We appreciate you sharing your time and thoughts with us.  Is there anything you haven’t had a chance to tell us yet that you would like our neighborhoods to know?

County Commission
District 1

Terrance Barber

Elections have consequences. Exercise your right to vote! Vote like your life depends on it. Many people, especially in our low-income parts of the city and county, feel that it doesn’t do any good to vote; things don’t change no matter who wins. I still believe in voting to achieve change. Too many people have worked too hard for too long to make sure everyone has the right to vote. I want to be the change agent that can make things happen.  I don’t accept campaign contributions from wealthy developers seeking their own return on investment. I’ve demonstrated my commitment to making my community more prosperous, safe, informed, and involved. I will be a consistent voice for my community.

Donna Pearl Cotterell

I would like to see children’s arts programs supported throughout our community, but particularly in low income neighborhoods so they could be accessible to all. For many children, the programs we have are too expensive for them to participate. But the arts provide a great forum for children to learn self-expression and to support one another. This is a great way for children to interact in a less demanding environment than schools and in a more cooperative way than many sports. By making the arts unavailable to children we miss an opportunity for them to be successful, to strengthen their self-concept, and to learn to help and be helped by others. Those are all good things that we need big time these days.

Bill Proctor

A candidate’s government experience can work for and against citizens. Some officeholders are content to maintain the status quo and resist necessary changes, particularly those that benefit the traditionally underserved in our community. Some candidates have the ideals, but not the practical government work experience to accomplish those ideals. I hope I’ve been able to show that while I’ve been on the county commission for many years, I have stayed true to being a critical but thoughtful voice to keep us moving forward in our march to being a more perfect community. I would appreciate your vote to keep me speaking out for residents that need an advocate in government in District 1 and all of Tallahassee Leon County.

County Commission
District 2

Sabrina Allen

I think it is important for people in District 2 to know that we need to keep our community safe. We need to take responsibility for our own communities. We need to talk about our problems and we don’t need to tolerate things that are not good. Don’t be too proud to say you need something… I will help.

Lynda Bell

Lynda Bell chose not to be interviewed.

Christian Caban

I want to be a voice for District 2. I want to improve the quality of life for residents in very specific ways. As I’ve mentioned, that starts with smart, comprehensive infrastructure, particularly making it possible for students to be able to walk to schools safely. We also need environmentally-sound physical infrastructure to improve transportation while not harming our lakes and springs. And, especially for District 2, we need the jobs infrastructure that prepares and enables small businesses to start and flourish. That means job training, especially for workers in the trades and business management support for new businesses.

Hannah Crow

I think community engagement is the answer to a lot of questions. Neighborhoods are the backbones of our communities. As commissioners we need to be able to find compromises and have conversations to be able to address our problems.

Will Crowley

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m running a low budget, word of mouth campaign and I’m proud of that. I’m doing a lot of knocking on doors to introduce myself to residents of District 2. That’s OK  I’m a fighter and I’m willing to walk the extra miles, take the extra time, and have the open ears to listen to the concerns of the folks that live in the district. I’m not doing the one-direction communication of radio and TV ads  Not only am I getting out to listen to the residents, I’m encouraging them to vote  I think they know they won’t have to twist my arm to get me to vote in their interests. I have the knowledge, skills, and abilities to get something done on the concerns they raise. I am well familiar with what it takes to work collaboratively with other commissioners, to direct staff to bring wholistic information to policy discussions, and to evaluate budgets to allocate funds to community-identified concerns. While the situation that resulted in this district having an election this year is unfortunate, I am excited for the opportunity to do my best as a commissioner to be responsive to the needs and concerns of my neighbors in District 2 and Leon County as a whole.

Max Epstein

We didn’t get to talk much about our environment and protecting our environmental, cultural, and historical resources, too. Environmental Stewardship will be a top priority. As a commissioner, I would be proactively looking for these resources and working with developers and seeking grants to preserve and converse these things in advance so that we know when a new development comes up that we are going to be okay and be able to preserve what needs to be preserved. I would also like to get rid of the act of clear cutting. We need to have a certain set of all large developments to preserve the natural vegetation in the area, and ideally, I would like to see 40%. We need to preserve our heritage trees. I understand we can’t preserve everything, but we need to make an effort. This is what people love about Tallahassee. Trees also help lower utility costs, and this goes to equitable planning.

