David O’Keefe, Leon County Commission candidate for District 5, finished ahead of his three opponents after the votes were tallied from Tuesday’s primary election with 27.4% of the vote.
O’Keefe will face Paula DeBoles-Johnson, who finished with 26.0% of the vote.
Candidates Dustin Rivest (23.9%) and Jay Revell (22.7%) finished 3rd and 4th, respectively.
Before the primary election, O’Keefe appeared on The Steve Stewart Show. Provided below is a summary of that interview. (Note: TR will publish an interview from Paula DeBoles-Johnson appearance on the show tomorrow)
O’Keefe, a resident of Tallahassee for 18 years, lives in Old Town with his wife, where he settled down after earning his business degree from Florida State University. O’Keefe worked as a CPA before deciding to run for county commissioner.
The candidate said he has enjoyed getting out in the community and talking with residents. However, O’Keefe noted he dislikes fundraising, though he understands it is necessary.
While out in the community, O’Keefe said the most common concerns residents discuss are the expansion of the city and development projects that come before the county commission.
Other matters that residents mention relate to affordable housing and homelessness issues facing Tallahassee.
Stewart asked O’Keefe how he would have voted on the Amazon project. “I’d be happy to vote for it if, ahead of time, before giving taxpayer money, we make sure we really take into account the impact of it on our community before we just approve it,” O’Keefe responded.
Regarding the Northeast Gateway project, O’Keefe said he would have supported the work as long as it goes through the proper protocols and “not skipping the line” of other projects and will bring more housing to the area.
O’Keefe also discussed the funding from Blueprint dollars for the FAMU and FSU stadiums. He said he did not support funds going to Doak Campbell Stadium.
“I am not in favor of giving taxpayer dollars to sports arenas and programs. I think we have priorities in our community that need help and need resources,” O’Keefe said. He added that he would like to have seen the funds for FAMU go to the businesses that operate around FAMU.
Stewart also asked O’Keefe’s opinion on expanding the urban service area that was recently passed on the south side of Tallahassee.
O’Keefe suggested that local governments should get out and discuss the subject with the citizens in the area, then vote according to the majority consensus.
“I am not no growth,” O’keefe said. “I am for smart growth. We need growth. We need affordable housing, and we cannot do that without increasing the supply of housing.”
Concerning crime and gun violence in Leon County, O’Keefe said that we don’t necessarily need more law enforcement driving around in cars. Instead, he believes law enforcement agents becoming more immersed in the community is more impactful, for example, a police officer “walking the beat and knowing your neighbors.”
O’Keefe says he is the best candidate for the commission seat as he is a trustworthy individual who understands finances and how to use resources effectively to tackle the crucial issues facing Leon County.