As the qualifying period for Marathon’s City Council wound down to the final minutes this past Tuesday former Marathon Mayor tossed his hat into the ring for the sixth time.
“I love Marathon,” Bartus says. “We live on a tropical island that is a wonderful small town and we need to protect and preserve that for our residents.”
He joins a field of five other candidates vying for two available seats on the Marathon City Council. The at-large election will take place November 3.
Incumbents Mike Cinque and Don Vasil will be challenged by perennial candidate “Bicycle Joannie” Nelson, Bartus, and newcomers Kevin Kenney and Richard Keating.
“I really think there’s need to be more transparency in the local government,” local flats guide Kevin Keating told The Weekly. “There also needs to be more accountability for the decisions being made. Our small businesses are really starting to suffer.” Keating says his decision to enter local politics was made because he was, “tired of standing on the sidelines.”
He also said since he answers to no one in town and does not have a personal agenda, he’s anxious for his first venture into public service. He and his wife, Laural, have two sons, Glen, 24,
and Richey, 14.
Seeking re-election is current Marathon Vice Mayor, Don Vasil, who ran on a platform of fiscal responsibility during his last campaign. He is a former corporate executive and small business owner and relocated to Marathon nearly ten years ago with his wife, Ginny. He recently came out of retirement and launched his own building and maintenance business.
“My main focus as always,” said Vasil. “Will be city spending and right now, due to national economic conditions, making sure that city government does everything possible to make sure that our private sector remains financially healthy.”
One of Vasil’s main visions is Marathon as a thriving harbor community and has championed for marina expansion and plans on continuing with his cause if re-elected. “I would like to see my vision for the marina continued and support ideas from the Economic Development group that I spearheaded.”
Also asking the voters for another two years on the dais is Marathon Mayor Mike Cinque, a major force behind Marathon’s incorporation.
“I just want to continue to work with my fellow citizens,” Cinque said. “I have had the pleasure of working with my neighbors in the Florida Keys for nearly 40 years and Marathon is moving in the right direction. Sewers are on schedule, the boat ramps are looking good. I also understand the challenges of paying for all the municipal projects. And we have the most cost effective and efficient services and government in Monroe County, probably in South Florida.”
While issues like a Grassy Key Fire Station and the beautification of Overseas Highway remain popular topics, Cinque says that during these economic times, basic services and safety must take top priority.
Bartus, who a professional musician and small businessman who currently serves on the Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, said, “I want to work with the business community and bring back resident participation. I also think the people of Marathon deserve a councilman whose only interest is them.”
In 2005, Bartus led the fight to assume control of the wastewater from the FKAA and looks forward to seeing the project’s completion. “After sewers and stormwater are complete, we need to explore a new relationship with the state and pursue a new growth management plan to address the restrictions that are currently in place.”
Tireless campaigner Joan “Bicycle Joannie” Nelson is also back in. A champion of “the Little People,” Nelson is a 30+-year Marathon resident and has been a literature professor, waitress and professional food tester.
Kevin Keeney was unavailable for comment.
Flats guide Richard Keating is entering his first race for public office.