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Jackel challenges Jones for District 1 commissioner

David Adlerstein
The Apalach Times
The Apalach Times

The race for county commissioner for District 1 will be between two Republicans, but that doesn’t mean members of the GOP will be the only ones voting.

Because neither a Democrat, nor someone without party affiliation, filed in the race, the Aug. 18 primary will be open, meaning any and all voters within the district can cast ballots in this county commission race.

The district encompasses all of St. George Island and portions of Eastpoint, stretching from the river east to Otter Slide Road.

In District 1, incumbent commissioner Ricky Jones, 49, Eastpoint, will be squaring off against challenger Pinki Jackel, 62, of St. George Island.

Jackel formerly represented the district, prior to her appointment by Gov. Rick Scott to fill the remaining term of the late supervisor of elections Ida Elliott.

Neither candidate has posted fundraising totals for their campaigns.

Current registration totals show the district includes 952 Republicans, 777 Democrats, 248 who have no party affiliation and 37 who are registered with a minor party.

Those who are not yet registered have until Monday, July 20 to sign up to be eligible to vote in the Aug. 18 election. Early voting begins Monday, Aug. 3.

PINKI JACKEL

My name is Pinki Jackel and I am a candidate for County Commissioner District 1. My campaign theme is “Well done is better than well said.” I am a full-time resident of St. George Island and a native Floridian. I grew up in nearby Wacissa and graduated from Florida State University.

My memory of the Apalachicola Bay goes back to when I was seven years old, when my father would take me mullet fishing. Walter Armistead convinced my parents to purchase a home on the bay in 1980, and we have had a home here for over 40 years. I am thankful to have been able to enjoy the blessings of the Bay as a child and share them with my son and grandson. There is no other bay in the world like ours. I am committed to keeping our water as pristine as I remember it from my childhood so future generations will inherit a preserved bay.

Since I have lived here, I have experienced hurricanes, fires, floods, bay closures, an oil spill, and COVID-19. All of these events through the years have strengthened our resolve not only to survive, but to be good neighbors and give a helping hand. I have been blessed and inspired by the many acts of kindness – great and small – to those including myself that were in need. I count myself fortunate to live in a small community where kindness is the rule and not the exception.

As children we were raised to always serve others in some capacity. Growing up, it was helping my father grow a garden that fed many, and being one of the last to leave church with my mother. Serving others is a calling and a duty. The calling never rests for very long; it stirs the soul from a deep place of caring. The calling for me is to never stop trying to make things better for others and to challenge others to be their best.

We are living in unprecedented times. We need to protect our freedoms and protect each other. None of us believes this will be easy going forward. Our economy in Franklin County has been devastated overnight like so many others. We must preserve and recapture our jobs and our livelihoods while balancing with our environment. We can do this, but we must be smart in selecting our leadership. Local government should be proactive, not reactive. Small businesses in Eastpoint and St. George Island will not survive the current lack of leadership. Leaders weigh the facts, chart a course, and make decisions that help businesses keep their doors open.

I was honored to serve as your county commissioner for seven years and honored to be asked by the governor to serve. My focus as commissioner was making sure District 1 received its due funding for improvements, projects, and services from our contributed tax dollars and the many resources in Franklin County. When I entered office, the problems I faced were the worst roads and boat ramps in the county, and the overall neglect of Eastpoint and St. George Island. Over my tenure I rectified those problems and positioned District 1 and Franklin County for success. Now, only five years later, District 1 has shockingly fallen back into a state of neglect. Don’t you want things to be better for your family and community?

I’ve watched the Eastpoint Pavilion and boat ramp we built in 2010 be destroyed, and not rebuilt. I’ve waited for the promise to dredge the Eastpoint Channel to be fulfilled. Where did the funding go? The Old Ferry Dock landing has continued to deteriorate. The St. George Island boat ramp and access road are not safe for boaters or boats. Where are the state’s boating improvement dollars being spent? Who is working for District 1?

Why should you vote for Pinki? I am the most qualified and experienced candidate in this race. I have proven I will work for you, having represented Eastpoint and St. George Island fairly. I have a reputation for getting things done. I know how to set goals, and how to bring people together to solve problems. I have demonstrated that when you call me, I’ll answer and I will listen to your concerns. I will be a full-time commissioner.

