Marathon Mayor Michelle Coldiron filed papers Monday to seek a seat on the Monroe County Commission. She will campaign for the District 2 seat currently held by George Neugent, who is retiring after 20 years of public service.
“The first thing I want to do is reassure all of Marathon that I will continue to serve our city’s needs and interests as I campaign for the county seat,” she said. “I think this is an opportunity to serve a broader section of the community in the Keys.”
Coldiron said she wants to continue to focus on the Keys as a place where families can raise their children while also balancing the needs of the environment and tourism.
“I believe Marathon is the heart of the Keys, but I also believe that the other parts of the Keys need to be just as strong,” she said.
On Monday, Neugent endorsed Coldiron’s candidacy.
“I don’t think that I know of anyone, and I’ve served with at least 14 different commissioners, who have prepared themselves as Michelle has to move into this position,” Neugent said. “She understands the role of an elected official in a legislative position. She brings integrity and public service to the table and she has the energy and vibrancy to do a great job.”
Coldiron is married to Greg Coldiron and has one adult daughter, Mallory, who also lives in Monroe County.
In August, Coldiron bought a home on the other side of Overseas Highway in Marathon to meet the districting requirements for eligibility. She was elected to the Marathon City Council in 2016. She plans to fulfill her three-year term and, if elected to the Monroe County Commission, assume that seat one week later.
While he intends to step down from public service, Neugent said he has no desire to retire.
“Retirement is the devil’s workshop,” he laughed. “I don’t need a job but I want a job.”
He said he has been approached by some businesses and nonprofits, possibly to be a consultant. “I’m going to keep my options open, but I certainly want to continue to help unincorporated Monroe County and the municipalities continue their recovery from Hurricane Irma.”
Three other candidates have also filed for the seat with the Monroe County Elections Supervisor: John Baker (no party affiliation), Lenore A. Baker (D) and Charles Weitzel (R). According to her Facebook page, on Jan. 3 Lenore Baker withdrew from the race. For more information about those candidates and the other races, pick up a copy of the Keys Weekly on Thursday.