After a year of retirement, former Mayor Dick Ramsay, 74, has announced his candidacy for Marathon City Council. He was previously elected in 2008 (17.9 percent of the vote), 2010 (26 percent of the vote) and 2012 (27 percent of the vote).
“In the last couple of months, I’ve been overwhelmed with public support asking me to run for Marathon City Council,” he said in a prepared statement. “I’m hearing from residents, our friends and neighbors, that they need someone who will listen to them and someone who will work towards real solutions.”
Marathon’s city charter requires elected officials to wait one year after reaching the six-year term limit. Marathon Councilman Mark Senmartin is up for re-election and Richard Keating has reached the limit of his term.
Ramsay will face off against Michelle Coldiron, Nick Antonelli, Trish Hintze and Senmartin. So far, Coldiron has $2,100 in campaign contributions and Antonelli has $100.
Ramsay has lived in the Keys for 40 years and owned a business. He is married to Thea and his children are all grown and living in the Keys. Ramsay’s son, Rick Ramsay, is the elected Monroe County Sheriff.
He is also an avid pilot and helping to create the Port of Entry at the Marathon airport.
“That’s due to open on Sept. 1. It took many years to bring about. The next step will be to secure commercial service,” Ramsay said. “If I’m re-elected I’m positive that we can make that happen.”
Ramsay said he’s also keeping tabs on the city’s wastewater utility and affordable and workforce housing. Because of his previous council experience, he said he’s well acquainted with the wastewater issue.
“We need to control the amount of saltwater intrusion and the efficiency of the effluent delivery to the plant,” he said. “It’s important because it affects not only future development, but planned present development.”
Ramsay said he will continue to work on securing more permits for affordable and workforce housing. The workforce housing numbers, he said, can be increased by getting the state to agree to “fractional” permits, or workforce employees who would evacuate early when a storm threatens. He said he’s confident the state and other municipalities in the Keys, as well as the county, can solve the dearth of affordable housing permits by retiring buildable lots in order to secure more of that type of building right. The number of new building permits issued to the Keys depends on hurricane evacuation models. The Keys are less than 20 years away from “build out,” which means the various governments could be liable in a court of law for denying property development and adversely affecting property values.
Ramsay said his motto is: “You talk, I’ll listen.”