Putnam County Commission, District 2

Two Republicans are competing in the August primary for this seat. The winner will face Democrat LaToya Anderson Robinson in November.

News4Jax sent a questionnaire to each candidate asking about their background and their views on several issues. Scroll down to read the responses of those seeking your vote in their own words.

Note: Responses are sorted alphabetically by party and are presented exactly as submitted, with no editing by News4Jax staff.

  REPUBLICAN CANDIDATES

Jeff Rawls

Occupation: General Contractor

Age: 57

Your family: Dawn (wife) 2 Daughters and 1 son

Education: 3 Years of College

Political experience: Currently County Commissioner Dist. 2

What do you see as the top three issues you’ll likely face while holding this office?

  • Employee Retention is a key factor to providing essential services to our Citizens. Rising cost of all types will strain the current revenue/budget and cause us to be mindful of our current employees while we attempt to fill vacancies of all types.
  • Funding and support for in county services for Substance Use and Mental Health Disorders as well as the Putnam Animal Shelter, Fire/Ems, Public Works, Parks and Recreation. Historically these areas have been underfunded causing a decrease in services.
  • Strategic Planning/budgeting and amending our comprehensive Plan to reflect the changes that have been brought out over the past two and a half years. Wage increases and inflation will present multiple challenges for Putnam. Planning will allow us to control our growth and provide the necessary infrastructure to help us maintain the Rural Nature that is Putnam County.

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

  • Having served in US Navy, worked as a Firefighter/Paramedic (10 years), and starting and owning a design build construction company for over 21 years I have a unique perspective. Seeing the issues that are brought about with our labor shortages, material cost increases, housing costs, and inflation in general. I am able to bring these experiences and knowledge base into the conversation to help resolve issues and problems. Understanding budgeting and procurement is essential to making decisions in favor of the public that I serve. I have a strong sense of right and wrong and am not afraid to speak up for the Citizens of Putnam County.

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

  • Fighting for and bringing transparency to many issues that affect our Citizens. Being open and honest with the public and not being afraid to swim against the current and vote on issues that represent the will of the people. In general, I have worked for WE THE PEOPLE since elected.

Campaign website: electjeffrawls.com

Campaign’s social media site(s): facebook.com/profile.php?id=100080784406704


Leota Wilkinson

Occupation: District Aide - Rep Bobby Payne, Realtor & small business owner

Age: 52

Your family: Married to Eugene Wilkinson, 33 years, 3 grown sons - Shawn, Thomas & Timothy, - 5 granddaughters

Education: 1)Bachelors of Science, Public Administration, Flagler College 2) Associate of Science, Business Management, St. Johns River State College 3) Associate of Science, Financial Management, St. Johns River State College

Political experience: 6 years experience as District Aide to State Rep Bobby Payne, candidate for Putnam County Tax Collector 2012. Also have 15 years experience as a Sr. Land Acquisition Agent with St. Johns River Water Management District.

What do you see as the top three issues you’ll likely face while holding this office?

  1. Support smart economic growth and build a vibrant community.
  2. Keep pushing for broadband services as it is a critical component of Putnam’s future.
  3. Support local law enforcement, firefighters and EMS. The lives of our citizens depend on public safety professionals and their ability to respond to situations quickly, effectively, and accurately.

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

  • I feel my 21 years’ experience working at the state level and my education in public administration, business and finance make me suitably qualified to be a productive and effective County Commissioner. Being a small business owner, and having worked in both the private and public sectors, I am experienced in governmental budgeting, accounting, business management, and personal and financial management matters. I am also a licensed Realtor. I will bring a different perspective to the county commission, one of: a mother, a realtor, a small business owner, a women’s viewpoint and experienced governmental employee. I will work to create good working relationships with fellow commissioners, administrators and staff. My experience has provided me with the opportunity to have good working relationships with a variety of staff, legislators and departments in Tallahassee.

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

  • I want to leave Putnam County better than when I found it. If elected, I will become the very FIRST Republican woman to ever serve on the Putnam County Board of Commissioners. I would like to be known for bringing a fresh perspective and moving Putnam County forward in a direction that will help Putnam grow and thrive for the future of our children and grandchildren.

Campaign website: leotawilkinson.com

Campaign’s social media site(s): facebook.com/LeotaWilkinsonforPutnam

  DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE

LaToya Anderson Robinson

Occupation: Mental Health Counselor

Age: 45

Your family: (No response)

Education: BS & MA

Political experience: none

What do you see as the top three issues you’ll likely face while holding this office?

  1. Growth county wide
  2. Local Government/Agency Collaboration
  3. Restoring Resources

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

  • Provide a diverse perspective in making decisions for our community.

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

  • That I made a difference and restored home in our community.

Campaign website: latoya4putnam.com

Campaign’s social media site(s): Facebook