Gateway Sun

Just as Gateway Sun readers predicted, Vice-Chairman Bill Guy and Supervisor Doug Banks have won their election races by very large margins against Jim Brann and Delores Linscott respectively.

We would like to first thank all four candidates for running. Your commitment to the Gateway community has not gone unnoticed.

We asked all four candidate to provide statements to thank their supporters (or say anything else they’d like to say) but Brann and Linscott chose not to take advantage of the opportunity.

Vice-Chairman Bill Guy did, however, and he had this to say to Gateway residents: “I thank all who supported my candidacy. This includes the campaign committee, those who contributed and all who voted for me. I am honored and will represent all of Gateway, not just one or two neighborhoods, to the best of my ability. The Board of Supervisors will have many decisions to make in the next four years; some will be difficult. I pledge to give my best as we proceed to make Gateway the best possible community to live and play in.”

Supervisor Doug Banks said, “First, I would like to applaud all of Gateway for the tremendous turnout for the midterm election. Your voice and vote matter. I would personally like to thank everyone who showed their support and confidence by casting their vote for me. A special thanks to my wife Charli and my family for being by biggest supporters and all those that helped the campaign behind the scenes. For those that didn’t vote for me, I will continue to work hard to represent ALL of GATEWAY and hopefully earn your trust and support during my re-election term. Deciding to run for any elected position is not easy or something to be taken lightly. I want to congratulate all the candidates and wish them the best moving forward.”

A number of records were set in this election. First, the race between Guy and Brann garnered 6,059 total votes, beating the previous record of 5,373 set in the 2016 race between Supervisor Kathleen Flaherty (a Gateway resident) and Mary Carol Stanley (a Pelican Preserve resident). In Gateway’s two precincts, the Guy/Brann race had 4,102 votes while the comparable 2016 Flaherty/Stanley race had 3,942. That means the increase in turnout in Gateway was 4% in 2018 over 2016. The remaining increase was from Pelican Preserve’s precinct, which saw a staggering increase of 37% over 2016.

Second, Banks secured 3,927 votes, smashing the record of 2,918 which was previously held by Flaherty. To add some additional perspective, the last time there was an election for Banks’ seat on the board  — Seat 5 — was in 2014 when former Supervisor Rod Senior won Seat 5 with 1,912 votes.

Third, when looking at races when Gateway residents ran against each other, the previous record number of votes by Gateway residents was in 2016 when Chairperson Margaret Fineberg secured 2,179 votes from Gateway residents. Banks broke that record in 2018 with 2,315.

As previously mentioned, 2018 turnout in Gateway was up 4% over 2016, meaning that if you added 4% to Fineberg’s 2016 vote total it would only be 2,266. Banks is therefore the most voted-for candidate in the history of head-to-head races between Gateway residents, even if you removed the increase in turn-out.

There was one record that Banks fell just short of breaking, however. Banks won his 2018 race against Linscott with 65.21% of the over-all vote. The record for largest over-all victory is 65.27% of the vote, set in 2010 by none other than … Vice-Chairman Guy.

In 2018, Guy secured 47% more Gateway-only votes than Stanley did in 2016. And remember, turnout was only up 4% in Gateway. Bottom line in that race? Guy’s team ran a spectacular campaign on the Vice-Chairman’s behalf.

So now that the election is over, what does it mean for the next few years? Supervisor Banks was kind enough to offer some insight in to the priorities for the Gateway Services District.

“The past two years were about changing how Gateway does business. Re-shaping the organizational structure was at the forefront followed by a board commitment to address the needs of Gateway and take action. This was not an easy task as we challenged staff to a higher standard of accountability and quality. What we found when our staff started conducting infrastructure evaluation and performing new maintenance routines, is that we had far more issues to resolve than what we thought. We now have a long list of priorities and have developed better planning and execution strategies to get things done. To be the District we wanted to be tomorrow, we had to stop being the District that we were today. In my opinion, this is the best theme to describe our path over the last two years. We have accomplished a great deal in a very short amount of time. I credit this to each and every board member and their commitment to moving Gateway forward. We may have some difference from time to time, but I believe overall, we have a shared vision. Our actions as a board demonstrates that. The challenge we as board will face is not agreeing on what our priorities are, but rather the scheduling and funding effort to complete. Getting things done while not inflating assessments is a top priority that we now face. I have complete confidence that we will continue to be objective, have open dialogue, work towards creative solutions, collaborate and work in the best interest for Gateway and its residents,” said Banks.

Banks added: “I want to recognize District Manager Chris Shoemaker for all his hard work and all the members of staff for their commitment and efforts in changing how we operate as a District. We have asked a lot of them, they have put in the work and we have all joined together on this journey of change. Most of their efforts goes unseen. If you see a staff member, take a minute and say ‘Thanks’. It would mean a lot!”

Even though the election is over, the GSCDD would still like to see Gateway residents take a hands-on approach when it comes to the community.

“Resident feedback is critical in keeping us focused on what is important to you. Please, attend a meeting, take the time to share your input, concerns, issues with the board and staff. Because, at the end of the day, we work for you!” Banks said, adding, “I look forward to seeing what we can accomplish over the next four years.”

Congratulations to Guy and Banks on their victories, and thank you to Brann and Linscott for stepping up as challengers.

About Jeff Kuntz

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Editor of the Gateway Sun and owner of restaurant delivery service Florida Food Runner.

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