Campaign website: www.VoteMichelleMcGovern.com
List, in order of importance, the three most important issues in your community and briefly explain what you would do about each.
Making Housing More Affordable: Palm Beach County, along with the rest of the country, is facing a housing crisis. We need affordable housing not only for less affluent residents, but also for the influx of new residents moving to Palm Beach County due to the economic opportunities here. Housing must be a priority for our next commission to actively address and engage. Through incentives, public-private partnerships, and working with community partners, we can tackle this problem on multiple fronts.
Prioritize safety in our community: Public safety is always a priority. Safety means making sure that law enforcement needs are met and that our sheriff has the tools to succeed. The same goes for our firefighters and other first responders. We also need to ensure that our roads, bridges and infrastructure are maintained and keep pace with a growing county. Monitoring penny sales tax funds that fund infrastructure improvements is essential. Additionally, ensuring adequate water quality and quantity will be a necessity as our population and demand grows.
Make Palm Beach County a great place to do business and raise a family: our quality of life, low taxes and strong business climate attract many who choose to live here. Additionally, county water policy and addressing transportation issues will be paramount to keeping our county an attractive place to live.
Do you support or oppose declaring a state of emergency for housing affordability in your county with a cap on rent increases of 10% per year, and why?
I am open to discussing the declaration of a state of emergency, but there must be clear parameters and a timetable in place. Additionally, we would need to consider the legal parameters of what is allowed. As far as rent caps are concerned, I am not in favor of a blanket or one-size-fits-all approach. Palm Beach County is incredibly diverse and we need a multi-faceted approach to solving our county’s housing crisis. A solution that works in one part of the county may not work in another.
Do you support the proposed land swap to allow GL Homes to build nearly 1,300 homes in the agricultural reserve? Why or why not?
I fear that the current proposal goes against a permanent precedent in the GA reserve; however, the potential water and environmental benefits proposed in the plan deserve particular attention. More specific details are needed to fully assess the proposal. I intend to take the time to fully understand all aspects of the proposal if it is resubmitted. This consideration will include meetings with local community groups in the Acreage, Loxahatchee Groves and Agricultural Preserve, as well as water policy experts.
Do you support the $200 million affordable housing referendum, and why or why not?
Yes. Housing is a key priority for our county and mandating housing on the ballot can provide the support needed to help move forward projects that would benefit our community. As with any proposal involving taxpayers’ money, transparency, accountability and oversight are important. I would like to make sure that we act quickly to launch the projects so that we can provide assistance to residents who need it.
How would you rate the overall performance of County Administrator Verdenia Baker?
Palm Beach County Administrator Verdenia Baker is doing a good job. Our department is always praised for the quality and professionalism of its staff. The way we responded to the pandemic and continue to deliver a high level of service with effective financial management is testament to his leadership.
Are the county’s lobbyist registration and disclosure requirements sufficient, or would you favor changes, and what would they be?
I think our current process is working acceptably, but I’m always open to more transparency and accountability. We should consider additional public disclosures at meetings or more frequent updates to the lobbyist registration list.
What distinguishes you most from your opponent(s) and why?
The main difference between my opponent and me is that I have decades of work experience in the private and public sectors. I am also the only candidate supported by nearly every major local organization and elected official in the district who will be ready to go on day one.
List in reverse chronological order colleges or universities attended with years attended and degrees.
Florida Atlantic University
Bachelor of General Studies, College of Education
• Regent Student | 1998 – 1999 | State University System of Florida, selected by Governor Lawton Chiles to serve as a student member of the Florida State University System Board of Trustees.
• Student Body Vice President | 1997 – 1998 | Florida Atlantic University
• Member & President | 1995 – 1999 | Florida Student Association Chairman of the Council of Student Body Vice Presidents
List in reverse chronological order your work history over the past 15 years.
Baptist Health South Florida ∙ Corporate Director Government and Community Relations May 2019 to present
The Palm Beach County Executive focused on building, guiding, and promoting positive relationships between Baptist Health South Florida and the community at large, including the corporate sector, professional and civic organizations, educational institutions and government officials.
US Senator Bill Nelson | January 2001 – December 2018 ∙ State Director December 2013 – December 2018
Statewide coordinator of Senator Nelson’s outreach efforts, managing a team of 18 regional directors and assistants in 7 regional offices who represent the Senator’s interests. Appointed political representative and served as a liaison between the senator and elected officials, key political allies and state advocacy organizations. Member of the Senator’s Advisory Team on Federal Judicial Appointments.
Regional Director September 2001 – December 2013
Headed the US Senate office in West Palm Beach and served as the Senator’s community liaison in seven counties on the Treasure Coast. A wide range of duties and responsibilities ranged from speaking on behalf of the senator to assisting local governments and other local entities in identifying and obtaining federal resources.
Legislative Correspondent January 2001 – September 2001
Senator’s correspondent on environment and energy policy, education and women’s issues. Appointed Lead LC for our office and served as chief legislative assistant on higher education issues.
Have you ever been a party to any legal action, including bankruptcy or foreclosure? If so, please provide details of the case and the decision.
Have you ever been charged with or found guilty of a felony or misdemeanor, including a conviction withheld? If yes, list charges, dates and sentences.
Why should voters elect you over your opponents?
I am a mother on a mission who will be the first elected Latina County Commissioner in Palm Beach County. I have experience in the public and private sector. For much of my life I have worked in public service doing whatever I could to make a difference to our community. As U.S. Senator Bill Nelson’s State Director, I worked with local organizations, elected officials, and community and political leaders to find solutions to a wide range of issues. I understand how to build coalitions and bring people together. My experiences allowed me to work across the aisle to find the best solutions. I know how to be an effective representative and leader. My political strengths include water, agriculture, education and health policy.
I have devoted my free time to volunteer work serving on numerous boards and organizations, each of which improves Palm Beach County in its own way. First, my work in creating The West Palm 100, which is dedicated to connecting young professionals to volunteer opportunities in underserved areas of the community. Then I worked with other Professional Democrats to form the Council of Professional Democrats, which grew to 5 chapters statewide. Then I was part of the women’s group that started the Women’s Foundation of Palm Beach County. Recently, I co-chaired the Mayor’s Ball and am currently a board member of the Homeless Coalition of Palm Beach County. Additionally, I chair the Palm Beach County Commission on Women, serve on the Palm Beach County BDB Board of Directors, and am an active member of several Palm Beach County Chambers of Commerce. Finally, I am a former president and board member of the Forum Club; founder, founder and first president of the West Palm 100 and past president of SunFest.