Orange Park’s Thomas to run for county commission

Mayor hopes to fill vacancy created by Diane Hutching’s departure

By Wesley LeBlanc Staff Writer
Posted 1/15/20

Orange Park – Town Mayor Connie Thomas announced she will run for the District 3 seat of the Board of County Commissioners.

Diane Hutchings, who has served on the Orange Park Town Council …

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Orange Park’s Thomas to run for county commission

Mayor hopes to fill vacancy created by Diane Hutching’s departure

Posted

Orange Park – Town Mayor Connie Thomas announced she will run for the District 3 seat of the Board of County Commissioners.

Diane Hutchings, who has served on the Orange Park Town Council before, is currently represents the District 3, but she is concluding her term. Thomas said she hopes to fill that vacancy.

“There is a great deal of work ahead and it would be a blessing to be able to truly serve our community in this expanded capacity,” Thomas said. “I am up for the task, but I can only do it if you are partnered on that journey.”

Thomas has been on the Orange Park Council since 2017 and her term ends this May. Despite announcing a bid to run for the BCC, Thomas assured residents she will finish her current term. Thomas can’t officially qualify for the commissioner race until after her she leaves town council.

Because of her intricate knowledge of the town she’s known for more than 50 years, Thomas feels she’s the perfect candidate.

“We need someone who knows the intricacies of our area and is willing to bring that voice to the county level,” Thomas said. “I think we all understood in a very real way the significance of this when we needed the [BCC] to grant permission for the ownership of our own rescue until this past year. Because we were able to work closely with our representative, commissioner Hutchings, we were able to navigate this issue to a positive outcome for our town.”

There are many issues ahead for Orange Park, according to Thomas, and she feels she can be a connection to the county for the town much like Hutchings was earlier this year when the town took over its emergency services.

Thomas said she wants to continue the environmental work on the town’s waterways and water systems. She also wants to partner with schools to resolve Title 1 issues.

“I want to hear from our local businesses through round table discussions to begin to devise ways to uplift them and create avenues for our town and district to become a destination rather than a traffic pass through,” Thomas said. “I also want to continue my regular town hall meetings with our town citizens and expand that to include our surrounding neighbors.”

Thomas said serving the town of Orange Park as a council member and subsequent mayor has been one of the greatest blessings of her life.

Thomas is up against Alexandria Hill, who is the only other person to have filed for this race. Hill has received $16,050 in contributions. Thomas has not yet received any contributions yet. Both candidates filed as Republican.

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