber of Commerce member of the month, October 2013; Leadership West Orange graduate 2013/2014; Orlando Health’s Women of Influence Advisory Board; Public relations and marketing for Home at Last (providing handicap accessible, mortgage free homes for combat disabled vets); Organized large fundraiser for Matthew’s Hope with Leadership West Orange Class (serving the homeless in West Orange County); 2012 sponsorship chair for Winter Garden Relay for Life; Young Fathers of Central Florida past board member; HapCo past board member (HapCo provides scholarships for local music students); organized inaugural Oakland Heritage Days Festival
District 2: Christine Moore – Republican
The information below came from http://orlando-rising.com/christine-moore-files-orange-county-commission-district-2-race/.
Christine Moore, of Apopka, who’s spent nine years on the school board, was Commissioner Brummer’s campaign manager for all six of his campaigns as he previously ran for the Orange County Commission in 2006 and ’10, and for the Florida House of Representatives in four terms in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
She is a real estate agent and professional flute player, and dedicated to various faith-based organizations and programs, but said her school board responsibilities have been her full-time vocation.
“A leadership position on the county commission brings greater access for building healthy, successful and opportunity-based communities,” Moore stated in a news release. “As state and federal governments have become increasingly more partisan, it is incumbent upon local government to be our ‘go-to’ leaders. Through a collaborative approach between stake-holder groups — civic, faith-based, business and local governments — much can be accomplished.”
She calls for prioritizing safe, healthy neighborhoods, smart growth, infill (which raises the quality and safety of existing structures), greater online permitting, a reduction in traffic congestion while increasing safe walking and biking, more detailed, collaborative emergency management plans, opportunity for new industry and, most importantly, doing so while remembering all government funding comes from the very same people it wishes to benefit.
She authored a children’s book, “Ahapopka, the History of Apopka and its Elementary Schools.” She founded and produces the Apopka Art & Jazz Festival. She recently began Ocoee Passion Flower Days and annually conducts fall beautification efforts throughout District 7.
She has worked with students and parents to take on responsibility for their own campuses. Moore, a cum-laude graduate of the University of Michigan, serves on the Mayor’s Task Force for Child Abuse, Apopka and West Orange Chambers of Commerce, and United Arts of Central Florida. She has two grown children and two granddaughters. She plays flute for Beautiful Music and in the orchestra at Trinity Baptist Church. Christine is a licensed real estate agent for Weichert Realtors Hallmark Properties.
District 3: Mayra Uribe – Democrat
The information below came from http://orlando-politics.com/2017/10/25/mayra-uribe-announces-candidacy-orlando-district-3-commissioner/.
Mayra Uribe, a former aide to U.S. Senator Bill Nelson and well-known advocate for her community through her work for charities and nonprofits, announces her candidacy for Orange County Commission District 3. Uribe previously ran for District 4.
As a lifelong resident of Orange County who grew up in District 3, Mayra Uribe knows the community as well as anyone – she truly understands the needs of those calling Central Florida home. While the economy has strengthened for some, not everyone is feeling that their county government has done enough to address their needs.
Plus, there’s still crime. There’s still homelessness and poverty. There are still forgotten places within Orange County that struggle. Mayra Uribe thinks we can change all that for the better with hard work and a deep-seeded dedication to help EVERYONE have the opportunity to grow and prosper. Orange County residents need to understand that their government is listening and getting things done.
“There are several key issues I see for District 3 residents: transportation, economic growth, and safety. I intend to take my campaign door-to-door and neighbor-to-neighbor, bringing my message of family, faith and focus on the issues at hand. I will knock on as many doors as it takes,” Uribe said. “I will continue Commissioner Clarke’s emphasis on listening and learning from the residents about their concerns.”
Uribe continually draws on her more than six years of experience working for Sen. Nelson in his Orlando office, where her main priorities were immigration, transportation, military, FEMA, and labor issues. Nelson’s legendary attention to his constituents’ concerns hardened Uribe’s resolve to help others in her community.
For the last five years, Mayra has dedicated her life to working with nonprofits (Healthy Start, Bootcamp for New Dads) as well as tirelessly raising awareness for Central Florida’s homeless children and families through various campaigns and efforts – all to strengthen the people and improve the lives of those in her community.
“My focus between now and November of 2018 will be this election. I have a lifetime of familiarity with the issues facing Orange County, and my experience working for Sen. Nelson combined with my many years of volunteering and community activism set me apart from the other candidates,” Uribe said.
Uribe is married to Kevin Sutton – A local radio show host. Their daughter Faith is 14 years old and their son Lincoln was born in May of this year.
District 4: Maribel Gómez Cordero – Democrat
The information below came from https://www.maribelfordistrict4.com/bio.
Maribel Gomez Cordero was born and raised in Puerto Rico. She has been living in Orange County, Orlando, Florida for the past twenty years. She is married to Henry Cordero and is the proud mother of Marian, Henry Jr., and Erik. Maribel is also an active member and leader of CDA Orlando Church. Maribel earned a Master’s Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling specializing in Marriage and Family, from Webster University.
