Historic City News is following a potential “Universal Primary” race forming in St Johns County District 2; as incumbent commissioner, Ronald Frederick Sanchez, is challenged by two other Republican candidates, so far, each of whom believes he is not earning his $69,033.49 annual salary. At 71, Sanchez is still not the oldest sitting member of the County Commission — John H “Jay” Morris, Jr, turned 72-years-old this month.
The first challenger, Jeb S. Smith, announced his intent to run for District 2 saying he is a fifth generation farmer who is engaged in the production of cattle, hay, fish, vegetables, sod, and timber. He also operates a custom fertilizer application service. He and his wife of more than twenty years, Wendy, live in Hastings with their four children.
“I would like to see our County continue to cut waste, create jobs, and pay down our debt,” Smith told local Historic City News reporters. “It is reasonable to expect our elected officials to present a zero-based budget each year and spend within our means. It is also reasonable to support leaders who believe that growing the private sector is much healthier for a thriving community than growing the size of government.”
Smith turns 40-years-old in September. He describes himself as “a father, husband, preacher, and farmer”. He is actively involved in the agricultural community and serves in many capacities representing the industry.
His elected service includes the Hastings Drainage District and the Farm Service Agency; he is currently President of the Putnam-St. Johns County Farm Bureau and a Director for the Florida Farm Bureau; he also serves in an advisory capacity with the American Farm Bureau. In addition, Jeb serves on the St. Johns County Agriculture and 4-H Advisory Councils.
Assuming all candidates qualify, in addition to facing Sanchez, Smith will challenge 39-year-old Cory “Duke” Mara in the Primary Election held on August 26, 2014. If qualifying week ended now, since three or more candidates, all from the same political party, qualified for the seat — either by paying the qualifying fee or certifying the appropriate number of signed petitions; the race would be decided during the Primary Election and would be open to registered voters of all political parties. The highest vote-getter would win; there would be no “run-off” in the November 4, 2014 General Election.
Smith reports that he has received the Outstanding Young Farmer and Rancher Award and the Discussion Meet Award from the Florida Farm Bureau. He says he has the business experience, proven public service, and a servant’s heart — all necessary to serve as our next County Commissioner.