In June 2019, Brian Welch filed to run for Leon County Commission, District 4. Incumbent Bryan Desloge is also running for the position.
Welch is a social studies teacher at Chiles High School, where he has taught since 2007. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Political Science and his master’s degree in Applied American Politics and Policy from Florida State University. He earned his master’s degree in Educational Leadership and Administration from the University of West Florida. Welch’s top goals include finishing the Northeast Park, monitoring the Welaunee development, and improving public facilities.
What motivated you to run for local office?
“I decided to run for the Leon County Commission, District 4 seat because I saw a void in the level of representation given to the residents of Northeast Tallahassee. As a school teacher and long-time resident of the northeast, I felt like my investment in the community and level of concern for its future warranted my stepping into the arena to give our community a choice it hasn’t had in 14 years. As a father, husband, educator and longtime resident, I want to ensure that we have an advocate in the County Courthouse who will prioritize the interests of the residents in District 4.”
What unique perspective would you bring to the position?
“As a 23-year resident and 13-year public school teacher in the northeast community, I have been uniquely positioned to work with and serve the people, neighborhoods, businesses and families that make up the fabric of northeast Tallahassee. I think I offer a service-oriented and community-centric perspective that can help northeast Tallahassee move into the future. I spend almost every day working with the people in our community and know the issues that impact their lives. I know northeast Tallahassee.”
What do you see as the biggest challenges facing Leon County?
“I think the biggest issues facing Leon County, as a whole, are crime, poverty in 32304, economic segregation and the airport. I understand that some of these issues are not under the jurisdiction of the County Commission, however, as a community leader, I would be as involved as possible, in identifying solutions. Specifically, in northeast Tallahassee, the biggest issues continue to be the lack of a northeast park, the consistent residential development pressures being placed on established communities and the Welaunee development.”
What is your plan to address these challenges?
“I will work with and support our Law Enforcement partners at the Leon County Sheriff’s Office and the Tallahassee Police Department to continue the downward trend in our crime rate and use my experience as a high school teacher to encourage and help them in identifying ways to reach our teenaged and at-risk populations. I will support efforts to recruit and retain officers and adequately fund efforts at crime reduction.
The key to improving the conditions in the 32304 is by providing a robust workforce development program and supporting local non-profits to address the needs of the working poor in the community. I would work with the administration at lively Technical College and the Tallahassee Chamber to both encourage enrollment in Career and Technical Education and entice businesses to come to Tallahassee and take advantage of our educational institutions, specifically our technically trained students.
I will support the Children’s Services Council, which, with the proper oversight, should make a marked impact on both crime and poverty.
In northeast Tallahassee, the need for the long-planned northeast park cannot be understated. The many neighborhoods and families of northeast Tallahassee desperately need adequate public athletic facilities and programs. District 4 provides a substantial percentage of the tax base for the entire county and the lack of public recreational facilities is shameful. I will make it a priority to aggressively advocate for the completion of this park. The northeast park has not been a priority under the current leadership, but under my tenure, it will be.
Another primary concern for northeast Tallahassee is the unrelenting residential development pressure being placed on the established neighborhoods and communities of District 4. Northeast Tallahassee is a very popular place to live and in order to allow for the proliferation of residential development, we must go above and beyond in engaging with our established neighborhoods to ensure that quality of life impacts are minimized. We must ensure that transportation and stormwater infrastructure is adequate. We must ensure that we have capacity in our schools. I will make it a priority to advocate for this infrastructure and protect the quality of life of my neighbors.
The Welaunee development will reshape the physical and cultural landscape of Tallahassee over the next 20 years and runs through the heart of District 4. As a resident of the Centerville Road corridor, I want to make sure that every precaution is taken to protect the character of our established neighborhoods and be their voice at the table when decisions are made. “
Responsibilities of the County Commissioner position include making policies and setting budgets. The position has a four-year term length and an annual salary of $80,289.00. The deadline to file for the position is May 11, 2020, and the election date is November 3.
Ahead of the 2020 local election season, Tallahassee Reports has asked all local candidates to answer basic questions about their candidacy. The answers to the questions are in the candidates own words.The goal is to get as much information out to voters as possible. More focused questions will be addressed as the election draws nearer.