Hartage Supports Earned Sick Time in New Radio Ad for Orange County Commission 6 Bid

Former County Commissioner Homer Hartage is one of the 5 Candidates, vying to replace termed out incumbent Tiffany Moore-Russell this year in District 6, and he’s hit the radio to reach voters.

Take a listen.

It’s a bold Ad. He’s calling out members of the existing board and he pledges to work on bringing Earned Sick Time back, even though it’s been nullified at the state level.

Hartage is competing against Business Owner Derrick Wallace, Metro Plan Director Virginia Whittington, Commission Aide Roberta Walton, and Businesswoman Victoria Siplin in the competitive contest.

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Orange Commission District 6 Candidates Run Issues Gauntlet in Forum

Last night, in front of a packed house of about 250 people at the Mt. Pleasant Church, the 5 Candidates hoping to replace termed out incumbent Tiffany Moore-Russell in District 6 took the state to talk about every major issue, in a forum hosted by the Orlando Chapter of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority.

Business Derrick Wallace, Businesswoman Victoria Siplin, Former Commissioner Homer Hartage, Commissioner Aide Roberta Walton, and Metro Plan Director Virginia Whittington covered a whole range of topics in the 90 minute debate, that covered a lot of ground and was beautifully moderated by Professor Jennifer Smith.

They led off with introductions. Wallace touted his business, that he says has put thousands to work, and also his experience dealing with big money projects. He has a plan for the district that he wants to implement if elected. Siplin told her story of growing up an orphan to become a successful businesswoman and mother. And said she was running because she wanted to see forward progress in the district. Hartage spoke of his government experience and plan for neighborhood development. Whittington described her daily trip through the district and called it “alarming” and wants to see it improve. Walton said she has the experience to serve effectively from day 1, and spoke of her experience as an aide in the county government. She said the infrastructure of the county was old.

They called about addressing needs for minorities in the district. They all pointed to raising awareness to existing programs. Hartage, Wallace encouraged enrollment in Obamacare. Whittington said it was time to “Sound the alarm” and work with the state legislature. Walton and Siplin talked about local programs and jabbed the current body in Tallahassee for refusing to expand medicaid.

When it came for ideas for bringing higher paying jobs to D6, Siplin spoke of training opportunities and setting goals for applications for contracts. Wallace echoed that and said it was all about branding and promotion of the area. Walton said “the wheel isn’t broken” and that current programs needed to be reviewed. The current brand needs to be promoted she added. Whittington had 3 points. Fill empty infrastructure, take a strategic look at improving, and to also reeducate on existing programs.

Crime was the next topic. Wallace and Walton stressed working with law enforcement to improve. Whittington said her home has been broken into 3 times by youth and they had to be pushed to be “producers and not consumers”. Hartage wanted to revive a task force that “would enforce every law in the book”. Siplin brought up her work with the POPS program currently in High Schools that puts youth to work immediately.

Next was the controversial possible construction of a new High School in a possibly rural area of Windermere. Walton felt that the land in question wasn’t rural. Whittington talked about reforming the land purchasing process and the Martinez Doctrine. Hartage echoed her and said that we couldn’t buy land on speculation. Victoria Siplin brought up the conflict over the Evans High School move and pushed for teamwork with the state legislature. Wallace said the whole process needed to be reviewed and reassesed from there. He really didn’t know anything else at the time.

Talking trash was next or the question was how to diminish trash that pose a threat to the lakes in the district. All of them agreed that current laws had to be enforced and that teamwork was needed to fix the problem. Wallace had a blunt reply. He said he didn’t know of a trash problem in district and he wasn’t going to sit on stage and make things up. That drew both laughs and gasps from the crowd in attendance. Hartage would return fire on that point. He insisted there was a problem.

All of the candidates agreed that more funding was needed for the arts within the district. They all agreed that they weren’t being treated equally and Walton referred to the new Performing Arts Center, and believes they need to have a seat in the conversation on how that could be used to promote programs in their region.

The Conversation over a new Hispanic Exclusive Seat on the Commission was an exciting one. Siplin supported the measure and brought up Mildred Fernandez‘s service (we’ll assume it was before her removal from office). Wallace “absolutely” also supported the new seat. Walton supported the idea but felt no new measures were needed to make that happen. She pointed out that Hispanics had the 9th Congressional seat in their majority but still elected Alan Grayson. Both Hartage and Whittington believed Hispanics deserved the seat but opposed the Fred Brummer Charter Amendments. Hartage specifically did not approve of expanding the Commission by two seats. That was a part of the Brummer amendment that would be designed roughly for that purpose.