Voting for Pinki means I will never vote to raise your taxes, I will be prepared to make the tough decisions that should be made, and I will never follow, but lead for District 1.

What does the future hold for District 1 with me as your commissioner? The future is now. Vote for Pinki. It’s time to get District 1 back to good, because well-done is always better than well-said.

I humbly ask for your vote and support. I thank you and may God bless you and your family, and our nation.

RICKY JONES

Integrity. Honesty. Commitment. My name is Ricky Jones and I am running again to represent District 1 on the county commission. I would like to share with you who I am.

I am a third-generation Franklin County resident. I embody Franklin County. I was born in Apalachicola. My parents, James Jones and the late Agnes Jones, raised my siblings and me in Eastpoint. Growing up, we, like so many others, were part of the seafood industry. Our family business was Eastpoint Seafood and Retail Market. It was located west of Lynn’s Quality Oysters. In the era when the oyster was king, there were as many as 26 seafood-related businesses in Eastpoint. I affirm that I didn’t miss many days of school growing up because someone had to be really sick to stay at home. My sick days usually turned into shoveling oysters or putting some pints through the canning machine.

I am a 1988 graduate of Carrabelle High School. My wife Elizabeth and I met at Holmes Bible College in Greenville, South Carolina in 1995. We were married in 1998 and both received our bachelor’s degrees in 1999. I became an ordained minister in 1998 and am currently an ordained bishop in the Church of God. We are the proud parents of Nathan, 20, Jonathan, 18, and Genesis, 16.

I have been employed with Gander Auto Parts since 1999 and am the manager of the Apalachicola NAPA and the Eastpoint NAPA Auto Parts stores. My community involvements include being a youth sports coach and youth pastor. Currently, I am serving by gubernatorial appointment on the Eastpoint Water and Sewer Board. I was elected to the office of Franklin County Commissioner, District 1 on Nov. 8, 2016.

I understand that being a leader involves also knowing how to follow. Being a county commissioner has allowed me to not only see changes for the better for District 1, but also for the whole of Franklin County. During my time as your commissioner, we have faced a horrible Lime Rock Road wildfire, Category 5 Hurricane Michael, and the worldwide pandemic of COVID-19. The challenges I just enumerated each have been difficult in their own way. I understand any vision for our collective future cannot be accomplished by myself alone. I have been able to collaboratively work with the associations, businesses, and individuals that make up this wonderful place we call home. I promised that I would put 100 percent into anything that I do.. I feel I have been true to my word.

I have been blessed enough to gain favor for Franklin County, not myself, in regional and state associations. I am currently serving on behalf of our county as the representative on the Small County Coalition, the Florida Association of Counties, and the Apalachee Regional Planning Council. Additionally, I serve as the representative for Senate District 3 on the Florida Association of Counties board of directors, and in 2019 was elected by the A.R.P.C. to serve on the executive board as secretary/treasurer. Rest assured that my singular focus is the residents of Franklin County.

We have seen things happen in my first three years that I had been told could never happen. St. George Island now has a uniform signage in the business district, thanks to an agreement between the SGI Business Association and the county. A SGI Business District Overlay was enacted to provide protections for it for the future of the business district. The Beach to Bay Access Alleys were cleared with the appropriate signage placed for them. The Lighthouse Park basketball court has been resurfaced. The new public restroom facilities have been designed, and are now out for bid and should be constructed this fall.

In Eastpoint, we have experienced more business and residential development than Franklin County has experienced in over a decade. Eastpoint business owners and residents have an established group: The Eastpoint Civic Association. They are in the middle of a grant application with the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity called “Competitive Florida.” If they are awarded this grant, the end result will be an economic development plan for Eastpoint. The Eastpoint Channel is scheduled to be dredged this fall.

I do not list these things attempting to take full credit for them, but as your representative I will continue to encourage and provide the atmosphere which allows for direct result of the collaborative work between the Eastpoint Civic Association, Franklin County, and the Apalachee Regional Planning Council.

Please vote on Aug. 18. I ask for your consideration. I will continue to be the change we need, and the voice you deserve, with integrity, honesty, and commitment.