MaryBeth Henderson, left, is challenging Casey Wojcik for the District 3 seat in Redington Shores.
REDINGTON SHORES – District 3 in Redington Shores has changed considerably as the result of a town redistricting effort that took place two years ago.
Residents from the huge Redington Towers condominium complex were added to the district, while the residential area of mostly single-family homes bounded by 180th and 182nd avenues was taken away.
Incumbent District 3 Commissioner Casey Wojcik will be facing a changed electorate this year, and an opponent for the first time since he took office in 2006.
MaryBeth Henderson, a newcomer to town politics, is challenging Wojcik for the District 3 seat.
Henderson said she decided to run for a seat on the commission after hearing from residents who felt disconnected from town government.
“They didn’t even know who their commissioner was and felt frustrated that issues important to them were not adequately represented at commission meetings,” she said.
Henderson said she had an outpouring of support from residents after promising to listen to their concerns and effectively work for positive change.
“I want to connect with the residents and reflect what they want,” she said. “This is not about me. My agenda will be their agenda.”
A constant theme heard from many of the residents was “we just need fresh blood, new ideas and a new vision,” Henderson said.
Henderson currently serves on the town’s Planning and Zoning Board. She served as president of the Parent Teacher Student Association at her children’s school during a challenging time when leadership was vitally needed, she said.
“I am passionate about maintaining the inviting family feel of our neighborhood and our town’s many amenities, including the pristine beaches, parks and green spaces,” she said.
Henderson led a successful effort to limit skateboarding in certain residential areas after disturbances, sometimes resulting in property damage, became an issue. She also helped defeat consideration of a skateboard park proposed by the current District 3 commissioner after an outpouring of resident concern.
If elected to the commission, Henderson said her most important priority will be to actively work with residents in developing a communications program to keep them informed of important developments. Also, she plans to stay in touch with residents through active participation in neighborhood and homeowner associations.
The undergrounding of utilities on Gulf Boulevard is important, Henderson said. She plans to work with residents and commission members to evaluate a comprehensive plan to move utilities underground, and seek grant monies to help cover the costs.
Maintaining and improving the town’s green spaces is another priority issue. As a parent of two young boys, Henderson says her family is a frequent park user. She said she will work to maintain and improve the parks and make them a more inviting area for families to enjoy she said.
Henderson said she is proud to have the support of former Redington Shores Mayor J.J. Beyrouti. In a later telephone conversation, Beyrouti said the commission “needs new blood,” and Henderson “has the dedication, energy and common sense to do a good job.”
Commissioner Casey Wojcik says he works hard to address residents’ concerns and find solutions.
“I do my homework and listen to the people,” he said. “If a concern is justified, I look for a means to solve it. I do make a difference when my residents’ concerns are addressed.”
A focus of Wojcik’s for the past several years has been the town’s Emergency Management Plan, which prepares residents and town officials to deal with and survive a hurricane or major storm.
Every year Wojcik hosts a hurricane awareness seminar where residents are told how to prepare for a hurricane. He has also worked to set up a secondary center of operations in Seminole where town officials can operate in a secure place. Relocated residents will be able to get up-to-date information on local conditions via Internet or phone through a system initiated by Wojcik.
Wojcik has led the committee that gained residents a reduction in their insurance rates through approval of a Flood Plain Management Plan. That plan is updated yearly to assure the discounted rate continues.
To further communicate with residents, Wojcik has set up an email distribution list where citizens can get information about town commission meetings, special events and other topics of interest, as well as give him feedback on their concerns.
Wojcik also sponsored the streaming and achiving of town commission meetings on the Internet for the first time.
Wojcik’s plans for his next term on the commission includes partnering with the condominium associations to bring their concerns to the town commission, and managing the truck traffic which has caused damage to private and public property in the town’s Commercial Tourist Facility (CTF) district.
Also, Wojcik wants to take action to deal with chronic nuisance properties by imposing assessments and liens on those properties. Other Wojcik priorities are increasing parking on Gulf Boulevard to address the town’s shortage of parking, continuing beach improvements, and looking at speed limit and traffic control signage to increase the safety of citizens, especially children.
Wojcik believes that all sides of controversial issues deserve to be heard.
“It is my responsibility to see that all views and options are represented, regardless of my personal view or opinion,” he said.
Wojcik said he is running for re-election on a record of addressing residents’ concerns and getting results.
“I do my research to find workable solutions, then work until I get action,” he said.