After a crowded field of five candidates in the primary, the Port Orange runoff for the District 1 seat is down to two for Tuesday, June 11.
Leandro “Lee” Barreiro, a retired environmental and civil engineer with a second career in nursing, and Marilyn Ford, a retired corrections director and widow of the late District 1 Councilman Bob Ford, are vying for the position.
Ms. Ford, who has lived in Port Orange for more than 30 years, was the top vote-getter in the primary with 45.6%. Mr. Barreiro earned his way into the runoff coming in second with 18.4%. He has been a resident of the city since 2005.
Mr. Barreiro outlined many issues on his social media and in interviews that he sees as priorities for the city. He supports higher wages for city employees. “I want to keep the people we train,” he said, indicating that many employees start with Port Orange and receive training, but then take positions with other local governments that pay better.
Mr. Barreiro would also like to see better growth management where developers are required to provide the appropriate level of infrastructure.
“Smarter growth is what is needed to avoid getting in the crisis we’re in now with crowded roads and failing infrastructure. We need to do better planning ahead of all this development,” he emphasized.
Specifically, he would like to see an increase in impact fees and better development design where parks and businesses are integrated with homes so not every activity requires a trip in the car, which he hopes would alleviate some of the city’s traffic issues.
Because of his background in environmental engineering, he is also a strong proponent of preservation of the city’s natural habitats.
Ms. Ford, who has been endorsed by all four current Port Orange council members, has a platform that also includes preserving and protecting the city’s assets. She also wants the city to do more to help small businesses succeed in Port Orange and emphasizes the importance of keeping the city affordable and safe.
In a recent interview, she was asked her highest priority issue. “How can we balance the budget? Fiscally, what can we afford? We need to prioritize all the great things the city already provides as well as what else is needed,” she said.
Mr. Barreiro has explained that although this is his first foray into politics, he has served his community in the past through volunteering, first with veterans and most recently at a hospice facility.
“I’m running because I want to continue to give back to my community, to share my experience and my love of people,” he said.
Ms. Ford echoed her opponent’s sentiments, and explained why she believes she is the better choice.
“I share many of the same concerns that (candidate Lee Barreiro) has,” Ms. Ford said. “I also would place an emphasis on supporting small businesses. But what is different is I bring a record of experienced leadership to the table. I’ve managed a more than $30 million budget and 300 employees. I understand policy issues. I understand government and I have a long record of community involvement.”
All registered voters in Port Orange are eligible to vote. The polls will be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Early voting is available 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. June 3 to 7 at the supervisor of elections office in DeLand. Mail-in ballots must be received by the election’s office no later than June 11.