Monroe County District 1 Commissioner Danny Kolhage will resign his seat effective Nov. 30.
“I regret to say that other personal commitments make it impossible for me to fulfill the duties of County Commissioner in a manner the people of the county deserve,” Kolhage said in his resignation letter to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
Kohlage’s term was set to end in 2020. Even before he announced he would be resigning early, two experienced politicians had declared a bid for his seat — former Key West Mayor Craig Cates and current Tax Collector “Dee Dee” Henriquez. Cates has raised $32,400 in campaign contributions and Henriquez has $5,150.
According to Monroe County Supervisor of Elections Joyce Griffin, it’s up to DeSantis to appoint someone to fill Kohlage’s term. The state statute does not define a time frame for the new appointment.
Kolhage added that it had been his “honor and privilege” to serve Monroe County for the last four and a half decades. Before joining the BOCC, Kolhage served as the Monroe County Clerk of the Circuit Court.
County commissioners serve four-year terms, and Kolhage is in the third year of his second term. He also serves as mayor pro tem.
Of Kolhage’s resignation, Mayor Sylvia Murphy said, “After all the years he’s worked for the county, he deserves a break, but I truly hate to see him go. He will leave such a huge hole.” She added, “I’m sure it will be filled by the governor well, but Danny will certainly be missed.”
According to Florida law, after DeSantis accepts Kolhage’s resignation, he will appoint someone to fulfill the remaining portion of the term. On this point, Monroe County Administrator Roman Gastesi added, “Looking into the future, we will have a new face on the commission. I look forward to seeing who the governor will appoint to fulfill the position.”
Kolhage’s district includes parts of Key West, Stock Island and Key Haven.
In 2020, voters also will determine the commissioners for Districts 3 and 5. Currently, Heather Carruthers is running unopposed for District 3. Mike Forster, a village councilman in Islamorada, has put his hat in the ring for the District 5 seat, currently held by Sylvia Murphy. She has said she would run again, but has yet to file. Forster has raised $20,000 to fund his campaign.