Rachael Bennett wants to win District 5

This morning, Historic City News editor Michael Gold interviewed Rachael Bennett about her run for St Johns County’s hotly contested District 5 commissioner seat — Bennett is the third Republican Primary contestant and fourth candidate in the race.

Last month, Bennett started an independent consulting firm at the Beach. It is named “Cogito” — taken from the Latin philosophical expression “Cogito ergo sum” which translates to “I think, therefore I am”. “I believe our county can benefit from some private sector philosophy,” Bennett said. “The private sector has to work within its means — I don’t see why the county should be any less accountable.”

From July of last year, until she began her new firm in January, Bennett held an appointment as Junior Alternate to the Planning and Zoning Board for the City of St Augustine Beach, where she resides.

The 58 year-old Bennett worked with The Hutson Companies for the past six years. She began with Hutson as a Land Planner in 2006, then a year later, was promoted to Vice President of Land Development.

Two years prior to her employment at Hutson, Bennett served in the role of planner at one of the region’s leading engineering firms, England, Thims & Miller. “My experience as a planner, taking options all the way through to their logical conclusion, rather than reacting to challenges without sufficient consideration of all potential side-effects, will benefit the Board and the residents of St Johns County.”

For three years prior to that, Bennett was employed as a member of the St Johns County Development Services Division; where she says that she gained an invaluable understanding of the land development regulation process. “Scrutiny of the county budget, with attention to allocation of our limited resources, should consider finding relief from public-private partnerships.”

After receiving her Bachelor of Landscape Architecture from the University of Florida, for over 12 years, she was self-employed as a landscape architectural consultant in the Atlanta area.

“Next to tourism, agriculture is our next largest industry,” Bennett told Gold this morning. “Working farmers need protection from over-regulation and taxation on the local level because they help keep our economy strong — even when our economy slows tourism down.”

Photo credits: © 2012 Historic City News staff photographer

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