County Commission District 5

The Leon County Democratic Environmental Caucus endorses DAVID O’KEEFE.

We endorsed David O’Keefe before the primary and we continue to urge voters to choose him.

Paula DeBoles-Johnson has extensive experience in the volunteer/non-profit world, and she’s worked hard to help underprivileged young people.  She has been a force for good in the community.  Both Paula and David O’Keefe want to address poverty and affordable housing and crime.   Paula’s ideas for the commission, however, don’t seem fully formed, and we have a sense that she might defer to the opinions of staff.  While she says she’s pro-environment, it seems she has not been focused on the environment. 

David O’Keefe is a certified public accountant with 15 years experience.  He’s audited local governments including the City of Tallahassee.  He’s worked for the Florida Pre-Paid College Board, the FSU Research Foundation, and, most recently, he was the chief financial officer for WFSU.  He left that job in February to campaign full time, and if he’s elected, he’ll be a full-time commissioner, with no other employment.  

David brings an accountant’s understanding of budgeting; the empathy that comes from his own family financial struggles when he was a child, including the family’s loss of his childhood home; a remarkable ability to diagnose our problems and identify practical solutions; and a desire to make Leon County work better, especially for those who are struggling.  He speaks convincingly on climate change, affordable housing, homelessness, planning and development, affordable childcare, animal adoption, crime, and corruption and insider influence.  He points out that solving our problems takes money, which is one reason the FSU stadium grant was so misguided.   He understands that to solve the affordable housing crisis, we have to build more homes, but that doesn’t mean developing more and more land further and further from the urban core.  He argues that we can and should create affordable homes in the central city, and in order to make those homes truly affordable, we’ll have to spend tax dollars and it will be worth it.  O’Keefe wants to deny zoning changes and deviations sought by developers unless the proposal includes increased affordable housing or some other substantial concession.  As to violent crime, like other candidates, he sees Sheriff McNeill’s homicide report as a logical starting point. He believes that if we want to prevent violent crime, we must intervene one-on-one with the young men most at risk.  In every area, he’ll push for measures that actually make a difference.  

For years, Kristin Dozier has been our most thoughtful county commissioner.  In our view, David O’Keefe is the candidate best prepared to be her successor.