By Anna-Marie Menhenott
ST. LUCIE COUNTY -- Patrick Campion and Tod Mowery are both running for the County Commissioner seat in District 2.
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 St. Lucie County?
Patrick Campion: When we first drove across North Bridge to Hutchinson Island it was one of those days when the water was that perfect blue-green and the sun was shining bright. I turned to my wife Chrissy and said "You know that we are never leaving here right?" She agreed. That was 15 years ago.
Tod Mowery: My family and I have enjoyed living in St. Lucie County for 10 years.
Q: Why should voters choose you?
Campion: I believe that as a public servant my job is to be an advocate for the people of St. Lucie County.
Not just an advocate for the ones who vote for me, but an advocate for everyone. From children in pre-k, to seniors, and everyone in between. Serving my community and the people in it has been and will continue to be the biggest part of my life whether I win this election or not. That is why voters should choose me. Plus I have the knowledge and experience to be effective as county commissioner on day one.
Mowery: Public Service is a privilege and one that I don't take lightly. My public service began decades ago when I started as an intern with the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. At the age of 26, I was hired as a city manager and over the years served as a city manager in three cities. Locally, I have owned and operated a private business in St. Lucie County, and for the past four years, I have had the privilege of serving on the St. Lucie County Board of Commissioners, including the last two as Chairman. I love serving the residents of St. Lucie County and believe that together, we can continue to improve our quality of life here on the Treasure Coast.
Q: What are the top two issues you wish to see addressed?
Campion: There are many important issues that need to be addressed in St. Lucie County, however addressing an issue usually means that there is going to be money spent on it. Currently St. Lucie County has been, and continues to be, running a budget deficit. Until we fix that, it would be very irresponsible to attempt to throw money at any but some of the most critical issues that the county must deal with, such as public safety and infrastructure. One very large quality of life issue that I would like to see addressed is to protect, preserve and defend our natural resources. From our Indian River Lagoon and St. Lucie River to our pine and scrub flatwoods to our spoil islands, beaches, and marsh land. Protection, conservation, and education is imperative for the future of our community. People do not move to St. Lucie County because we have the highest paying jobs or the best performing schools. We can work on changing that. In the meantime we must not lose the one thing that most people love and admire about our home; its natural beauty.
Mowery: Locally, we will continue to see questions about our quality of life being challenged. First, we have an opportunity to collectively work on improving our tax and job base. As a nationally known County, we can and should focus on diversifying our tax/job base by creating higher paying local jobs while providing our residents and graduates with greater opportunities, vocational or otherwise.
Secondly, we need to work on protecting our communities by not allowing recent attacks to our quality of life in the areas of our waterways, our lack of pedestrian sidewalks and attacks from All Aboard Florida's private rail system.
Q: If you could, what would be the one thing you would change in the county and why?
Campion: This is actually an easy one. As much as I advocate to protect and preserve our natural resources here in St. Lucie County, there is one resource that is far more important than any other; our youth. If there is one thing that I would want to change it would be to see an immediate end to the senseless violence that plagues our community. So many families have been left grieving and heartbroken. Our youth truly are the future of our community and if they continue to fall prey to street violence, then the future of St. Lucie County will be very bleak indeed. Therefore, it is imperative that we devise not one way or two ways, but many ways to combat this problem and make it the greatest change we see to the future of our county.
Mowery: If I could change one thing, it would be for the residents to realize how much work still needs be done as we continue to strive to provide a high quality of life. We have become a very influential County in South Florida and across the State. So many residents do not realize that the three largest cities in South Florida are now Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Port St. Lucie. Our local mindset is still caught in a small community perspective. We are now able to provide influence in ways others can only dream about. We can work together to positively affect our economy, our environment, our educational system, and thus, our future. We cannot be afraid to dream big, to live responsibly, to lead courageously and to grow stronger globally. Together we can combat gang violence, maintain low tax rates, remove government red tape and overburdening requirements. Collectively we can focus on our lagoon, support healthy neighborhoods and promote higher property values. This is a great County and one I am proud to represent and call home.