All of the candidates oppose eliminating the County Tax Collector Office and called it either political or an unneeded change. It was the quickest round of answers in the forum.

Not all of them agreed on the big Expressway Authority Merger: Whittington and Walton were opposed to the merger. Whittington said “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it” and Walton felt it best to keep those decisions local. Hartage and Siplin supported the move. Hartage slammed the hire of Steve Precourt and Siplin brought up the investigation by State Attorney Jeff Ashton for possible Sunshine Violations. Wallace didn’t have enough information and did not have an opinion.

All of the candidates pledged to be more accessible to constituents. Hartage’s answer drew the biggest laugh of the event. “I’m not a hard man to get a hold of. I’ve had the same phone number since 1978.

Priority and Passion were the final two questions of the forum: Siplin felt for the children due to her past and present experiences of her life. She would provide health care for them, and take all actions to ensure the neighborhoods in the district flourished. Wallace would bring the stakeholders to the table to build a strategy to move on, and his passion was also in the children and the future of the area. Whittington would fulfill promises that haven’t been met yet and her passion would be getting what the district deserved to avoid falling further behind. Homer Hartages first priority would be to ensure the defeat of the Fred Brummer amendments and he as well had passion for the youth in the district. Walton touted her experience and promoting “shovel ready” projects. She wants to use the vibrant core of the district to promote growth.

They each gave closing statements and the event was over. Great forum and as you can see, a lot of information given out.

Some Personal Observations and Analysis:

Derrick Wallace, while he didn’t have the answers for all of the issues, he definitely had the biggest campaign presence in the room. A large platoon of attendees were wearing his T-shirts.

Roberta Walton was in an interesting position. She has to push her experience, while creating enough space for her to forward her own ideas. Her position as an aide is almost like her running for reelection. She can’t be too critical of the current state of the district

Homer Hartage has a wealth of knowledge from his previous service. Maybe the most in the field. But won’t a decision on the Brummer amendment be down before he takes office next year?

Victoria Siplin had a good night. Her Husband and former State Senator Gary Siplin was also in attendance. She doesn’t have a particular angle to call hers yet. She needs to establish why she’s better than the others and either give some innovative ideas or her cite experience to gain some traction.

Virginia Whittington also had a good night and was the most energetic candidate. She’s a good story teller and would be a very difficult opponent in a one on one debate. She needs to tout her experience with Metro Plan more.

A great event!

d6 forum

Orange Commission District 6 Candidates to Discuss Issues in Forum Tomorrow

The race to become the next Orange County Commissioner in District 6, is a derby between five candidates, who have all been aggressive in their bid to be the next representative from the area, to replace termed out incumbent Tiffany Moore-Russell.

Now voters will have the opportunity to listen to each of them describe their vision for the area, in a forum being hosted by the Orlando Chapter of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority.

Businessman Derrick Wallace, Metro Plan Director Virginia Whittington, Commissioner Aide Robert Walton, Former Commissioner Homer Hartage, and Victoria Siplin, Wife to Former State Senator Gary Siplin are listed on the program.

The “Conversation with the Candidates” is scheduled for tomorrow night at 630pm and should be a strong event. 3 of the Candidates have already interviewed with this blog. I’ve link them for you below.

Derrick Wallace
Roberta Walton
Virginia Whittington

You can read all of the details on the event below.

D6 Forum

Wallace Releases Webvid in D6 Commission Race says “I will effect some change in Orange County”

Construction Manager and Businessman Derrick Wallace pushed out a Web Video over the weekend that laid out a basic foundation of what the voters can expect from him.

“No one speaks up for the minority of small business in this district, and that can’t continue” he says after a short introduction. He continues “Nothing is going to change overnight but I hope that we get more interaction from the people that are being mistreated to help change that”.

Take a look at the video below.

Wallace is currently running in a crowded field against Commission Aide Roberta Walton, Metroplan Director Virginia Whittington, former Commissioner Homer Hartage, and Victoria Siplin.


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Interview with Derrick Wallace, Candidate for Orange County Commission District 6

Good Morning Everyone!

I’m happy to continue our interview series for the 2014 election cycle with Derrick “Shine” Wallace, Candidate for Orange County Commission District 6. Incumbent Tiffany Moore-Russell is termed out so the next leader for the District will be a new face on the board.