Throughout her career as a Social Worker, she has worked for Children’s Home Society/Department of Children and Families, and as a Clinical Psychotherapist at Life and Work Solutions Counseling. She has dedicated herself to work for those who experience crisis, and provides support to individuals, families and groups within the community. She was honored to be recognized in 2002 by the Educational Foundation for the Advancement of Child Welfare with the “A Person That Makes A Difference” Award from the Florida Coalition for Children of Central Florida.
Maribel Gomez Cordero has always been passionate in serving families in distress. During her professional practice, she became acutely aware of the many difficulties that ordinary citizens experience on a daily basis who consequently require her services. She has been active in the county by participating as board member on various advisory boards in Orange County government, for example, the Charter Review Commission, and the Community Action and Advisory Board. She is also a board member for WE Hispanic Women Chamber of Commerce, and adviser for Nuevo Sendero Domestic Violence Program.
She provides services to the community through her church; counseling, food and clothing drives to the homeless, and referrals for resources in the community for people in need. As a small business entrepreneur, Maribel manages her private practice in psychotherapy.
Maribel Cordero continues to work with families in the community as this has always been her passion, however, she does what she loves – she also inspires others to do the same.
District 5: Emily Bonilla – Democrat
The information below came from http://www.voteforemily.com/meet-emily/.
Born in New York and raised in Massachusetts, Emily Bonilla has lived in Florida for 18 years. She obtained an Associates Degree in Film from Valencia, a Bachelor’s in English from UCF and Masters in Internet Marketing from Full Sail University.
Brought up in an impoverished family of origin, she is an advocate for women.
She worked as a Career Advisor at Full Sail University. Duties included assisting new grads with finding employment and/or creating their own business.
Bonilla promotes conservation of Orange County’s natural and economic resources and works to protect the black bears and ban fracking in Florida.
She fervently opposes urban sprawl.
District 6: Victoria Siplin – Democrat
The information below came from http://bbifharambee.com/2017/02/commissioner-victoria-p-siplin/.
On November 4, 2014, Victoria P. Siplin made history as the first Haitian elected to Orange County Government as the Commissioner of District 6. She ran on the platform of education, job creation, neighborhood revitalization, homeownership growth, elder care advocacy, health and safety, and enhanced infrastructure. Victoria Siplin believes in the American Dream, and her goal as Commissioner is to improve the quality of life for all people in Orange County, Florida.
Commissioner Siplin’s personal story embodies the American Dream and she is living proof of the mantra ‘hard work pays off’. Born in Nassau, Bahamas to Haitian parents in 1974, Victoria became an orphan at the tender age of three (3) and was sent to live with an aunt in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. She attended Indian River State College and graduated with honors from Dillard High School in 1992; Victoria is a former “Miss Dillard.”
Commissioner Siplin’s commitment to service began as a Senate Page (1991) for Florida State Senator Carrie P. Meek and Senator Arnett E. Girardeau. She also served as a mentor to low-income students Commissioner in Broward County. Her volunteer service spans from being a community organizer, a fund-raiser for non-profit organizations that focus on transforming the lives of children and adults in a caring, fair, and safe environment, to serving on her sons’ schools’ PTA as its President and Treasurer. Commissioner Siplin’s dedication to her community is further exemplified through outreach programs such as the Annual School Supply Giveaway (15 years), Annual Christmas Toy Giveaway (11 years), Swimming Babies initiative, Miss Haiti South Florida Scholarship Founder; The Earn, Keep, Grow (EKG) of Financial Management workshops; “A Teachable Moment with Commissioner Victoria Siplin” initiatives; and workshops on Immigration, Restoration of Rights, Expungement, Financial Management for individuals and nonprofits.
Commissioner Siplin holds membership in the National Association of Counties, Florida Association of Counties, MetroPlan Orlando Board of Directors, I-Drive Master Transit & Improvement District Governing Board, Orange County Community Action Board, Orange County Children and Family Services Board, Orange County Head Start Policy Council, Orange Blossom Trail Development Board, National Congress of Black Women, National Association of 100 Black Women, Orlando Minority Youth Golf Association, NAACP and former member of the Junior League of Greater Orlando.
Commissioner Siplin has been an Entrepreneur since 1998 and is the General Manager and Paralegal at Siplin Law, PA, located in the Pine Hills community. She is the wife of former State Senator Gary Siplin (2000-2012), and mother of Joshua and Jacob, who attend public school. The Siplins reside in Orlando, Florida and are members of New Covenant Baptist Church.
On December 20, 2016, the Board of County Commissioners elected Commissioner Siplin to serve as Vice Mayor of Orange County, Florida for the 2017 calendar year. Commissioner Siplin is humbled by her responsibilities as Orange County Vice Mayor and County Commissioner; and believes that Progress Requires a Collective Commitment to service, education, job creation, and neighborhood revitalization.