Jim Fitch to Run for Mayor

Will Leary Run for Re-Election?

No matter that the earliest date you can officially declare a run for office is more than a month off, Jim Fitch has announced he’s throwing his hat into the ring. Mr. Fitch will challenge incumbent Steve Leary in the 2018 mayoral election.

The Incumbent

Communications Director Clarissa Howard could neither confirm nor deny that Mayor Steve Leary will seek a second mayoral term, but sources confirm that Leary has picked up the documents he needs from the City to begin forming a campaign organization for a run in 2018.

First elected to the City Commission in 2011, Leary resigned his Commission seat in late 2014 to complete his successful 2015 run for mayor. Leary has been an active and visible mayor, and he has represented Winter Park in various regional organizations such as MetroPlan Orlando and the Florida League of Mayors. Leary has been a leader in the effort to build a library-event center in Martin Luther King, Jr. Park.

The Challenger

Jim Fitch, a Louisiana native, did his undergraduate work in mechanical engineering at LSU and later received an MBA in finance and real estate from Stanford University.

After a career in industry and real estate, Fitch moved to Haines City, FL in 2011, where he began a second career in public service. He served as a member of the Haines City Planning & Zoning Board, held a seat on the Board of Adjustments and chaired the Finance Advisory Board. Fitch and his wife Doriana moved to Winter Park in 2016.

Fitch says that he and his wife were drawn by the ‘city of homes’ character of Winter Park. His plans for the city, if he is elected, include formation of a Finance Advisory Board and an Architectural Review Board. He says he plans to adhere closely to the Comprehensive Plan adopted by the City in 2016.

“The people of this city devoted an enormous amount of time and effort to developing a Comprehensive Plan for how the city will look and how the city will grow,” said Fitch, “and I want to see Winter Park’s commitment to those ideals upheld.”

The Election – March 13, 2018

In Winter Park, the only 2018 election will be for mayor. The four Commissioners have either one or two years remaining in their terms. The candidate qualifying period begins at Noon on Tuesday, January 16, 2018 and ends Noon Tuesday, January 23, 2018. Election day is March 13, 2018. If a run-off election is necessary, it will be held April 10, 2018.

Three Ways to Vote

You can vote by mail, vote early or go to the polls on election day. The Orange County Supervisor of Elections website is http://ocfelections.com/votersguide.aspx#ways

To Request a Vote-by-Mail Ballot

1. Call 407-836-2070.
2. Request online.
3. Request fax or mail. Send your name, residential address, mailing address, date of birth, signature, and election(s) for which you are requesting a ballot to (407) 254-6598 or P.O. Box 562001, Orlando, FL 32856-2001.

For more municipal election information, contact the City Clerk’s office at 407-599-3277 or email cityclerk@cityofwinterpark.org.

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    By: Anne Mooney

    Anne Mooney has assumed the editorship of the Winter Park Voice from founding editor Tom Childers.

    Mooney got her start in New York as a freelance line editor for book publishers, among them Simon & Schuster and the Clarkson Potter division of Crown Books. From New York, she and her husband and their year-old toddler moved to Washington, D.C., where the two ran a newswire service for Harper’s magazine. “We called it Network News,” said Mooney, “because it was a network of the Harper’s writers, whose work we edited into newspaper style and format and sold to papers in the top U.S. and Canadian markets. We were sort of like a tiny UPI.”

    The newswire ceased operation with the death of Mooney’s first husband, but Mooney continued to write and edit, doing freelance work for Williams Sonoma cookbooks and for local publications in D.C.

    In 2005, Mooney moved to Winter Park, where she worked as a personal chef and wrote a regular food column for a south Florida magazine. She took an active interest in Winter Park politics and was there when the Winter Park Voice was founded. She wrote occasional pieces for the Voice, including the Childers bio that this piece replaces.

    The Winter Park Voice is one of a large number of “hyper-local” publications that have sprung up across the U.S. in response to the decline of the major daily newspapers and the resulting deficit of local news coverage. The Voice’sbeat is Winter Park City Hall, and its purpose is to help the residents of our city better understand the political forces that shape our daily lives.

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