There are some things that we cannot change but there are things we can. When it comes to affordable housing, we must take action. For example, when we were looking at expanding the Urban Service Area, it was shown there are about 4,000 units that could be built within the existing urban core in empty lots, but we have no incentives to drive the development there.

None of this stuff is easy, but moving in that direction is. It just takes the will to do so and the cooperation.

Manny Joanas

Manny Joanas chose not to be interviewed.

County Commission
District 3

Joey Lamar

I think developers have way too much influence in Tallahassee. The Commission seems to prioritize helping out developers over fixing social inequities. I’m not anti-growth, but I am about managing growth responsibly and giving the people who have to live with its long-term impacts, a larger voice and an earlier say in the process, bringing them in on the front-end, not after the plans are essentially finalized.

Rick Minor

I’m proud of the work I’ve done with the people who live here and it’s been a great honor to serve as a commissioner.  I’ve worked hard to increase the number of high paying jobs, and we’ve made progress on reducing crime (although much more needs to be done). I’ve worked with others on anti-human trafficking training and we’re making real inroads on addressing homelessness. I’ve seen progress on protecting the environment and ensuring greater equities in how our tax dollars are spent. If the people of District 3 choose to elect me for another four years, I’ll work just as hard to make them proud as I have during these past four.

Damon Victor

Over the years, I’ve studied up on the Alliance of Tallahassee Neighborhoods. I’m impressed with ATN’s website and mission. I think my neighborhood should submit an application. And regarding new developments, traffic issues, or environmental concerns impacting residents, I’d like to see neighborhoods being more proactive than reactive.

County Commission
District 5

Paula DeBoles-Johnson

I want to serve our community and no one would work harder than I would to do a good job.

David O'Keefe

My background is in accounting and finance.  It’s given me a picture of how things work and how things should work. Based on the way I grew up, and the values I’ve developed, I believe people come before money. Also, if we don’t protect the local character of our community, once we lose it, we’ll never get it back.

Jay Revell

We have to do two things and do them now: we have to work to change the trajectory of some of the challenges that we are facing. They are very pressing. Second, we have to develop a vision for our community. We have “lost the plot” here. There is no clear understanding of where we are headed.  We need clear thinking leaders who can help spearhead a specific direction.  

Dustin Rivest

I think I am the only candidate who has the abilities for problem solving with innovative approaches with a dedication toward solving those problems in a transparent light. 

County Commission
At-Large Group 2

Rudolph Ferguson, Sr.

I am a runner and always working for communities. These are things I have always done – work for community, public service, I am a voice to lead us to a more comfortable place. Very momentous at the age of 23 I was called by the late great Governor Chiles to meet him at the Governor’s Mansion where he asked me to lead a new MLK Institute for Non-Violence. There were 360 applicants, but he wanted me to be his appointee. I then served with a sense of purpose for seven years, meeting with the governor every quarter. I want to continue serving, and serve the people with unmet needs, serve the well to do, and those who want to do well. I will tackle crime, public safety, bring new businesses to town, but first listen to citizens and take their concerns to heart.

Josh Johnson

Yes. Not only am I from this place, but the life I have has allowed me the opportunity to work with many walks of life and neighborhoods. I have a knowledge base and respect. I know what needs to be better, and things we are doing very well. I can represent all citizens of Leon County with my unique skill set. I run a small business, I am a teacher, and I bring gallery art to communities. I understand gentrification and the people dis-appropriately affected. I believe in this place and I believe we can do so much better.

Nick Maddox

Just know that when neighborhoods need me, I am here. I am a champion of neighborhoods and I look forward to continuing to serve. I appreciate the support. 

Dominique ('Nikki') Danielle Zumbo

Yes. I think it is so important for neighbors to check on each other, especially coming out of the pandemic. Friends and neighbors have been very sick from COVID and some died. We lost Jimbo Jackson. 

I have worked here since 2015 and am well respected and well qualified. I wish other candidates good luck. My hope is that we can be more inclusive and not in opposition because we are running in the same direction. ATN has been a huge community advocate and representative.

