By Jessica Tuggle
INDIAN RIVER COUNTY - The open seat on the board of Indian River County Commissioners won't be filled until November, but voters will go to the polls this August to decide on the Republican nominee.
Bea Gardner and Tim Zorc will go head-to-head in the Republican primary on Aug. 14 for the seat left open by outgoing Commissioner Gary Wheeler in District 3. The primary winner will advance to the November general election to face Anthony Donadio, who is running under no party affiliation.
Ms. Gardner has lived in Indian River County for more than 20 years and has been heavily involved in the Republican Club and on the Republican Executive Committee. She made a career of interior design and has also worked at an information technology recruiting company.
Ms. Gardner has run for public office before, most recently in 2008, for the same commission seat.
"I'm a small government conservative," Ms. Gardner said.
"I don't answer to any special interest groups. As far as I am concerned, the seat has been underserved these past years and I want to be there for the people. I'm going to be right here for them," she said.
Ms. Gardner said she is interested in cutting down on red tape and helping the county be more business friendly.
"When they are able to get out from under the red tape, they are creating jobs," she said.
Transparency in government is something Ms. Gardner feels very strongly about. If elected, she would work to re-establish advisory committees to the county commission board to bring discussions and the decision-making process more open to the public.
"Advisory committees are made of volunteers, of citizens, and all of their business would be done in the sunshine," Ms. Gardner said.
She disagrees with current county commissioners that sunsetting advisory committees and hiring consultants to come up with recommendations is a benefit to taxpayers and a good use of their money.
When consultants are hired, their processes are done behind closed doors and the public doesn't get to see every step of the way, she said.
"Using volunteers would tap into the brainpower of the community, which truly then makes our system a government by the people and for the people," Ms. Gardner said.
Ms. Gardner stays plugged in with the community in a variety of ways, from working with the Vero Beach Theatre Guild, writing a blog, staying involved with the downtown Vero Beach arts and business district, among other activities.
"I love the flavor of this community and I want to keep it the way that it is," Ms. Gardner said.
Ms. Gardner's contact information can be found at www.beagardner.com.
For more information about the upcoming election, visit www.voteindianriver.com.