Three candidates run for Belle Glade City Commission Seat E

Profiles of Seats C, D candidates available online

BELLE GLADE — 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 candidates for Seat D were profiled in the Thursday, Jan. 11, Sun, and an article about the candidates for Seat C appeared in last week’s Sun, Jan. 18; both sets of profiles are available online at www.bellegladesun.com. Here are brief profiles of the three candidates for the final seat up for election.

Seat E

Kevin A. Brown Sr. and Damita “Doe” Dowers are challenging the Seat E incumbent, City Commissioner Johnny Burroughs Jr.

Mr. Brown, 34, is originally from Jersey City, N.J., but was raised in Belle Glade since his family moved here when he was 6.

“I graduated from Glades Central High School in 2001; I also have my associate’s degree in business management and administration from Palm Beach Junior College; and I’m currently seeking to get my bachelor’s degree in entrepreneurship and business management at Palm Beach State,” he said.

He works as a customer service specialist at the Palm Beach County Tax Collector’s Office and said the theme of his campaign for a commission seat is “Committed to the community, dedicated to progress.”

Asked about the reason for his run, Mr. Brown responded: “I see things that not so much need to be fixed, but we just need to have some changes and to put more emphasis on certain programs that there’s a need for here. A lot of people say that we lack the resources, but there’s not really too much of truth in that; it’s just putting the right people in the right places to bring about those things that are needed. The county has a lot of things that it can offer, due to areas out here especially, but we just haven’t had the right focus toward those things as of yet.”

Mr. Brown said he wasn’t running for Seat E specifically to oppose the incumbent. “It has nothing to do with the person; it’s how the seat is run. It’s more of the principles of the actual commission itself,” he explained, adding that he’s never run for public office before but has held student government positions.

Ms. Dowers, 55, was born and raised in Belle Glade, is a graduate of GCHS and studied in several courses at the then-Palm Beach Junior College. In her younger years, she said, she did farm work and then was employed with the Florida Department of Corrections for over 20 years.

Retired from full-time work now, Ms. Dowers still holds a part-time position for GEO, the private company that operates the South Bay Correctional Facility. She has never before run for public office.

When asked why she’s running for the Belle Glade City Commission, Ms. Dowers directed anyone interested in her stances on the issues to her Facebook page, “Elect Damita ‘Doe’ Dowers” and her website, djdowers.wixsite.com/dowers4commissioner.

Her Facebook page explains that she wants to act as “the voice of the people” on thee commission. In a post Dec. 6 after qualifying for the ballot, Ms. Dowers wrote, “As your next Belle Glade city commissioner, I will fight and speak up for all of Belle Glade’s citizens so that we can have a Belle Glade that we are happy to call our home!”

Incumbent Commissioner Burroughs, who just turned 40, has been on the Belle Glade City Commission since 2012 and won another term unopposed; this is his second run for re-election against an opponent.

Born and raised in Belle Glade, he is a graduate of GCHS, completed a criminal justice certification program at Palm Beach State College and holds a bachelor’s degree in musical education from Florida A&M University. He worked in criminal justice for 14 years, six with the Florida Department of Corrections and then eight years with the GEO group.

Mr. Burroughs now works in Florida Career College’s Admissions Department as a career counselor and as an adjunct instructor in criminal justice at PBSC.

He said he’s running again to retain his commission seat because of projects that are underway which he wants to see completed. “We’ve been highly successful with our state legislators to build on our current infrastructure (and) get some projects started for our road resurfacing and utility service. So now it’s time to go ahead and build upon the foundation that we’ve already laid to attract more business and industry, which is basically my focus on the commission,” Mr. Burroughs said.

“I’m responsible for business and economic development and the youth programs within my city,” he added. “So I’m running so I can continue the work that I’ve already started and laid the groundwork for so I can continue to see it in its fruition appropriately.”

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