By Donald Rodrigue
For Hometown News
MARTIN COUNTY -- Incumbent Sarah Heard is running against Barbara Clowdus for the District 4 seat on the Martin County Commission.
Hometown News asked the candidates the same questions about their campaigns. Their answers are below in alphabetical order, and can also be found online at www.myhometownnews.net.
Hometown News does not endorse any candidates for political office, but instead provides information about each candidate for voters to make an educated decision.
Q: How long have you lived in Martin County?
Clowdus: Although I retired to Hobe Sound in 2008, I felt from the first day that this was my hometown, too, because this was where my brother had lived for more than 20 years. This was where my son and his family had settled as well. I had fallen in love with Martin County long before I was able to move here, and I never want to live anywhere else.
Heard: I have lived here for 27 years.
Q: Why should voters choose you?
Clowdus: Because I will dedicate myself to open and ethical government that operates in the sunshine and is fair to all concerned. I will be accessible and will listen to my constituents, pre-judging none, and representing all. As the mother of six children, including a homeless three-year-old I took into our home, a grandmother of 13, and a former scout troop leader, I understand what's important to families. As a small business owner and a former manager of a manufacturing plant, I understand what it means to have to make payroll for dozens of families, as well as appreciating the impact of one business on the local economy. As a former environmental reporter who shut down coal mines that were polluting rivers, I know the power of one committed voice. As your county commissioner, no one will work harder than I to put a lid on rising taxes, to revitalize our historic neighborhoods, to improve our business climate, to protect our quality of life and to fix our waterways! Yes, I believe that one person, one voice, can make a difference!
Heard: I have a 12-year voting record of which I am very proud. I hope that voters weigh my votes and conduct over the last 12 years to decide whether to choose me again. The choice between candidates in my race could not be more clear. I represent the public's interest all the time. My opponent, Barbara Clowdus, advocates for special interests, every time.
Q: What are the top two issues you wish to see addressed?
Clowdus: What I wish to address would be All Aboard Florida and our own local pollution of our waterways, but I suspect that overriding those concerns will be the budget, particularly if the sales tax referendum does not pass voter approval. In that case, the two issues that will take priority will be cutting wasteful spending to manage the budget without raising property taxes yet again, and addressing critical infrastructure needs, including inlet dredging.
Heard: The top two issues in Martin County are restoring the rivers' health and protecting our strong comprehensive plan because it is the document that provides for the quality of life upon which we rely here.
Q: If you could, what would be the one thing you would change in the county and why?
Clowdus: Attitudes. The county's municipalities, its businesses, and its residents deserve to be treated with respect, fairness and candor, without hidden agendas, without disdain, and with an honest desire to listen to their points of view prior to making a decision.
Heard: Our rivers are our lifeblood here. They truly are the resources that we love most deeply. Clean rivers... that is what I would change.