by Joe Courter
First, in writing the elections article last issue there are some things I need to address. I made some mistakes and oversights I want to acknowledge. Being isolated took me away from my normal life of being out with people and talking about issues and candidates, and I did not do as good a job as I should have.
I made a really bad misstatement regarding Sadie Darnell, falsely saying she might have hired domestic abusers to the sheriff’s department. I had heard things and I did not question them. I have talked to her and apologized; she was actually very strong against domestic violence during her long tenure.
As one of the only woman sheriffs in Florida, it is the state’s loss, but change was in the air, and we will need to make sure Clovis Watson lives up to the charge we voters have given him regarding both the jail and the sheriff’s office. His time in Tallahassee as a representative saw his personal politics improve greatly after a rather troubling time as Alachua City Manager and Police Chief. We wish him luck in the new job, but we need to hold him to his promises.
Second, by not being out talking to people and just seeing things from my own POV, I was too locked in on Mike Byerly. I have watched and appreciated him during his 20-year tenure, which included not just environmental issues, but strong support for LGBT rights, support of housing programs for the homeless, his support of civil citations for marijuana possession, and his support for the fight against wage theft and for a living wage.
However, recently his early rejection of masking and his opposition to ending prison labor by the County were not on my radar, plus my own isolation and loyalty to Mike kept me from knowing more or sharing much about Mary Alford, and I never really had interaction with her or her supporters. The voters made a strong statement, I learned some lessons from the feedback I got from others, and we wish Mary well and fully support her against her Republican opponent in November.
Now, looking ahead to the November elections:
The presidency obviously is at the top of the ballot, but right below that are important races.
U.S. Congress District 3 will have Adam Christensen, an energetic young progressive going for Yoho’s old seat against Kat Cammack, a Trump-loving former Yoho assistant who ran his office. Help and support Adam. It will be hard to flip this gerrymandered district, but fantastic if we could.
For State House District 21, Kayser Ennecking will be going against incumbent Chuck Clemons and she will be a vast improvement. Her campaign against State Senator Keith Perry last election cycle was dirty tricked by Perry. She should have been in Tallahassee then; we need to send her there this time. Help and support Kayser.
Anna Prizzia and Mary Alford, after prevailing in their County Commission primary in August, will have Republican opponents in November. Both of them need support, and will be great additions to the County Commission.
There will also be a bunch of state amendments, judicial retentions, and County Charter amendments on the November ballot. We will have a rundown of those items in the October issue.