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St. Johns County Commission

2 seats up for election this year

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The odd-number seats on the commission are up for election for a four-year term.

District 1: Christian Whitehurst defeated incumbent Jimmy Johns in the Republican primary. Whitehurst now faces Democrat Joe McAnarney in the general election

District 3: Paul Waldron is uncontested for re-election.

District 5: Republican incumbent Henry Dean faces no party affiliated candidate Merrill Paul Roland in the general election

Scroll down to read the responses to News4Jax’s questionnaire of each candidate in each contested race presented verbatim as submitted.

St. Johns County Commission - District 1

  DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE

Joe McAnarney

Party affiliation: Democratic

Age: 74

Candidate’s family: Linda (wife), 3 kids, 6 grandkids

Occupation: Retired Architect

Education: Bachelor of Architecture, Miami University

Political experience: This is my first candidacy for political office

What do you see as the top three issues in this race?

  1. Our Comprehensive Plan prepared by 50,000 residents in the 1990′s is an ancient plan. We need new vision and new input from the 253,000 residents we now have.
  2. Our current Comprehensive Plan will fill the County with residential development totaling nearly 600,000 residents, and with low-wage retail jobs requiring families to commute to Duval County for a sustainable salary. We need new vision for job diversity, a vision that will seek such industries as clean R&D companies, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, as well as a vision that honors and supports our hard-working hospitality industry by supporting programs that attract even more tourists and vacationers.
  3. Our precious amenities - wetlands, open space, natural creeks, and tree preserves - are disappearing quickly and we need to find ways to preserve these while supporting reasonable development. This County can become a truly remarkable example of eco-friendly communities intertwined with natural beauty, protected habitats, and family outdoor activities.

How can you help voters in a way that others running for this office cannot?

I am a retired architect with over 40 years' experience working with codes and standards. I have an immediate understanding of our Comprehensive Plan, Land Development Code, and Future Land Use Map and can effectively listen, evaluate, and decide on land use proposals given that experience. I am for Smart Growth, but growth that balances development and conservation. I have been endorsed by the Sierra Club and am proud to balance their conservation goals with developer proposals. I will ask both to come to the table for discussions and decisions.

What would you hope to be remembered for accomplishing after serving in this office?

I love the beauty of St. County. I also love our parents and kids who have big dreams for their future (I am a Volunteer of the year at my wife's St. Johns County elementary school). I want to be remembered as someone who sought and achieved Smart Growth, as someone who helped balance growth and conservation, and as someone who helped make St. Johns County one of this State's most enviable family-friendly places to locate and live.

If elected how would you address the calls for racial justice?

This is a landmark time for our County, our State, America, and the world. St. Johns County needs to be counted on as an area that cares, that listens, that promotes change for racial justice and full equality. I do believe in the worth and integrity of our citizens and families, and believe we will come together for the good of all and for true racial justice from this moment forward.

What challenges does COVID-19 present to the office you are seeking?

I am supporting all families and businesses in their efforts toward full recovery, and I will continue to work as County Commissioner to provide all resources and assistance available through our County government.

Campaigning has become one of social media, not door to door or large meetings.

Campaign website: electjoemack.com

Campaign’s social media pages: Facebook

  REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE

Christian Whitehurst

Party: Republican

Campaign website: electwhitehurst.com

This candidate has not yet responded to our questionnaire.


St. Johns County Commission - District 1

  REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE

Henry Dean

Party affiliation: Republican

Age: 73

Candidate’s family: Wife- Melanie. Four children

Occupation: Water Resource Consultant

Education: BBA U of Iowa 1970. JD FSU. 1974

Political experience: SJC BCC 2016 to present

What do you see as the top three issues in this race?

  • Taxes
  • Growth Management
  • Quality of Life

How can you help voters in a way that others running for this office cannot?

Experience at local, state and federal levels.

What would you hope to be remembered for accomplishing after serving in this office?

Restoring our beaches following major hurricanes

If elected how would you address the calls for racial justice?

Provide an open door to anyone claiming police brutality and investigating such claims.

What challenges does COVID-19 present to the office you are seeking?

Health issues. Masks or no masks for example. Econobox issues. Schedule for re-opening beaches, parks, businesses, etc.

Campaign website: facebook.com/VoteHenryDean

  NO PARTY AFFILIATION

Merrill Paul Roland

Party: NPA

Campaign website: (none found)

This candidate has not yet responded to our questionnaire.