City Commission
Seat 3

David Bellamy

One thing I would like to see the City get more engaged in is helping with the cost of affordable housing.  Right now, if a house builder was to go to one of our underserved areas and build affordable housing and they bought a set of lots, the lot would be at least $50,000 and then they would spend about $60,000 putting in water, roads and because our permitting process is not the smoothest, it could take them 2 to 4 years to get it fully permitted.  So now they’ve invested $110,000 plus around 3 years of paying for these empty lots before turning a shovel.  Now if they build as cheap as they can, an affordable house for $140,000… it’s now a $250,000 house.  For a third of your income to pay a mortgage for this $250,000 house with a $10,000 down payment you got to make an income of $70,000.  The median income in Tallahassee is $25,000.  So, when people tell you they want affordable house I am here to tell you it is mathematically impossible right now.

I’d like to see the City do a better job of saying that when we receive an unsolicited offer on downtown property that the City will never use, maybe instead of asking for money we should tell them that what we want is for them to go find this property for us and we will trade you.  Then the City can permit the lots at cost to the City and permit the kind of building the City wants, meaning that we make sure it’s built with quality, and they put out a request for proposal for builders to build it.  Maybe even offer some financial support to smaller builders that often get left out in the cold.  And you build in a percent of profit.  We want them to build homes for $140,000 with X% profit, so come and bid on this. The permits would already be pulled, the roads built… all we need you to do is come in and build the house.  Now houses can start to be produced for $140,00… now we’re talking affordable housing.

Jeremy Matlow

My name is Jeremy Matlow and I would love your support for re-election. Since I’ve been elected, I’ve been a fighter for our neighborhoods.” I’ve carried the message from neighborhood groups to Commission meetings, asked the tough questions, pushed on the tough issues. I’ve expanded the radius of public notifications even though there is more to do in that area.

City Commission
Seat 4

John Dailey

I am a strong advocate and supporter of neighborhoods. Neighborhoods are what makes Tallahassee special along with our citizens that care about where we live. We don’t always agree as a community, but I support strong community involvement in shaping Tallahassee.

Kristin Dozier

As I have done as a County Commissioner, I would approach the mayor job working to change bad rules and procedures, and enhancing community engagement as the bedrock for how we should make decisions to do what is best for the Community. We should have additional information and more opportunities for feedback before making decisions.

Michael Ibrahim

I will work hard to serve the people of Tallahassee.

Whitfield Leland III

The message is getting out there that many of our elected officials are not listening to us. We need to get involved in our neighborhood associations and have a voice. We have a stronger voice working together.

City Commission
Seat 5

Shelby Green

People are being dismissed and disrespected. People can’t pay their utility bills and cannot buy homes. Again, communication is poor. Currently the will of the city commissioners is that of the wealthy institutions an developers. I am challenging the incumbent who does not care about the public and their interests. I voted for the incumbent in 2018 because she committed to increasing opportunities and access to social mobility for those on the Southside but has moved in a different direction and has yielded her power to other interests. She does not care about the public or their interests.

Adner Marcelin

Showing up is the job of a commissioner. The incumbent failed to show up at a Neighborhood Association forum and did not call or give notice of her absence.  In an NAACP event, the incumbent stated she would debate her positions. The incumbent was appointed to the Big Bend Continuum of Care and missed more than half of the meetings. As a city commissioner I will show up. 

In addition, the incumbent had originally supported $15 per hour pay for city workers, and has since reversed that position. 

I have been endorsed by the Big Bend Labor Union and the Tallahassee Firefighters Association. 

We need to invest in local folks. Our communication with various constituencies need sto be expanded and improved. For example, I can tell you folks on Alabama and Colorado Streets cannot identify the city commissioners. We don’t reach out to the homeless we could develop resource centers, set up polling stations in communities to identify their issues. These folks do not have access to traditional media or internet services. Communication is a huge problem and we need to increase accessibility for more citizens. 

Trust between law enforcement and the community needs to be improved and strengthened.

Dianne Williams-Cox

I welcome the input from and engagement with the neighborhoods.  The neighborhoods are where the action is and we want them to be vibrant and safe.