With Chris Sante opting not to pursue another term on the Village of Islamorada dais, two residents from different walks of life will be vying for his seat.
Ken Davis, who spent four years in Iraq as a military intelligence contractor, is a seven-year Islamorada resident. Davis campaigned as the Republican candidate for Monroe County Sheriff in 2008, losing in the general election.
He said he has only missed a couple of Village Council meetings since filing to run in January.
“You learn so much about what they are going through,” he said, commenting on the village’s top administrators. “You really appreciate the job they are doing.”
Eric Carlson, who moved to Islamorada nine years ago, said he is running to give a voice to the “employed resident” or those who are living and working full time in Islamorada. This is his first campaign for public office.
“It can be challenging to live down here,” said Carlson. “There are some struggles. I know what it is to stretch your paycheck and find a comfortable life down here.”
Carlson is the resort manager for the Islander Resort and owns a residence in Executive Bay. He has a dual degree in business management and accounting and said his top priorities are protecting the environment and affordable housing.
Carlson said he wants to “be an advocate for the people who need a stable rental market and need to procure affordable housing. I don’t have a great deal of money to look after, or businesses to protect. I am here to look after and work for the Village.”
Davis also listed affordable housing as a top priority along with hurricane recovery and re-entry and maximizing the use of Founders Park.
“The park is under-utilized,” Davis said. “And we have to work with the county to work on re-entry. That is an issue of safety. People could have been back in the next day to protect their property.”
Davis’s education includes a degree in criminal justice and he said he is six hours away from a graduate degree in public administration. He lives in Venetian Shores with his wife, Cheryl.
Bacheler files for Seat 2
Islamorada photographer and businessman Pete Bacheler filed on Aug. 6 to run for the Village of Islamorada, Seat 2. He will face incumbent Cheryl Meads and former councilman David Purdo.
“I am very excited about my work with the LPA (Land Planning Agency) and I am looking forward to more community service,” Bacheler told the Weekly.
Bacheler moved to Islamorada more than 32 years ago and has extensive experience in permitting and land use regulations. He was appointed to the LPA four years ago and is the board’s current chairman.
With his father in the Navy, Bacheler grew up all over the world and spent four and a half years on a nuclear sub before finally settling in South Florida, where he earned associate degrees from Miami Dade Community College and the Florida Keys Community College.
His three most pressing issues include better communication between the council and village staff, a more streamlined permit application process and he would like to see “a change in the variance application process.”