St. Augustine Record
Place of residence: Elkton
Positions selected so far: Anastasia Mosquito Control District – Seat 1
Qualifications for the office: Current Commissioner for Anastasia Mosquito Control District Seat 1, 20+ years in Science Education, Business Owner (SmartParties LLC), Former Anastasia Mosquito Control District Employee (Education Specialist)
Reason to walk: I would like to use my experience and knowledge to help Saint Johns County stay free from mosquito-borne diseases.
Goals for the coming term of office, if elected: We must continue to increase the efficiency of the service by improving existing techniques and following promising emerging technologies. The aim is to maximize mosquito control while minimizing the impact on the environment. As a good steward of taxpayer finance, it is important to use resources wisely and continue to foster partnerships and apply for grants.
Howard G. McGaffney
Place of residence: St. Augustine, St. Johns County
Positions selected so far: Over the past 20 years, I have held various board positions in the private and local government sectors, as well as many voluntary board positions in nonprofits.
Qualifications for the office: I am uniquely qualified to be a special district commissioner. I am the only candidate for Seat 3 who has experience in local government administration and has successfully demonstrated the necessary skills as I manage 17 special wards which are purpose-built administrations under Chapter 190 of the Florida Bylaws have been established. As the Special District Manager, I am a trusted advisor to 85 elected officials. I oversee financial planning, budgeting, administration, capital planning, evaluation process, public hearings, conduct board meetings and workshops, and the overall operation of the special districts.
Reason to walk: It is important to have experience and wisdom in local offices to guide the mission and vision for the future. The county is growing and the Anastasia Mosquito Control District needs to have a strategic and specific plan to responsibly grow with the county. I plan to help the district meet the needs of St. Johns County’s residents and businesses, and provide the resources necessary to reduce and control mosquito populations in order to control mosquito-borne diseases.
I have served our country and now I ask for your vote to serve our county. My personal message and my views, in which I make my decisions, are based on: Faith, family, God and country. My motto is “others before themselves”.
Goals for the coming term of office, if elected: Proper financing, but low taxes. By focusing attention on applying for and receiving other funding from the county, state, and federal government, AMCD can help offset the cost of capital expenditures and operating costs that help meet the need for additional services for residents to cover while keeping the taxes low.
Support science and improve services. The science of mosquito control is a key component and supports the bottom line of the services provided. This department is vital to the relief of mosquito-borne diseases in St. Johns County. It needs to be properly funded. Without this option, the service options for all areas of the district can be restricted.
Focus on the “Special Purpose” for which the Anastasia Mosquito Control District was established. I support the specific purpose for which AMCD was founded, but I do not support uncontrollable expansions of government projects and areas that do not support the district’s science and services.
Create a 5 year strategic growth plan that anticipates the services needed to meet the county’s growing population and development of the county / business community. We have mosquito control services and I’ll help you plan.
Place of residence: West St. Augustine
Positions selected so far: While I have no public office to report at this point, I have held leadership positions in professional associations for the past decade, including serving as president of the North East Florida Association of School Psychologists.
Qualifications for the office: As a practicing school psychologist in public education, I’ve been fighting for the best – not the easy – for six years. Being a lawyer means showing yourself up and listening to those you serve, even when it’s uncomfortable. My strength as an advocate of people is to create spaces for discussion, real conversations for real solutions and progress. I am ready to solve problems and advocate sustainable mosquito control in St. Johns County and to maintain and protect this taxpayer-funded public service. I am a consumer of knowledge by nature and will bring this skill to the table in my choice. I have attended AMCD meetings for over a year and they keep surprising me with their world-renowned research facility and remarkable collaborators in the field.
Reason to walk: Growing up in St. Augustine, Florida, it meant dealing with mosquito infestations every summer and after every hurricane by throwing standing water in the back yard, using mosquito repellant, and calling the Anastasia Mosquito Control District (AMCD) for inspection and treat our neighborhood. From a young age I enjoyed spending my time voluntarily and doing something for the common good. Whether it was fundraising or signing petitions, I was always called to serve. I get this from my mother, whose selfless work has set me a good example.
Goals for the coming term of office, if elected: Education about how AMCD uses tax dollars to protect all people from mosquito harassment and mosquito-borne disease in St. Johns County, FL is critical to building trust and partnerships. Many in St. Johns County today fear pesticide spraying and the effects it has on pollinators. There are also concerns about the release of sterilized mosquitoes into areas that have historically been marginalized and exploited. These fears and concerns are legitimate, and I believe that through transparency and outreach, AMCD can continue its work with the faith of its community that they serve. As Commissioner, I will try to improve on the already admirable example of transparency and trust by hosting forums with residents, attending community meetings and connecting with other leaders in our county.