Orange County Commissioner Victoria Siplin is gearing up for re-election. Siplin, who represents District 6, recently put $4.3 million towards the creation of a new cultural center that will be in Pine Hills. The center, coupled with more government investment into the community, may bode well for Siplin as she heads towards re-election.
Siplin filed her re-election paperwork back in June and told the Orlando Political Observer that she plans to focus on seniors and economic development in the district.
“My whole campaign slogan was progress and it is my objective to continue that progress especially as it relates to economic development, jobs for our community and assisting our non-profits.”
Through the end of July, Siplin had yet to file a campaign report to show money raised. She still has time as the election for county races do not begin until August 28, 2018.
But with Siplin’s concerns about seniors and economic development, her re-election may be based upon crime and development around the county.
One of Orange County’s largest communities, Pine Hills has nearly 70,000 people and a median household income of close to $36,000. During part of Siplin’s tenure as commissioner, homicides have increased nearly 70%, and the Orange County’s Sheriff’s Office have stepped up patrols in the area.
While Siplin doesn’t fully control how crime is addressed in the area and has little impact on how the sheriff’s office operates, a community that has experienced an increase in crime under the stewardship of new leadership isn’t good.
Siplin can also pivot away from opponents attempting to lay the issue of crime at her doorstep. Pine Hills has had problems economically for years, and crime didn’t start when she was elected.
So how does Siplin work to color her tenure as commissioner without mentioning crime? For what it’s worth, Siplin has worked with Sheriff Jerry Demings and her colleague on the commission, Bryan Nelson. Because the district that Nelson covers, District 2, has portions of Pine Hills, they both have been in concert to find ways to deter crime in the area.
Siplin also started a billboard campaign as a way to get the community more involved in helping to solve criminal cases in Pine Hills. She was an active voice in the community after Lt. Debra Clayton was tragically murdered. Siplin used her voice to ask the community to speak out after the manhunt started to find Clayton’s killer.
While this election is still more than a year away, campaigning for the seat will start soon. Siplin is sure to draw an opponent as we inch closer to Election Day, but as of right now, Siplin has an opportunity to define herself more vocally as a commissioner to scare off opponents. If she doesn’t, she’s sure to be characterized by those who want to see her lose.