Anastasia Mosquito Control District

Nonpartisan races open to all St. Johns County voters

St. Johns County’s Anastasia Mosquito Control District collaborates with the Florida Department of Health in Tallahassee, Florida. provides control, community education, and research. It is based in St. Augustine but serves all communities in the county.

Two seats on the five-member elected board are on the November ballot for all county voters.

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.


  GROUP 2 CANDIDATES

Martha G. Gleason

Party affiliation*: NPA

Occupation: Market Research Executie

Age: 60

Your family:

  • Husband Doug Gleason, two daughters, Jennifer and Christine, Son-in-law Adam, and two grand children Connor (8) and Caroline (5)

Education:

  • BA - Business Administration, College of Mount St. Vincents (Riverdale, NY); MBA from Fairleigh Dickinson University (Morristown, NJ)

Political experience: First time running for political office

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

As AMCD commissioner, the following will be my priorities:

  1. Ensure Fiscally Responsibility: As a special district, AMCD’s Board of Commissioners is to be fiscally responsible and committed to being good stewards of taxpayer dollars through responsible and lean budget decision-marking. AMCD should be spending less on general and administrative expenses than do their counterparts, cities and counties.
  2. Ensure Accountability: The AMCD Board of Commissioners are elected by voters in St. Johns County. Therefore, I will fight to ensure that the best interests of St. Johns citizens are served by the district.
  3. Ensure Transparency: The AMCD is limited in how they can spend taxpayer dollars and are required to be transparent in their financial processes. AMCD is also subject to Florida’s Sunshine, public records, financial disclosure, and ethics laws. I will ensure that citizens receive proper notice about the proposed annual budget meetings, mileage increases, and all projects involving significant expenditures by the District.

Projects such as the “Mosquito Museum” should have received sufficient public notice and debate. Consideration should have been given to making this a referendum item, instead of leaving it only to Board approval.

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

I will ensure that AMCD is focused on why it was chartered in the first place – to control and monitor for the spread of mosquito-borne diseases. I want to ensure proper funding for the district, while ensuring no wasteful spending or expansion beyond the district’s charter. By focusing on exploring new funding models, AMCD can help to offset capital outlay costs, and operational costs that will help to meet the needs to provide additional services to residents as the county grows, while also keeping the taxes low.

Upon being elected, I plan to work with my colleagues, St. Johns County citizens, the AMCD Administration, County Government Officials, and the State to ensure that the district’s 5-year Strategic Growth Plan anticipates services needed to meet the County’s growing population and community/business development needs.

I will also propose a citizen advisory committee to ensure that citizens have a seat at the table when key funding decisions are being made as no government agency should be utilizing taxpayer dollars without transparency and the consent of its citizens.

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

  • That I brought common sense solutions and financial descipline to the District that helped improve mosquito control and monitoring responsibilities while ensuring tax-payer dollars were deployed in a responsible manner.

Campaign website: marthagleason.com

Campaign’s social media site(s): facebook.com/Gleason4MosquitoControl


Gary Howell

Party affiliation*: Republican, this is a Non Partisan Race

Occupation: Retired

Age: 74

Your family: (No response)

Education: (No response)

Political experience: Past AMCD Commissioner

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

  • The sterilized mosquito program. Having served on this board before, I investigated and received training in this area. I will utilize my training and move forward. The Educational Facility. I plan on partnering with the School System that will focus on field trips for our students so they will receive first hand knowledge about Mosquito Control programs and how they work. We plant the seeds which will produce students becoming scientist, pilots, technicians and administrative personnel. Bring to service 3 areas not being serviced now. I intend to accomplish this by annexing those dead end areas. Working to remove Mosquito Control off the tax rolls.

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

  • Using my knowledge and experience I will Investigate, Educate, Respond. The voters can count on me to do the job of a commissioner.

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

  • Moving Anastasia Mosquito Control Forward

As a Commissioner, when I leave office I want AMCD to be Bigger, Better, Stronger, and Greater.

