The candidates running for Putnam County Commission 5 are Walton Pellicer for the Democratic Party and Buddy Goddard for the Republican Party.
About the candidates
Buddy Goddard, an experienced business owner who attended Andrew Jackson Senior High in Jacksonville is experiencing his first political campaign this year. He currently lives in Palatka in the house his father-in-law built when his wife was born. Goddard was inspired to run for office because he wants to correct the direction in which the county is going.
“I’ve got 35 years of successful business experience, I have no problem listening to people,” he said. “I can make calm out of chaos, look what we have to do, make hard decisions and get it done.”
Walton Pellicer, a 53-year-old lifelong Putnam County resident, is hoping to be re-elected as county commissioner. Pellicer went to high school at Palatka High and currently holds a part-time job with Johnson-Overturf Funeral Homes. Pellicer was inspired to run for office again because he believes there are things in the county that he can make a difference and improve upon.
“There’s a really bright future for Putnam County and I want to be part of it, helping it grow and bringing it forward.”
Positions on biggest issue facing Putnam CountyPellicer believes the biggest issue facing Putnam County is bringing new businesses or relocated businesses to the county and increase growth within the county. Five years from now, Pellicer believes the biggest issue would be an expansion of the county’s power plant.
Goddard believe the biggest issue facing Putnam County is depletion of budget reserves.
“If we would have been hit by the storm (Hurricane Matthew) that just came by, we would have been bankrupt,” he said.
Goddard said he gets complaints from people who feel they are misrepresented or not being heard.
Plan on creating more jobs
“Business breathes business,” Pellicer said. Pellicer plans on creating more jobs in the county through networking with other county commissioners to see what works and what does not work.
“I travel through the state meeting commissioners from other counties, constantly talking with them seeing what works in their county and what doesn’t work, using them as a benchmark [to try] to save our county from making the same mistakes,” he said.
Goddard hopes to first strengthen the existing business. Once those businesses become strong, he knows others will string off it.
Pellicer believes the biggest environmental issue facing the county is taking care of the St. Johns River. It’s a vital resource, he said. It’s important to keep the water clean for all of north Florida, not just Putnam county.
Goddard believes the biggest environmental issue is infrastructure problems with the water lines. Putnam County’s water pipes need to be replaced and the sewer system is overdue for an update, Goddard said.
Leaky sewages and “impure” water are risks that face Putnam County.
“We need an entire new system in both water and in sewer and the biggest problem with that is ‘how are we going to pay for this?’” he said.
If re-elected, Pellicer hopes to work on the completion of the 4-lane highway connector. There are 12.9 miles that need to be completed, he said.
If elected, Goddard’s first priority would be to work on balancing the budget within the county.
Decriminalization of marijuana
Both candidates say that decriminalization of marijuana would bring trouble to Putnam County. However, they agree that if needed, it can and should be used for medical purposes.
“I certainly wouldn’t want to deprive someone of it if they have medical issues. If a doctor said that it was beneficial for them, I wouldn’t want to deprive them from that,” Pellicer said.
Pellicer believes that the minimum wage should go up, or the cost of living should go down.
“I think everybody should have the ability to make a decent wage and be able to have the ability to provide for their family,” he said.
However, Pellicer does not believe that the answer to poverty is changing the minimum wage.
“Our system above is the problem,” he said.