Pahokee candidate Perez reinstated to ballot

PAHOKEE — Palm Beach County Elections Supervisor Susan Bucher confirmed Tuesday that Sara Perez, who had filed to be a Group 2 candidate for Pahokee City Commission but was disqualified by Ms. Bucher’s office, has been reinstated to the ballot by court order.

“I am writing to … announce the reinstatement to the registered voters list and requalification of candidacy for Commissioner Group 2 for the City of Pahokee,” said an email The Sun received from Sara Perez and her husband, Emilio Perez. Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Jeffrey Gillen on Sunday ordered the reinstatement, finding that her claimed legal residence was indeed valid.

Ms. Perez is running for the seat held by Commissioner Felisia Hill, whose name will also be on the March 13 ballot.

The Sun’s Feb. 1 article “Two commissioners face challenges” reported that the elections supervisor had said she’d received a complaint about Ms. Perez’s given home address of 246 E. Main St. Ms. Bucher reported that the city had responded that it wasn’t a residential address, and said she was therefore disqualifying Ms. Perez. But the candidate then filed suit to have the supervisor’s action overturned.

Ms. Perez’s email concluded, “I feel that the previous articles have caused my votes to be suppressed.”

She owns Coco Dulce Inc., which runs the lounge CoCos at 691 E. Main St. and is the only establishment in Pahokee with a liquor license. The building where she lists her home address is actually owned by the City of Pahokee and is under a soon-expiring lease to Emilio Perez. Mr. Perez appeared before the Pahokee City Commission a few weeks ago, saying he wanted to exercise the option to buy the property that is included in the lease. In action at that commission meeting, however, the commissioners declined to sell the building.

Ms. Perez responded to emailed questions Tuesday about her candidacy. She is 59 and has lived in Pahokee for over 10 years. Educated at Glades Central High School and holding a nursing degree from West Technical Institute, she has been a pediatric nurse at Glades General Hospital, an obstetrical/gynecological nurse for Dr. R.L. Hatton, and an obstetrical nurse at Lakeside Medical Center. Ms. Perez previously ran for the commission in 2016 but lost.

She also sent her campaign platform, in which she says:

“I’m a local resident, business owner and philanthropist and I LOVE PAHOKEE! My vision for our city is to help create a community people would want to call home and create a future for themselves and their families. If you the people of Pahokee elect me to serve, I pledge to work hard on behalf of all Pahokee by promoting the best interest of us the people. I will accomplish this by offering up my talents in networking/relationship building, business acumen and knowledge of the community. I believe through service, if I can make a difference in ONE LIFE! ONE FAMILY! ONE NEIGHBORHOOD! ONE BUSINESS! Pahokee will become the city of choice.”

Ms. Perez’s platform also lists things she says she will work to improve: “access to quality education, economic development, job creation, access to quality housing, housing development and our quality of life/social development.”

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