a woman wearing glasses and a green shirt

Monica Haskell, who has held positions in Keys government since the 1990s and co-founded the first charter school in Monroe County, filed paperwork on Jan. 26 to announce her candidacy for the Key West City Commission in District 1. 

Haskell is the first and only candidate who has announced a bid for the commission seat that’s been held for decades by Jimmy Weekley, according to the Monroe County Supervisor of Elections’ website on Jan. 31. Weekley is termed out. 

“I believe I can be an effective voice for the residents of District 1,” Haskell said, in a statement released by her son, Arlo Haskell, who co-founded the Key West Committee for Safer Cleaner Ships. “With my experience in planning, sustainability and the arts-and-culture sector, I will remain committed to the protection and improvement of the district’s many valuable public resources.”

Haskell, who has a master’s degree in business management, has served on the Monroe County Planning Commission, the Key West Sustainability Advisory Board, the Florida Keys Contractors Examining Board, the Key West Art in Public Places board, and the Truman Waterfront Park 

“Key West has given so much to me and my family,” Haskell said. “I’ve raised my children here, and now my grandchildren. It’s time for me once again to serve, and do everything I can to ensure that District 1 and the City of Key West remain a wonderful place to live, work, and play.”

She is the co-founder of Key West’s May Sands Montessori Charter School, the first charter school in the Keys.

Haskell is married to architect Bill Rowan and has owned Yoga Key West since 2007. The couple have seven children and 14 grandchildren between them.

The Key West city races are nonpartisan, and will be decided in the Aug. 20 primary – if a candidate receives more than 50% of the vote. If not, the top two candidates for the seat will head to a runoff election on Nov. 5, which is the date of the general election nationwide.

City commissioners are elected only by voters in their city districts, while the whole island chooses the mayor. The current list of candidates and races is on, where residents also can check their voter status and request vote-by-mail ballots. 

Two additional city commission seats, plus the mayor’s office, are on the ballot. In addition to Weekley, Commissioners Clayton Lopez and Billy Wardlow are termed out.

  • Danise “Dee Dee” Henriquez, the former Monroe County Tax Collector, has announced to run for mayor, wanting to succeed Mayor Teri Johnston, who decided not to seek another term. Henriquez has raised $19,800, according to the most recent campaign finance report. (Current Key West City Commissioner Sam Kaufman told the Keys Weekly on Jan. 29 that he intends to run for mayor as well, but he had not filed paperwork as of presstime.)
  • Donie Lee, the former Key West Police chief, is the sole candidate so far for the District 3 commission spot, which will be left vacant by Billy Wardlow.

Thaddeus Cohen, the former city planner, has announced a bid for the District 6 seat, which Commissioner Clayton Lopez is leaving open, having been termed out.

Gwen Filosa
Gwen Filosa is The Keys Weekly’s Digital Editor, and has covered Key West news, culture and assorted oddities since she moved to the island in 2011. She was previously a reporter for the Miami Herald and WLRN public radio. Before moving to the Keys, Gwen was in New Orleans for a decade, covering criminal courts for The Times-Picayune. In 2006, the paper’s staff won the Pulitzer Prizes for breaking news and the Public Service Medal for their coverage of the Hurricane Katrina disaster. She remains a devout Saints fan. She has a side hustle as a standup comedian, and has been a regular at Comedy Key West since 2017. She is also an acclaimed dogsitter, professional Bingo caller and a dedicated Wilco fan.