BusinessForce, the political action arm of the Orlando chamber of commerce, has endorsed incumbents Brandon Arrington and Fred Hawkins for re-election to the Osceola County Board of Commissioners,

Arrington, a Democrat from Kissimmee, was first elected in 2008 and represents District 3.

He has four challengers this year including two Democrats, Jamie Matos and Manuel Rodriguez, who would face him in the August 30 primary, with the high-vote getter advancing to the general election in November. Republican Ivan Rivera also is running for the District 3 seat, as is independent Tony Ferentinos. All are from Kissimmee.

“As commissioner, Brandon Arrington took a bold approach on economic diversification to attract higher paying jobs, investing in a more educated and skilled workforce, balancing the tax base, and improving the transportation infrastructure to move goods across Osceola County,” Craig Swygert, chair of BusinessForce Chair, the political arm of the Central Florida Partnership, stated in a news release. “Brandon is also working diligently to enhance the quality of life by aiding the Central Florida Commission on Homelessness to find proven and practical solutions to address this critical issue facing our community.”

Hawkins, a Republican from St. Cloud, also was first elected in 2008 and represents District 5.

He set to face Democrat Jeff Rivera of St. Cloud in the November election.

“Additionally as commissioner, Fred Hawkins, Jr. opposed wage mandates, championed low taxes and fees, cut onerous regulations to ensure that government services are more efficient, and encouraged transit-oriented development along SunRail,” Swygert stated. “Fred will continue to advocate for responsible, pro-growth policies while leading the charge to protect the taxpayer’s dollars and support privatization by reducing the size of government.”

Qualifying for the elections does not close until the week of June 20.

BusinessForce did not announce an endorsement in District 1, where three Democrats, Jose Caban-Hernandez, Peggy Choudhry, and Michael Harford, all of Kissimmee, and Republicans John Lambert of ChampionsGate and Jed Suhl of Kissimmee all have filed and face likely primary votes.

“Both Brandon and Fred are the clear-cut choices to serve our county for another term and we look forward to their successes in both the August primary election and the November general election,” Shannon Gravitte, chair of the BusinessForce County Commission stated in the news release. “We are confident that these endorsements will send a strong signal that both Commissioners deserve the support of the entire business community as they seek re-election to the Osceola County Commission.”

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