Races are running hot

Everywhere you turn in Zephyrhills you wills see one of four campaign signs as the race heats up before the April 9 Election Day for two seats on Zephyrhills City Council.

The race for Seat 3 features incumbent Jodi Wilkeson and political newcomer Sam Turgeon. The Seat 5 race feature familiar foes in incumbent Charlie Proctor and Manny Funes.

Wilkeson has been a staple in city government and is in her second stint as a city councilwoman. She served from 2008 to 2014, was elected again in 2018 and has been serving ever since. She stresses her recent voting record toward reducing developments and density.

“In 2023, I voted to institute a Building Moratorium on high density residential developments,” Wilkeson posted on her social media account on Facebook. “Recently, City Council voted to reduce allowable density of these projects by 30 percent and I am currently working with staff, our State and County officials (whom have endorsed me for this seat) to address our intersection “hot spots” to help improve our residents’ quality of life. With an architecture degree & urban planning experience, I am highly qualified & committed to resolving these issues…and helping to preserve our community’s small town charm.”

Turgeon, who is making his debut in the political arena, is focusing his campaign on what the city’s future holds after the overwhelming growth has put pressure on its infrastructure. With a strong background in real estate, Turgeon looks to use his knowledge in seeking solutions to the city’s infrastructure issues.  

“As our density skyrockets, we will soon face a crisis with overcrowded schools, overcrowded parks, water shortages, rationing, all of which will result in a decline in the quality of life for all who live here,” Turgeon states on his campaign website.

Proctor and Funes have done this before. Proctor unseated Funes 12 years ago and Funes has run for office several times since.

Proctor has been a member of City Council for more than a decade working toward advocating for improving infrastructure, park improvement and better wages for city staff.

“To me some of the city’s most valuable assets are our city employees. Any one that knows me knows that I have and will continue to try to pay them the best wages that the city can afford. I am proud to serve this great city we live in. I appreciate the support of all our citizens. I hope to see you at the polls on April 9th.

Funes is appealing to voters by asking them how they feel about the rapid growth of Zephyrhills while questioning Proctor’s voting record on various projects, with an emphasis on the apartments constructed near Zephyr Commons.

“Friends when you elect someone to represent you, you are trusting that person to do their due diligence in making the right decision for the people he serves,” Funes wrote on his Facebook account with a photo of him standing in front of the apartments.

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