Among the many political races set for the Nov. 8 election is that of Bradford County’s tax collector. The current incumbent, Teresa Phillips, will be running against her former colleague Linda Lee for the position of tax collector. Neither opponent has a party affiliation.
Teresa Phillips, who has worked at the Tax Collector’s office for 37 years, spent the last four years as tax collector. She started in October 1979, her senior year of high school. Before becoming Tax Collector in 2012, Phillips was tax director and has worked under three different tax collectors.
Since her election, the Bradford office has started giving out birth certificates and issuing and renewing concealed weapons permits, Phillips said. When asked if there were any issues she would like to face if elected again, Phillips said doesn’t really feel there are a lot of issues in the office.
“We just try to provide the best customer service we can for the things that we do here in our office,” Phillips said.
Linda Lee, who worked as assistant tax collector from July 1988 to December 2012, said she feels efficiency is a problem within the office and is running for tax collector on a platform to extend office hours and provide full service at all workstations.
The main office and the Watson office are currently opened from Monday to Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., respectively. Lee said she would like to extend hours for the main office and the Watson office to 7:45 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., respectively.
“I also want to have the office opened for the last Saturday of every month.” Lee said.
Lee moved to Bradford County in 1984 with her family and immediately made a place for herself in the community by becoming involved with the local church and Relay for Life, she said.
Serving the community
Both candidates are active in Bradford County and have participated in many charity events in and around the community. On Oct. 1, both candidates participated in the Small Town “Pie”litics event hosted by Rowe Enterprises, Inc. As a way to raise money for the Shop With A Cop program, voters paid $1 to vote for their favorite Bradford candidate to receive a pie to the face.
“They’re a very good fundraising group, they do a lot for Relay for Life, Shop With A Cop, and other things,” Lee said. She won the contest.
Neither candidate has received endorsements from any organizations. Both said they feel they have a strong support system of friends and family. One thing Phillips said she’s not concerned about this season is voter turnout.
The polls open Nov. 8 at 7 a.m. and close at 7 p.m.
This story is part of our guide, Florida Votes 2016, leading up to the Nov. 8 election. Check your voter registration status here.