Two local power players have filed to run for a Seminole County Commission seat.
Commissioner Carlton Henley has held a lock on the District 4 commission seat for nearly 20 years. When the 84-year-old decided not to seek reelection, it opened the door for Longwood Mayor Joe Durso and Seminole School Board Chair Amy Lockhart to run. The election is more than a year away.
Republicans Lockhart and Durso have name recognition and experience in local politics.
Durso started his political career as chief of staff to State Senator Lee Constantine, who now sits on the Seminole County Commission. Durso was just 23 at the time and has also worked on the staffs of U.S. Senator Connie Mack, Florida’s Lieutenant Governor Toni Jennings and Congresswoman Ginny Brown-Waite.
Durso was first elected as Longwood’s District 2 city commissioner in 2008. He was the youngest mayor in the city’s history from 2011 – 2012. Durso has led job creation, economic development and SunRail initiatives in the Seminole County city.
In his full-time job, Durso is the vice president for public affairs for Community Based Care of Central Florida, the region’s foster care and adoption agency.
The 37-year-old said he wants to use his success in Longwood to concentrate on transportation and water issues in Seminole County. He also wants to improve the environment, maintain the quality of life and protect the rural boundary on the eastern side of the county.
“I’ve had hands-on experience dealing with and solving these issues and feel I’m qualified for the commission seat,” said Durso, who also teaches political science at Seminole State College.
District 4 stretches between Sanford and the Orange County line and includes portions of Lake Mary, Longwood and Casselberry.
Just like Durso, Lockhart has a friend on the Seminole County commission She served as an aide to Seminole County Commissioner Brenda Carey before she was elected to the School Board in 2012. She was reelected without opposition in 2016.
Lockhart was appointed in 2014 by Gov. Rick Scott to serve as a trustee for Seminole State College.
She and her husband, Tim, live in Sanford with their two children, Karis and Jake.
Longtime Lyman High School Principal Henley first gained a seat on the commission in 1993 as a Democrat when he was appointed by Gov. Lawton Chiles to fill the remainder of Republican Bob Sturm’s seat, after he died. In 1994, Henley ran for election as a Democrat but lost in the primary to former Longwood Mayor Adrienne Perry. Henley then became a Republican and in 1998 he defeated incumbent Win Adams to return to the commission.