Editor’s Note: This is the third in a series of 24 articles published by The Apopka Voice in 2017 that were among the most noteworthy. We will post all of them beginning today and ending on Sunday, December 31st. Then on Monday, January 1st we will poll our readers and let them decide which is Apopka’s biggest story of 2017.

Story #3: Kilsheimer and Nelson announced their plans to run for Apopka Mayor within 24 hours of each other, and almost a year in advance of Election Day.

Published on March 15th and 16th

March 15th – Since last summer, the biggest questions in Apopka politics has been if Orange County Commissioner Bryan Nelson will oppose Joe Kilsheimer for Mayor of Apopka in 2018. That speculation is over.

Kilsheimer announced that he will run for re-election at the end of tonight’s city council meeting.

Nelson all-but-announced his candidacy this evening on social media; “Big news tomorrow. Press release tomorrow at the Catfish Place 11:00. Everyone invited,” Nelson said on Facebook. “Plenty to do. Will need help from everyone.”

Nelson is a first-term County Commissioner for District 2 which represents all of Apopka, Plymouth, Zellwood and parts of Ocoee, Orlando and Eatonville. He is also Vice Mayor of Orange County. Before that, he was in the Florida House representing District 38 for six years (2006-2012) and District 31 for two years (2012-2014). Both districts included Apopka within its borders.

He is also the owner of Nelson Insurance Services in Apopka for approximately the past 20 years and Nelson’s Roses for 20 years prior to that. He has lived in the Apopka area since 1958, and at the residence that he annexed into Apopka (in 2016) for 23 years.

Apopka Mayor Joe Kilsheimer
County Commissioner Bryan Nelson

 

 

 

 

 

The announcements will set up a Nelson vs. Kilsheimer election that could prove to be both candidate’s greatest challenge. Kilsheimer is an incumbent that has never lost an Apopka municipal election (2 wins no losses) and defeated a five-decade incumbent (Mayor John Land) in 2014. Nelson is also undefeated (5-0 with two elections going unopposed), and has been in an election every two years since 2006.


Nelson makes his candidacy for mayor official: Begins campaign with petition drive

March 16th – With The Catfish Place Restaurant as the backdrop, Orange County Commissioner Bryan Nelson made his candidacy for mayor of Apopka known to the public.

“After several long discussions with my family and close friends, I have decided to run for mayor here in our great city of Apopka,” he told the gathered crowd. “I am excited about the opportunity to serve in a new role and will bring my passion for our city to this campaign. I want to work on what we can do to make Apopka a better place to live, to work and to play.”

In his prepared statement, and in his speech, Nelson referenced civility as an issue he would like to change in the current City Council meetings.

“We’ve got a lot of opportunities, but we have a lot of challenges as well,” he said. “There has to be civility in leadership. We’ve got to get that back. You can’t let your emotions get in the way of good policy.”

He also announced his first campaign event, which will be a kick-off fundraiser to be held at The Catfish Place on Sunday, March 26th from 4:00 to 6:00 PM.

Nelson is pursuing a unique strategy by filing by petition instead of paying the filing fee.

Bryan Nelson, his wife Debbie (r) and daughter Linda (l) completing the first candidate petitions.

“No one has ever qualified for mayor by petition. We are going to be the first. It shows fiscal responsibility and that you have community support.”

Nelson is a first-term County Commissioner for District 2 which represents all of Apopka, Plymouth, Zellwood and parts of Ocoee, Orlando and Eatonville. He is also Vice Mayor of Orange County. Before that, he was in the Florida House representing District 38 for six years (2006-2012) and District 31 for two years (2012-2014). Both districts included Apopka within its borders.

He is also the owner of Nelson Insurance Services in Apopka for approximately the past 20 years and Nelson’s Roses for 20 years before that. He has lived in the Apopka area since 1958, and at the residence that he annexed into Apopka (in 2016) for 23 years.

The announcement sets up an anticipated showdown against Mayor Joe Kilsheimer that could prove to be both candidate’s greatest challenge. Kilsheimer is an incumbent that has never lost an Apopka municipal election (2 wins no losses). He defeated a five-decade incumbent (Mayor John Land) in 2014.

Nelson is also undefeated (5-0 with two elections going unopposed), and has been in an election every two years since 2006.


Mayor Kilsheimer: “We created more than 1,000 jobs in the projects we approved”

March 16th – At last night’s City Council meeting, Mayor Joe Kilsheimer announced his candidacy for re-election to a second term as mayor of Apopka.

“I’ll close the Mayor’s Report by ending a lot of speculation. It seems the campaign season is upon us. I had a person tell me they heard I wasn’t running for mayor. So I’m going to announce tonight that I am going to be a candidate for re-election next year. We’ll all look forward to seeing what happens in the coming months.”

