One thing is for certain, voters in Tallahassee will have a lot of options to choose from when it comes time to select a new mayor in August.
And those options expanded on Friday when former state legislator and Tallahassee Community College professor Michelle Rewinkel Vasilinda filed the necessary paper work to become a candidate.
Vasilinda recently served four consecutive terms in the Florida House of Representatives from the 9th District, which includes most of Leon County, from 2008 to 2016.
Vasilinda joins Erik David, Joe West, John Dailey, Dustin Daniels, Carrie Litherland, and Norris Barr in the non-partisan race for mayor.
Vasilinda is an attorney and has been a professor of Legal Studies and Applied Ethics at Tallahassee Community College since 1989.
Vasilinda said the current local climate provides an important opportunity for a new approach to governing and she believes she has the experience to lead on a number of important issues which include integrity and economic diversity.
On integrity, Vasilinda said “we must bring trust back to local government. Those employed to serve the public interest from the garbage collector to the mayor must have a mindset of service. That means no peddling of influence, no feathering of our own nests, no doling out of favors to curry favor at the expense of the taxpayers and citizens it is our duty to serve.”
She added, “teaching applied ethics for almost 20 years at the college level, to young and old seeking work in our local community and across the state, I have learned a great deal about ethics in the workplace.”
Vasilinda noted that as a member of the Florida House of Representatives she witnessed how vulnerable any region, city, and town can be on a single or limited sources of income.
A major part of her campaign will be to address the need to diversify the local economy.
Vasilinda said “we need a champion with a large and diverse network across the state, nation, and even ‘across the pond’, with vision, experience and energy to leverage that skill set for the benefit of Tallahassee and our region. I am that person.”
Vasilinda told TR that we must find new ways to invite more corporations and businesses to come to and be part of Tallahassee’s future.
“We need to nourish better and more entrepreneurial opportunities to leverage the Mag Lab, the resources of our excellent public and private institutions of higher learning, and the talents of our well educated and highly prepared workforce,” said Vasilinda.