The qualifying period for Oldsmar’s 2018 municipal election begins on Tuesday, October 17, as a pair of City Council seats will be up for grabs on March 13.
And while potential candidates have until Friday, November 17 at 5:00 p.m. to qualify to run for Seat 1 or Seat 3, incumbents Gabby McGee and Eric Seidel have already declared their intention to seek reelection next year.
Seidel, who previously served on the council from 2007-2009 and was elected to Seat 1 in 2015, officially announced his intention to seek a second consecutive term during a party at a local restaurant last week; afterwards, he shared his thoughts on his decision via email.
“As corny as it might sound, I’m running for re-election because I love our city,” Seidel responded when asked why he was running again.
Oldsmar City Council member Eric Seidel will seek a second consecutive term on Seat 1 in March 2018. (Credit: Eric Seidel/S&H Photos)
“Oldsmar is more than a City or Town, it’s a community. I like contributing to help it grow, but also for it not to lose that special feel.”
The founder of an Oldsmar company that provides collision estimating software for independent auto body shops, Seidel, 54, is known for his analytical, no-nonsense approach to important issues affecting the City as well as being willing to lend a helping hand in the community when needed.
When asked what he hoped to accomplish should he be reelected, Seidel said, “I remain committed to existing Council priorities. I think part of the reason we have made so much progress over the years is our councils don’t go in a mile different direction every elections cycle.
“Having said that, I am going to work with the rest of the council to try and move our down town project further along. I think it will help our city to have a down town our citizens can frequent without having to travel to Dunedin or Safety Harbor, etc.”
McGee, a manager at Cisco Systems known for her love of travel and willingness to tackle her fears head-on, also cited her love of the community as a reason behind her decision to seek a second full term.
Gabby McGee at an Oldsmar City Council meeting in December 2016.
“I ran for Oldsmar City Council because I love being a part of this community and I knew that I could be an asset to the existing city leadership,” she said, also via email.
“I love working with our outstanding city staff and I love the dynamic we have on our Council. I don’t know of many other communities that not only have the experience, the compassion but also the friendship and respect among their council that we are fortunate to have here.”
McGee was first elected to Seat 3 in 2013 to fill out the remaining two years of then Council member and current Mayor Doug Bevis’ term, and the 30-year-old was reelected in 2015.
She said despite being the youngest council member ever elected in Oldsmar, she never believed her age or lack of experience would be a disadvantage.
“When I was 26 years old I felt inspired to run and I don’t often see many people my age, or with my career obligations, also serving in local public service,” she wrote. “I think that speaks to the community and culture here, the progressive mindset of the leadership within City Hall and the warmth in general that Oldsmar citizens have that encouraged me to step up and run.”
She then illustrated one reason why she believes Oldsmar is such a special place to live.
“Every morning, I get up to collect the newspaper from the driveway, and every morning, it is sitting on my front steps, (put there) by a neighboring resident and the husband of a late Council member and dear friend of mine,” McGee wrote. “That is the type of community I want to belong to, where people care about each other, people help each other in times of need.”
“We are so fortunate to be a part of this community and continue to watch it grow – and I of course want to continue to be a part of leading us in the direction of smart growth.”
The Oldsmar City Council bid farewell to retiring City Manager Bruce Haddock on Sept. 19, 2017. (L-R, Jerry Beverland, Doug Bevis, Gabby McGee, Bruce and Retha Haddock, Eric Seidel and Dan Saracki.)
Following Oldsmar’s most recent election in March 2016, Jerry Beverland and Dan Saracki captured open council seats, while Mayor Bevis was automatically selected to serve a second term when he ran unopposed.
The qualifying period for the March 2018 municipal election begins on Tuesday, Oct. 17 at 8:00 a.m. and ends on Friday, November 17 at 5:00 p.m.
According to the City’s website, candidate information packets are available through the City Clerk’s office at Oldsmar City Hall, located at 100 State Street West. The office is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. through 5:00 p.m.
Candidates are urged to contact Oldsmar City Clerk Ann Nixon directly to set an appointment for candidate orientation and to receive the proper packet for the 2018 election.
Nixon can be reached by phone at 813-749-1115 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.