October 9, 2017
Bill Sublette touted past accomplishments and laid out his vision for the future as he formally kicked off his campaign for Orange County mayor Monday.
Sublette, the Orange County School Board Chair and a former Republican state House member, joins a nonpartisan race in 2018 that also features Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings, a Democrat, and Republican nonprofit consultant Rob Panepinto.
In his remarks at the First Green Bank building in downtown Orlando, Sublette said the county needs a mayor who follows in the footsteps of Teresa Jacobs, who is term-limited after being elected twice.
“For eight years we’ve had open, transparent government,” Sublette said. “We also need a mayor who has a proven track record of fighting for consumers, fighting for the common person in our community and fighting for open government and who is willing to fight for what is right.”
Sublette cited his work in the legislature in the 1990s, including taking on the now-banned practice of auto-title lending that imposed interest rates of as high as 265 percent. He also cited his last seven years as head of the county’s school system, the 10th largest in the country, including the opening of 49 new schools and improvements in graduation rates.
The top of his agenda for his campaign, meanwhile, cut right at his most well-known opponent in the sheriff’s office.
“First and foremost, I think we need a continued emphasis on crime,” Sublette said. “We are the premier tourist destination in the country, if not the world, yet crime is still a driving concern of those in our neighborhoods and those in our tourist corridor and I hear it time and time again.”
He also called for managing growth by making sure infrastructure is in place before development is allowed, preventing the worst effects of the “new normal” of frequent hurricanes by burying power lines and improving drainage and “attacking the causes of poverty” by increasing access to jobs through counseling and placement programs.
Another way of fighting poverty, he said, would be to improve public transportation in the county, which he said could be done by guaranteeing a dedicated funding source for the Lynx bus system.
“At the end of the day, the transit option our citizens need is a better, [more] efficient bus network,” Sublette said following his speech. “And that’s going to take money. … We’re an increasingly urbanized county, and we’ve got to have a 21st-century bus network.”
He also called for “complete transparency” when it comes to the Visit Orlando tourism agency, which has come under fire for not disclosing the details of contracts made using hotel tax funds. He stressed that he was still committed to using those funds for marketing.
“I don’t think it’s either/or,” he said. “I think you can have transparency and open government while still being committed to marketing Central Florida.
Read the article online here.