Former Oldsmar mayor and council member Jerry Beverland narrowly defeated challenger Becky Afonso in the race for City Council Seat 4 on Tuesday, returning to office one year after his retirement.
Former Oldsmar mayor and city council member Jerry Beverland will return to office after winning the race for Linda Norris’ Seat 4 against Becky Afonso on Tuesday.
A year ago, Oldsmar political icon Jerry Beverland said goodbye to public office following a 25-year career that spanned four decades, ostensibly to retire to a quiet life with his longtime wife, Wanda, and write more history books about his beloved city.
But on Election Day 2016, Beverland found himself back in the place he has spent countless hours during a career that began in the 1970s – a member of the Oldsmar City Council.
Spurred to get back into office by a couple of issues he felt were important to the future of the city, Beverland decided to enter the race for Linda Norris’ Seat 4 late last summer, and, when the votes were all counted on Super Tuesday, he found himself on the winning end of the results, defeating challenger Becky Afonso by 458 votes, 1,867 to 1,409.
“First of all, I want to thank everyone who voted, either for me or for Becky,” Beverland told Oldsmar Connect by phone shorty after the results became official. “I really do this to serve the people, and I am humbled they put me back in office.”
Jerry Beverland speaks at a book signing event in Oldsmar last October.
“This was one of the biggest turnouts we’ve ever had, and I was surprised and very pleased. That’s what this process is all about—people coming out to vote.”
Beverland, who announced his intention to return to office during a book signing ceremony last October, said that after retiring last February, he found he just couldn’t sit on the sidelines and watch some of the decisions that were being made in his community.
“I love serving the residents of Oldsmar, because they’re what make this city so great,” he said.
“When I realized the council was thinking about naming a new assistant city manager, and they might be picking a new city manager next year, I knew I needed to come back. That’s why I ran.”
Beverland also said at the book signing that the off again—on again downtown development project was another reason he wanted to run again.
“I was done, but those two (Market Square) meetings brought me back,” he said at the time.
Afonso, a political neophyte who has displayed nothing but class while showing respect for her opponent throughout the election process, was predictably gracious in defeat.
“This is a great city to live in,” Afonso said soon after calling Beverland to congratulate him. “I’ve enjoyed contributing to it any way I can and I will continue to contribute any way I can.”
After saying she was pleased with finishing within 500 votes of the legendary Oldsmar lawmaker, and vowing to run again, Afonso repeated what had become her mantra throughout election season.
“I want to say congrats to Jerry and the City of Oldsmar, because as I’ve said all along, no matter who won, the city doesn’t lose,” she said.
Meanwhile, with his latest swearing-in ceremony just one week away, Beverland wasted no time sending warnings about making his presence felt as soon as he’s back in the Council Chambers.
“It’s gonna be an exciting first meeting, because I’m gonna drop a bombshell,” he said, presumably with a glimmer in his eyes.
“I’m gonna come in with a bang.”