Campaign website: (none listed)

Campaign’s social media site(s): ElectGaryHowell


Will Kelman

Party affiliation*: Non Partizan Election

Occupation: Retired Investment Banker

Age: Born 08/10/1953

Your family:

  • Married to my loving wife Nadia. I have two wonderful daughters, Olivia a prosperous lawyer and Madeleine, owns and operates a successful catering business. I have two wonderful grand daughters; Layla and Amira Rae. I am a fortunate man looking to give back to our community.

Education: MBA, Finance - NYU

Political experience: NONE

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

  1. Increasing the foot print of the Anastasia Mosquito Control District to the Saint Johns County community. Not enough citizens know of its existence and how it benefits them and their community.
  2. Work within the budget, which is funded from local taxes, making certain that the AMCD is competitive, grows and engages in activities which provide additional revenue generating streams to simultaneously keeping taxes low for the citizens.

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

  • I am an experienced, honest, leader whose strength is large budget finance. I have no other occupation and will fight to get the most for our tax dollars, to eradicate dangerous mosquitoes, and to keep our environment safe.

Where there’s a Will, there’s a way.

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

  • Eradicating dangerous mosquitoes while keeping our environment safe within the existing budget.

Campaign website: Coming

Campaign’s social media site(s): Coming


Ed Slavin

Party affiliation*: Nonpartisan election

Occupation: Retired

Age: 65

Your family: My parents, the late Ed and Mary Slavin, helped organize unions. Dad survived malaria in WWII (South Jersey Chapter of 82nd ABN DIVN ASSN named CPL Edward A. Slavin Chapter in his honor).

Education: B.S.F.S., Georgetown University School of Foreign Service; J.D. Memphis State U. (now University of Memphis)

Political experience: Your watchdog, called an “environmental hero” by Folio Weekly.

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

  • Advancing research and education while protecting scientific integrity and free speech rights; safeguarding the independence of AMCD as an independent scientific and technical organization; protecting public health, the environment and public funds.

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

  • Long experience as a watchdog of mosquito control in St. Johns County, including helping persuade AMCD Commissioners to vote 5-0 in 2007 to cancel contract for illegal, no-bid $1.8 million purchase of a luxury jet helicopter, resulting in a full refund.

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

  • Inspiring better informed decisionmaking on environmental, safety, health and scientific issues.

Campaign website: edslavin.com

Campaign’s social media site(s): (none listed)


  GROUP 4 CANDIDATES

Trish Becker

Party affiliation*: Nonpartisan

Occupation: Commissioner

Age: 40 Last year I was voted as a Top 10 40 Under 40 Leader

Your family: My husband, John, and I have lived in St. Augustine for 12 years. We were married on Vilano Beach 11 years ago and love living in St. Augustine. We have an adventurous third grader who loves riding his dirt bike, playing outside, and learning about STEM. I am a local Cub Scout Den Leader, and my son is a Bear in Scouts.

Education: I am a graduate of the 2021 Chamber of Commerce Leadership Program. I recently graduated from St. Johns River State with a B.S. in Business Administration and will attend Flagler College in January. I have completed the International course, Global Vector Control Awareness and Problems, by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. I am certified as a Business Specialist, Business Operations Specialist, and Business Management. I annually complete the DODD Short Course Commissioners program. I attend many mosquito control and political-related training and webinars. Each year, I obtain professional Education Credits from the coursework completed during conferences.

Political experience: I am running for my second four-year term. I have always been interested in politics, and as a community advocate, political issues and social issues often intersect. I have made it my purpose to have more diversity at each table making life-changing decisions. I have made significant positive impacts in SJC, Florida, and nationwide. I genuinely believe that Public Health and Safety is a nonpartisan issue. I strive to work across all isles to get lawmakers to pass bipartisan policies to help all Americans. Each year, as a Commissioner, I travel to Tallahassee and Washington D.C. to meet with representatives and lobby on mosquito-related issues.