The Apopka Voice asked Mayor Kilsheimer to tell Apopka voters why he wants to be re-elected. He sent this statement:

Mayor Joe Kilsheimer: In his own words

Mayor Joe Kilsheimer
 Since I took office in 2014, here are the positive changes that have taken place in Apopka:
  • We have created more than 1,000 new jobs in the projects we have approved such as Florida Hospital, Qorvo, the Northwest Distribution Center, Tractor Supply, Raynor Shine and others.
  • We have brought in more than $1.5 million in federal and state grants. With these grant funds, we will this year: 1) Rebuild the community center at Alonzo Williams Park; 2) Rebuild Lake Avenue Park; Install new playground equipment at Kit Land Nelson Park; 4) Hire 10 police officers instead of the five we originally budgeted for and 5) Equip our fire department with more training and safety gear.
  • We have signed a development deal for a new City Center project that will anchor the revitalization of downtown Apopka.
  • We have struck an innovative deal for the construction of a new interchange on S.R. 414 at Marden Road. This will not only improve access to the new hospital but will create new opportunities for investment and jobs for Apopka.
  • We have completed the Grow Apopka 2025 Vision Plan, which solicited the opinions of Apopka residents and laid the foundation for future projects such as the Station Street District, the 6th Street Promenade and the Lake Apopka Restoration Center, or LARC.
  • We have established a summer youth employment program called Apopka Youth Works. This summer, our nationally recognized program will provide summer jobs for 100 young people from low- and moderate-income families.
  • We have launched a new, attractive city website.
  • We have more than tripled the City’s audience on social media platforms, allowing us to communicate with residents on a daily basis.
  • We have established a far more transparent government than Apopka has ever had before. We post the full agenda and city council packet online on the Fridays before a next-Wednesday council meeting.
  • We have updated and modernized numerous systems within the operation of our municipal government, including an overhaul of our IT system to put it on a modern Microsoft platform.
  • We are holding more events than ever at the Apopka Amphitheater, including Charlie Daniels tomorrow night, (March 17th).
  • We can now buy alcohol on Sundays.

That is a good beginning, but we have so much more to do. I am running for re-election because I want to finish the job I started: Setting Apopka up for success.

Apopka has so much potential. The opening of the Wekiva Parkway is only a few years away. Our job now is to shape our community so that we hold on to the small-town atmosphere we love so much, and prepare for the growth we know lies ahead.

With the help and support of Apopka residents, I look forward to carrying out their vision in a second term.

5 COMMENTS

  1. We stopped in at the Wawa last night for my husband to get cigarettes. There was a guy there in front of our truck, along the frontage wall hanging out, so my husband told me to lock the door on our truck, while I waited in the truck for him to come back out of the store. As my husband came back out, there were three girls there and the guy hanging out, and I saw my husband talking to all of them, and when he got back in the truck, I asked him did they ask for money or gas, as I saw him talking to them, and he said no, they didn’t. What he was talking to them about, and why two of the girls screamed and ran into the store real fast was because a big huge field rat with a very longggggggg tail ran right along the wall in the front of Wawa in front of my husband as he came out of the store, and he told the girls to watch out for the big rat! We are used to people asking for money or gas there all the time, but a big field rat was totally unexpected! Where oh where, did that thing come from?????

  2. Well today is the day! Happy Birthday to me! I am getting better, not just older! I played happy birthday songs off of you tube, for me and my dog. My little boy dog really responded to the chipmunk happy birthday song and sang along with it!….LOL…. He listens intently to any child voices or anything that would be something that children kind of sound like. He is really tuned in to children.

  3. Ol’ Roy Moore, isn’t he a “trip”? He has filed a lawsuit alleging voter fraud, because he lost the election. This also causes the Democrat who won, beating him out, to not be allowed to be sworn in, and vote on upcoming legislation, until this matter is resolved, is what I understand. Should we have expected anything different from ol’ Roy Moore? Sounds like a sore loser, a case of sour grapes….Look, when you choose to ride to the polls, to cast your vote for yourself on horseback, wearing a cowboy hat, maybe just maybe, there were some voters who thought he was a little too “wild west” to get their votes, among other things, we had heard about him in the news….and I happen to like horses, just not him!

  4. Mayor Kilsheimer sure is getting a lot of Orlando Sentinel front page news coverage here of lately. All the time, as they are giving him coverage about his opinions of things regarding our city, CRAs, how the Florida legislators are pushing for bills, he doesn’t like, alcohol subject, medical marijuana subject of dispensaries, and you name it…..they sure are giving him the “big head” so to speak! Enough already!

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