Held on March 16 and 29, the Lakeland City Commission Candidate Forums hosted by LkldNow featured four political newcomers campaigning to fill the city chair of elected congressman Scott Franklin. The elected candidate will serve until November, when another election will be held to determine commissioner for the next four years. The SE district encompasses the downtown Lake Morton and Lake Hollingsworth area.
The candidates Ken Post, Mike Musick, Shendale Terrell and Steven Frankenberger end their freshman bid election day April 6.
Lakeland residents will be able to vote at early polling locations throughout the week before election day, March 29 through April 2, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m..
Polling locations can be found here.
“I want to be the voice of everybody,” was Steve Frankenberger’s message at the first candidate forum, a slogan vaguely familiar following a summer and winter of political division. Frankenberger believes in a tangential relationship between Lakeland’s corporate and small businesses. An environmentalist, he advocates for the preservation of Lakeland’s “captivating spaces” and “residencial prosperity.”
“Lakeland is a very fast, growing city,” Frankenberger said. “We’ve got some growth happening that may not be thought through down the road. We [have] to listen to the residence and what they want and be the voice for those people.”
Frankenberger is focused on reducing the city’s environmental footprint.
Five years from now, when 40% of United States automobiles are projected to be electric according to Frankenberger, “and everyone goes to plug in their cars, is Lakeland electric going to be ready for that?”
The voters, Frankenberger said, will be Lakeland’s response to future issues like an impending gas tax and at which hours electric cars should be charged.
“The quality of life in lakeland is in part of our environment,” Frankenberger said.
Living in Lakeland for 36 years and at one point a single father, he believes that he can “relate to the everyday problems of the people of Lakeland.”
Mike Musick said he has fought his entire life to keep “small business the business” in Lakeland. His top priority: a mix of transparency in local government and policing, controlled city spending, “using taxes wisely” to expand city services and in turn, a functional city growth in preparation of Lakeland’s changing energy use index.
“We need to figure out the money that we have and work within that budget,” Musick said. “If anyone can sit up here and tell me the government isn’t wasting money, they’re not paying attention.”
Musick has doubled down on his position of not mandating masks, but advocates for voluntarily use and “personal responsibility.”
“When I go to a business, if they require them for admittance, I’m going to respect them as a small business owner and I’m going to put that on,” Musick said.
Although he only advocates for the use of masks out of respect, Musick made it clear in the second candidate forum that he does not-not take the pandemic “seriously.”
“Being that the commission is a non-partisan position does make it a little difficult,” Musick said. “I’m not going to be your guy. I will answer a question and I will answer it specifically.When you elect me, you know what you get.”
Shandale “Dale” Terrell, once a college football player, began his educational career at Auburn University before transferring to Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University to earn his Bachelor of Science in education, since then earning additional degrees such as a masters in educational leadership and a minor in urban education.
Terrell has served on a variety of boards in Polk County, not limited to the City of Lakeland’s citizen advisory committee, budget advisory committee, the gang task force, and the Polk Vision education and government task force.
On community engagement, Terrell promotes community organization, emphasizing in person meetings with constituents.
“If there is an issue or concern that is taking place I’d see where I could meet with that neighborhood as soon as possible,” Terrell said. “It’s more meaningful when you have a candid conversation with the citizens within the city of Lakeland.”
Given that the number of Covid-19 outbreaks in Lakeland decrease, Terrell said “neighborhood association meetings are very appropriate.”
Inner City Youth, an initiative Terrell is a part of, has “helped to build the relationship between inner-city youth and police officers.”
Terrell has served in a large number of committees throughout the community and has operated in them at the capacities of leadership.
“Good evening, neighbors,” Ken Post said, his first words at the first candidate forum for the city of Lakeland’s empty commissioner seat. The primary roles of government, to Post, are “keeping the community safe” and “providing affordable avenues for residents to enjoy parks and public spaces.” Post also believes “safe environments” and “safe streets” are important undertakings of local government.
City engagement is a chief concern to Post.
“One of the things we need to do as a city is somehow engage our residence, to take the survey more seriously,” Post said, referring to a city survey that, according to Post, received only a little over 4,000 responses out of over 100,000 residents. “That, to me, is a failure. We are using those responses to make decisions for everyone in the city.”
Post believes more community supervision over policing would be an effective preventative measure.
“If we put it in now, as a precaution, and we have that dialogue going back and forth, going forward it makes it a better environment for everybody,” Post said, in reference to his idea of a citizen oversight committee.
A nursing graduate of New York University, Post also received an associates degree in bible study.