Library Hosts Two Debates

Candidates for Mayor, Commission Meet Separately

Separate debates between mayoral candidates and candidates for city commission revealed a stark contrast in the tenor and the conduct of the two races.

Mayors Debate First

The first debate, between mayoral candidates Cynthia Mackinnon and Steve Leary on February 19, was moderated by former Channel 6 anchor Lauren Rowe before a standing-room-only crowd. Rowe, herself charismatic and edgy, posed questions that emphasized the differences between the two candidates. Either candidate who failed to answer a question to her satisfaction was given very little leeway. The tone of the debate was contentious, and each candidate’s difference with the other was palpable.

At the request of the Library, both debates were taped by the Winter Park Voice.

Click here to see video of the debate between the mayoral candidates.

Commissioners Meet the Following Week

The second debate, between commission candidates Greg Seidel and Gary Brewer, was downright friendly by comparison. Moderated by Ann Helmuth of the Orange County League of Women Voters, this debate was as much a discussion as it was a debate. While some remarks were in the form of rebuttals, just as often, one candidate simply expanded on the remarks of the previous speaker. Each was quick to acknowledge the strengths of the other. Held before a much smaller audience, the tone of this debate was almost relaxed.

To view the commission candidates’ debate, click here .


Special Election 2015 Section in The Voice

To see full candidate profiles, interviews, filings, positions on various issues and other stories as they are published, click on the “Election 2015” button >  

Campaign Treasurer’s Reports can be found on the City of Winter Park website at

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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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