Seven running for Belle Glade commission

2018 election set on March 13

Three of the seats on the Belle Glade City Commission are up for grabs in the municipal election set for Tuesday, March 13, and there are seven candidates running for the offices, including all three sitting commissioners.

Registered voters in Precincts 6022, 6024, 6028, 6029, 6032 and 6036 are qualified to vote in the election. The three positions that will be filled are Seats C, D and E. Voters must be registered with the Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Office no later than Monday, Feb. 12, in order to cast a ballot. The runoff election(s) would take place Tuesday, March 27, in the event of a tie (or ties).

The two candidates for Seat D are briefly profiled here. An article about the candidates for Seat C will appear in next week’s Sun, on Jan. 18, and another about the Seat E hopefuls will appear later.

Seat D

Robert C. Mitchell is challenging the incumbent commissioner, Vice Mayor Mary Ross Wilkerson.

Mr. Mitchell, 38, also is a lifelong resident of the city and a political novice. He’s a graduate of GCHS and of Florida A&M Univeristy, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in education. He started and runs a Los Angeles-based company called Country Boy Catering that now has clients in many places and offers full services in the Glades area as well.

About his candidacy, he said: “The name of my candidacy is ‘Building a Better Belle Glade,’ the campaign slogan, and that is exactly what my intentions are. I want to build a better Belle Glade. I’m not impressed with the growth of the city, being here for many years and also being able to go off in other areas and see different things and, especially, driving 45 minutes up the road and seeing better, when we are actually in the same county. I don’t understand how we have a downtown area that looks like a Third World country in a time like this.”

So, he continued, “My reason for running is exactly what my campaign slogan says — whether that be with the youth in the area, whether it be dealing with the actual building technically of a lot of things, because we don’t even have a movie theater here, and also even when it comes down to one of my biggest missions, to help improve our law enforcement in their community relationship as we once had in Belle Glade. We knew each other back in the day, but now, the way that they’ve structured the law enforcement, they bring anyone in; the workers that actually work here are not allowed to patrol here. So they take outsiders and bring them in, and that’s not community-building. He added that he’s running against Ms. Wilkerson because “the vice mayor right now, she’s responsible for beautification of the city, and I see no beautification.”

Ms. Wilkerson, 66, is originally from Plains, Ga., but has lived in Belle Glade for 55 years and served on the commission for eight years. She graduated from Lake Shore Junior-Senior High School here and has a bachelor’s in human resources from St. Thomas University in Miami. She works for the Drug Abuse Treatment Association and is a retired social worker.

The vice mayor said she wants to keep serving citizens. “The reason I’m running for reelection is that we have a lot of things that we are trying to get completed. But most of all I’m running to help create jobs for our citizens, to help get our resurfacing and construction of our roads moving, and the new lights, trying to get new businesses to come into our community so that our people have productive pay and a productive life.

“Also,” she added, “we are working to get state money to build a new, $26 million community center for Belle Glade.”

Ms. Wilkerson finished: “One of the things is that it’s in my heart to help people, and I try to do that any way that I can that is possible.”

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