By Patrick McCallister
For Hometown News
Political newcomer Ken Ali is concerned about Volusia County's tax rates.
"We have the second highest millage rate in the state, out of 67 counties," he said. "The gas tax is as high as is allowable. We have debt on the Ocean Center (in Daytona Beach). What are (Volusia County Council members) doing? I can't do any worse."
Mr. Ali is running for the Volusia County Council's District 2 seat, central east Volusia.
While he's never held an elected office, Mr. Ali is a member of the Volusia County Republican Executive Committee. He's an associate pastor at Daytona Church of God, too. He owns Daytona Aviation Academy.
"The No. 1 issue for me in Volusia County is jobs," he said. "The unemployment rate went up in Volusia County. The state is 8.6 unemployment, and in June it rose to 9.1 percent in Volusia County. In minority communities, it's 14 percent."
Mr. Ali moved to the area from Trinidad and Tobago about 18 years ago. He served his homeland's army for more than 22 years, and was awarded numerous medals, including the Anti-Terrorism Medal by the county's president. He's studied at numerous schools, including St. George's and Daytona State colleges, along with the University of the West Indies. He also studied at the Church of God Bible College in Trinidad and Tobago.
Mr. Ali said his work in public and private social services helps him understand the county in an unusual way.
"I know the needs of the community," he said. "I've worked with the seniors. I've worked with the lower-income families."
The 56-year-old said that the county should focus on developing the aviation and aeronautical industries to strengthen the local economy.
"Aviation is strong in Volusia County, and we have five airports," he said. "I support new businesses coming into the industrial area at the (Daytona Beach International Airport). That's the economic engine for the area."
Mr. Ali and his wife, Janet, have three adult children. Two daughters live in the area, and their son is a U.S. Navy corpsman.
His campaign web site is www.votekenali.com. The phone is (386) 868-8742.