Unless a Democrat emerges to challenge the Chairman of the St Johns County Board of County Commissioners for his seat in August, a three-way Universal Primary is shaping up that could decide who will be our next commissioner from District 4.
After lunch today, Historic City News received word that Dan Abel, a Financial Advisor with Morgan Stanley Wealth Management in Ponte Vedra Beach, filed papers with St Johns County Supervisor of Elections, Vicky Oakes, to become a Republican candidate for the District 4 seat; currently held by Jay Morris.
“I believe the knowledge I have gained from my career in financial services is of great value to the County Commission given the tough budgetary problems we are facing,” Abel told Historic City News editor Michael Gold at the Elections Office today. “I know that together we can come up with better ways to provide the services needed in our community without adding new debt or additional taxes.”
Abel says he is running, in part, because he feels voters were misled in the last election.
Campaigns two and four years ago promised voters no new taxes or tax increases. They even hinted at operating surplus — depending on how you counted a disputed seven-figure payment pending from the Jacksonville Electric Authority. Nonetheless, over the last 2-year period, St Johns County has continued borrowing — adding an additional 10% to its outstanding debt; an increase of about $35 Million.
“This rate of increasing debt is unsustainable,” Abel warned. “Debt places too much stress on our personal lives, and it does the same to government. We need to prioritize our expenditures, and live within our means.”
Abel says the economy will turn around, citing new construction permits in the county. He says that when those days return, there is still no excuse for increased spending. “In times of excess we should pay down our debt, build up our reserves, and return the rest back to the taxpayers.”
Abel, who will turn 39 on October 5th, is an Ambassador with the Ponte Vedra Beach Division of the St Johns County Chamber of Commerce, and a member of their Economic Development Council. He has earned the designation of “Certified Retirement Planning Counselor” by the College for Financial Planning.
When he is not working, Dan and his wife Christina are out stand-up paddle-boarding on the Guana River or surfing on one of our many beaches. The Abels live in Ponte Vedra Beach and have been married since last September.