We spoke about several issues affecting the County and District 6 specifically. Here is what he had to say.


FT: Mr. Wallace, thanks for taking the time to interview. You’ve been on
the campaign trail for a while now, what would say the voters are most
concerned about?

Derrick Wallace: Thank you for an opportunity to share my platform, thoughts, and my campaign action-plans, to make District 6, a great place to live and raise a family.
Orange County, like many others counties and cities across the U.S., is beginning to emerge from the
“Great Recession”. Ongoing investment in major projects such as the Dr. Phillips Center for the
Performing Arts, SunRail, Soccer Stadium and Lake Nona Medical Center suggest some improvement in economic conditions; however, far too many unemployed workers and every day people have not benefited from the recent economic recovery. and remain jobless and homeless. The voters in District 6 have shared the following concerns with me. Creating jobs and fostering economic development, providing greater educational opportunities, enhancing safety and security, affordable housing, and improving transportation infrastructure.

FT: Now you’ve said “For too long, we’ve allowed the fate of our neighborhoods to be determined by big out of state companies who burden us with their demands, offering minimum wage jobs as compensation” Could you elaborate? And tell us what you would do if elected?

Derrick Wallace: If elected, I will serve as the voice for those who have been marginalized and feel excluded. The future of District 6 depends on strong leadership to help residents get better paying jobs, training and better access to County government. I would vote favorably for the projects that are in the best interest of the orange county community, which includes District 6. I firmly believe that now is the time to ‘Build a strong community for orange county families’. Now is the time to break with “business as usual” for the residents of District 6 and build a community of opportunity for all. Now is the time for everyone to engage on the issues and work together in a cooperative manner to find a positive way forward – that’s true democracy.

FT: It seems the big Commission vote last year was the venues package that included funding to continue construction on the performing arts center, Citrus Bowl renovations, and money for the new MLS Soccer Stadium. What are your thoughts? And how would you have voted.

Derrick Wallace: I would have voted yes with stipulations, because certain ills are created by these venues. There are well over 1 million residents in Orange County and there are more than 57 million visitors each year. Tourist Development Tax (TDT) is part of the reason the City and the County are able to pay for the $94.5 million dollar venue package. I feel money should have been included to address some of the major issues that happen to be in District 6. All the money that was put in the deal was not TDT Funds. . There are basic social problems all around these venues, and the conditions in the surrounding communities are deplorable. The City and the MLS Soccer Organization put millions into the deal that had no restrictions. Funds could have been provided for Job training, Housing, and Homeless, which could be used to help District 6. I will call these impact dollars. The decision could have been made to build it someplace else, therefore no impact to the District 6 area. The plights of the people in District 6, as well as other districts, are invisible until a developer wants their land.

FT: You’re running in a crowded field. Why should District 6 voters pick you?

Derrick Wallace: Voters should vote for me, because I bring 30 years of proven leadership, business success, and the ability to bring the diverse elements in the community together. There is no other candidate who will work as hard as I will work. I love this community and I understand the needs of the community! My family, friends and I actually live in District 6. As a matter of fact, I have lived in District 6 all my life. Residents feel comfortable talking to me, and I am committed to making a difference. I will be their voice and make sure it is heard.

FT: As always, I like to end things on a positive note. What is something the voters might not know about you or your campaign?

Derrick Wallace: It is pretty well known that I am a successful businessman. For over 30 years, I have provided jobs and economic development opportunities to people in and out of District 6. I graduated from Jones High and FAMU (Magna Cum Laude) and my high school nickname is “Shine”. Perhaps the most important thing that voters should know is that I have a passion for this community and its people. I have lived my entire life in this district 6. As a result, I have been able to build a grassroot campaign, involving many of the residents of the district. I qualified by petitions in September, 2013. The use of technology is being maximized to enhance our campaign’s efforts. We even have our own Apple and Android mobile Apps. I am also so committed to the district that I have put my own funding into the campaign, which ensures that I am not obligated to any special interest, but only to the citizens of District 6.


I’d like to thank Mr. Wallace for interviewing. This fall he’ll be running against Commission Aide Roberta Walton (her interview HERE), Metro Plan Director Virginia Whittington (her interview HERE), Homer Hartage, and Victoria Siplin. I’ve invited all of the candidates in every race to interview with FPFT. If you’re running, I’d love to talk to you!

Derrick Wallace

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