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

  1. The top issue is to ensure that each resident, visitor, and all elected leaders understand what AMCD does and why. There is a significant push in Tallahasse to do away with Special Districts. It would be disastrous for our health, tourism, and the Florida economy.
  2. Secondly, the economy has become very problematic for residents. For the last three years, I have voted to lower the property tax millage rate and have done so again this year. I believe that it is possible to govern well while spending conservatively. As the AMCD Educational Chair, completing the Disease Vector Educational Center and Science Museum was a top issue. It took years of saving, planning, and construction, but it will positively impact the County. AMCD is world-renowned, and I want us to stay that way. We will soon be a GLP lab and be able to offer product testing no other Mosquito District can. This will bring financial rewards and allow us to continue our innovative research. The Center will inspire students to get into STEM careers, and I hope our County will be known for producing the most Dr.s. Finally, I want to ensure residents can trust us as their government agency, even if most Americans have felt that isn’t possible in today’s political climate. My job is taking care of your safety, your tax dollars, and being your voice.
  3. Other issues facing us are climate change and the pesticide resistance of mosquitoes. We at AMCD believe in treating in an environmentally friendly way. Unfortunately, mosquitoes have been able to outsmart humans and now are becoming resistant to most pesticides. The research and work done at AMCD, through the millions we have received in grant funds, allows our scientists and engineers to figure out new innovative ways to protect us. With the climate changing and bringing in warmer temperatures, dangerous mosquitoes are now appearing in places they never were present before. With more rain, more mosquitoes will hatch, and it will be easy for them to get out of control without proper Integrated Mosquito Control Management.

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

Over the last four years, I have proven to be a leader you can trust. I have proven to put residents first, treat and pay employees well, and be 100% dedicated to making the best fiscally responsible choices with your money.

I do not give in to corporate demands, political ideologies, or self-gain. I have made it my duty to protect every resident, visitor, animal, and environment. I work every day of the week, even if my job only requires me to attend a monthly meeting.

I am passionate about helping everyone, no matter income, social status, occupation, race, or gender. I have built trust with Congressional members in every Party who now look to me for guidance on mosquito-related issues.

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

  • I hope that at the end of my term, I will be remembered for being a voice for all residents. I hope that I will have inspired people to run for office or get into a STEM career. I hope people remember that during my term, I treated everyone the same, with kindness.

Campaign website: TrishTheCommish.com

Campaign’s social media site(s): @TrishTheCommish


Chris George

Party affiliation*: Republican

Occupation: IT

Age: 44

Your family: Wife and 2 children

Education: BS in Business Administration - American Military University

Political experience: First time running, because you cannot complain unless you are willing to do something about it.

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

  1. Regain control and reassess the expenditure of tax payer monies. There are too many questions on why, where and how the tax payer money is spent.
  2. Monetizing the Mosquito museum. It is beyond me why we need a museum, but now that its there, how do we get it to pay for itself. Do not think we will see lines forming to pay an admission fee.
  3. With the increase in St Johns county residents creating more tax dollars, where can we find ways to lower tax rates and or give back unused tax dollars in some way. Mosquito control has a multi-million dollar budget and it will grow by taxation. Does all money get used and how much surplus in funds do we really need? Excessive surplus in funds leads to unnecessary expenditures of money that belongs to the tax payer and not towards building museums.

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

  • The Anastasia Mosquito Control Board is an entity created to run the control of mosquitos in our county. It is a business and the board is in control of the finances. With a financial background and a conservative view, I believe I can help get the board to maintain focus on providing a service to the tax payers and being fiducially responsible to the counties residents.

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

  • I have no illusions of grandeur and I am not making this a career like some in the race strive for. I am volunteering my time and efforts to protect my fellow residents from another avenue to be taxed and controlled.

Campaign website: vote4chrisgeorge.com

Campaign’s social media site(s): facebook.com/ChrisGeorge32081


* While this is a nonpartisan election, our questionnaire asks the candidates’ party affiliation and we have elected to include those answers as another piece of information to help voters make their choice of who to elect.