He was drawn into politics when Islamorada was going to be incorporated. The population was split on the idea, and Chris Sante was originally against it due to the way it was presented. However, when the village bought a valuable piece of property in Yacht Harbor, he changed his mind.
Sante, who served the village for the last 10 years, is beginning to work on some projects of his own, and he’s also hoping to take some needed vacation time. The Weekly recently spoke with Sante about his time in village government and his plans now that he’s on to a new adventure.
Was there a moment that led you to decide not to seek another term? No, after 10 years my wife and I want to start traveling and taking some time off but I felt my duties as Mayor would inhibit that.
Was the decision in not seeking another term at all difficult? Yes, I am done serving now, but I wish I would have started earlier in life as I did enjoy serving.
How would you describe your last 10 years in office? I felt I made a difference in the village and was proud to serve. I feel my knowledge of business helped many times. The last meeting saved $50,000 in fees.
How has Islamorada progressed in the last decade? It was a rocky road at first, lots of issues with sewer, managers and general problems of a new city, but my last 2 years have been great, we are moving forward with great projects and staff. This is clear by the way the village handled the hurricane.
What challenges still remain? Budget issues to fund these challenges, work force housing, the pending state mandated rate of growth that says we run out of permits in 2023, storm water and the demand for better service.
What’s in store for you once your time as a councilman is over? I plan to actively seek more land to build WFH as well as my own projects and of course spending some time on vacation.
Who’s been your biggest support throughout your time? My wife, No one can do this job without the support of their spouse. I also have lots of great residents that have known me a long time and supported me.
Is there a project or type of action that council took that you look back on fondly? Sending the sewer to Key Largo because of the money we saved.
What’s one thing people don’t know about you? Sante is not my real name, it is Sfreddo, it was changed when my grandfather came to Ellis Island.
What are some hobbies of yours that you’re looking to do more of? My hobby has been work for so long I am looking forward to new ones. Would like to start spear fishing again. Also spend more time riding my motorcycle.
When did you come to the Keys? My dad was a lobster fisherman and I worked here until I was 12. We lived in Miami and I lived there until January 1983 when I came back to work in the mortgage business.
What did you think you were going to be when you grew up? I had so many jobs I lost count looking for the right one. I had lots of jobs I never want to do. I never had an idea but I knew I had to find something I liked if I was going to do it for the next 20 or 30 years.
Who was your role model at a young age? My mom, single mom with five kids, worked all the time but I thought it was normal. I think I got my work ethnic from her. She had a hard life but it never stopped her.
If you go anywhere in the world, where would that be? Bora Bora, Tahiti or Madagascar and of course space.
What’s one food you love to eat on Thanksgiving? Turkey but it puts me to sleep so I opt for ham.
What’s your favorite movie? Long goodnight kiss, Action.
Do you have a life motto? Everything comes to he who waits, as long as you work like hell while you wait.
If you could meet anyone in the world, who would that be? Bill Gates because of his philanthropic work
Do you have any words of wisdom for council moving forward? Keep an open mind. Some of the problems that past council had was the fact that some council members could not change their mind regardless of the facts.
Do you think you’ll ever consider running for office in the future? NO, time for new people to carry on.