Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer has endorsed Nicolette Springer in the contest for the Orange County Commission District 4 seat.
“Nicolette Springer brings a fresh perspective and a new vision for one of the fastest growing regions in Central Florida,” Dyer stated in a news release issued by Springer’s campaign. “As a natural leader, she recognizes that those that live and work in District 4 know better than anyone, how county government should work for them, not simply how it’s worked in the past. Nicolette believes in listening and learning from the true experts: the people she’ll represent. You’ll see her most days walking the neighborhoods, pulling her 2 young children behind her in their wagon, meeting people and letting residents know who she is.”
Springer is the second candidate in that crowded race whom Dyer has endorsed. His first choice, Lori Harris, dropped out last month.
When Dyer had first backed Harris, his former aide in Orlando City Hall, the incumbent county commissioner in that seat, Jennifer Thompson, accused the city mayor of seeking to stack the county commission with his people. Springer, too, was critical of him for doing so, charging that “both Jennifer Thompson and Buddy Dyer are trying to stretch their influence over the commission.”
Thompson’s former aide, Susan Makowski, also is running this year. Thompson, who is leaving due to term limits, and Makowski are Republicans. Dyer, Springer and Harris are Democrats. However, the seat and the election officially are non-partisan.
Also in the field are Democrats Maribel Gomez Cordero and Kevin Ballinger, and Republican Gina Perez-Calhoun. They’re each seeking to represent southeast Orange County. If no one gets more than 50 percent in the August 28 election the top two head for a runoff in November.
Dyer cited Springer’s interest in the region being a national model for smart growth, “where a thriving business community and smartly planned neighborhoods coexist with protected conservation areas and recreational spaces that serve everyone – young and old. That’s what we’re striving for and accomplishing here in Orlando and I think we’re fortunate that Nicolette shares that vision, not just for Orlandoans in her District, but for all of Orange County as well.
“As a newcomer to government, Nicolette won’t be beholden to anyone that held the office before her. She’ll be more than just an extension of her predecessor,” Dyer also stated, a not-so-veiled reference to Makowski and Thompson. “Her passion for her community is her own!”
Springer, a criminologist and community activist, responded to Dyer’s endorsement stating, “The city of Orlando has thrived under the leadership of Mayor Dyer. During his tenure, he has worked relentlessly to advance the prosperity of Orlando and improve the quality of life for all residents. I’m honored to have the endorsement of Mayor Dyer.”
Makowski and Springer are the run-away leaders in the campaign finance money chase, having raised more than $102,000 and $71,000 respectively, while none of the other three active candidates has yet raised $20,000 to support their campaigns.