Carolyn Cummings filed to run for Leon County Commission, at Large Group 1 in March 2020. Melissa Villar, Jeff Hendry, Scott Flowers, Danielle Irwin, Kelly Otte, and Robin Colson are also running for the position. Incumbent Mary Ann Lindley is retiring.
Cummings is an attorney with over 35 years of experience in government and general practice law. She graduated from the University of Florida Levin College of Law. Cummings has experience working for Legal Services of North Florida, Inc. and state agencies as well as owning a small business for 20 years. Main features of Cummings’ campaign are crime reduction and affordable housing.
What motivated you to run for local office?
“What motivated me to run for local office is my desire for Leon County to thrive and become one of the greatest, if not the greatest county in Florida. Having lived here for over 35 years and raised my son here, I am aware of the many unique and positive aspects of Leon County that appeal to people from all walks of life. This recognition fuels my desire to propel our county to the next level in all respects. Therefore, when Commissioner Lindley announced she was not seeking re-election, I saw this as an opportunity to give my time and talents to the larger Leon County Community.”
What unique position would you bring to the position?
“The unique perspective I would bring to the position is my background, experience, and passion for public service. My humble beginnings, equipped with a servant’s heart and mind, have been the anchors and guiding posts that allowed me to remain involved in public service. I believe a servant’s mind is essential to adequately and successfully serve ‘by the people, for the people,’ and in the best interest ‘of the people’; hence, the concerns of every citizen in Leon County are important to me. I will bring a strong work ethic and disciplined approach to problem-solving. My public service work for various State Agencies and Legal Services of North Florida, Inc., have afforded me the opportunity to be involved in many aspects of job training, rulemaking, and cooperative efforts by for-profits, non-profits, and governmental agencies alike, to assure success for program participants. I have served on the board of entities, whose primary mission has been to address and equalize employment opportunities through workforce development and in most instances with budgetary constraints. These experiences coupled with having been a small business owner for over twenty years give me a broader perspective on the needs of our citizens and make me uniquely qualified to be an advocate for the citizens of Leon County.”
What do you see as the biggest challenges facing Leon County?
“The biggest challenges I see facing Leon County is staying ahead of the curve on the coronavirus pandemic from all aspects, including health and safety, unemployment, adverse impact on small businesses, and the overall impact on the economy. Another major challenge facing Leon County is the rising crime rate, especially among our youth, and protecting the safety of all citizens. Finally, I see affordable housing as a challenge for low wage earners and especially for our veterans who sacrificed their lives so we, as a nation, can remain free.”
What is your plan to address these challenges?
“I plan to address these challenges through collaborative efforts and cooperation from County Commissioners, representatives from all areas of government, and Leon County citizens. I plan to support local and state efforts to revitalize the economy in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic. I plan to address the lack of affordable housing by advocating for incentives to builders and developers who agree to set aside a percentage of any new development for veterans and low-income citizens. This initiative could positively affect the lack of affordable housing in Leon County. Finally, I will initiate and support the formation of a continuing Local Task Force to bring to the table community leaders, law enforcement entities, and city and county commissioners to develop various plans to proactively address the crime rate in our community and especially among our youth. The exploration of job training and more intervention programs in collaboration with community colleges and other select educational entities to engage high school dropouts and unemployed citizens will be part of my agenda to promote positive change from the ground up.”
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 election date is August 18.