Evans Seeking Canaveral Port Commission Seat

By  //  August 6, 2012

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Faces Incumbent Matheny In Primary

BREVARD COUNTY • TITUSVILLE, FLORIDA – Respected Titusville attorney John “Hank Evans” knows it will be tough to unseat longtime Canaveral Port Authority District 2 Commissioner Joe Matheny in the Aug. 14 Republican Primary, but it’s an opportunity he says he welcomes.

Titusville attorney John "Hank" Evans is challenging incumbent Joe Matheny for the District 2 Canaveral Port Authority Commission seat. (Image courtesy Hank Evans)

“I have never held public office and do not consider myself a politician,” Evans said. “I have always wanted to be involved with the Port. When asked to serve by several clients and friends, I decided it was an appropriate time to run for Port Commissioner.”

Evans moved with his parents to Titusville in 1966. He attended Vanderbilt University and graduated as Senior Class President in 1970. After earning a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Florida’s School of Law, he also served a short time in officer training for the United States Army.

Upon his return to Titusville, he practiced law with the law firm of Cianfrogna, Telfer, Evans and Reda. In 1986, Evans launched his own law firm.

Important decision

He said the most important decision for voters choosing a candidate in the District 2 Canaveral Port Authority race is protecting the best interests of not only the port, but also for those who reside here.

“My opponent has held the District 2 seat for 16 years and he is seeking a 5th term which will give him 20 years.  It is time for new eyes and a fresh outlook,” Evans said. “My opponent has said the Port is his main concern. My main concern is not only the port, but also the residents of the district. Both have very important interests that need to be represented and protected.”

And a profound love for his community seems to be a constant thread running through his professional and personal endeavors.

Evans served twice as President of the Space Coast Economic Development Commission and been a longtime member of the Board of Directors of the Titusville Chamber of Commerce. He is the current Director of the SPCA of North Brevard and started the “Save our Beach” campaign which fought for access by automobiles to Playalinda Beach during the Space Shuttle era.

He’s been married to his wife Barbara, for 33 years and they have two children and three grandchildren.

Key issues

Several prominent issues face the Canaveral Port Authority, no matter who wins the District 2 seat, according to Evans.

“The most important issue is to insure the economic viability of the Port in the future,” he said. “According to the CEO Stan Payne, the port creates 13,000 to 17,000 direct and indirect jobs. This means the port is one of the largest employment generators in the county. We must keep and establish new policies and goals that keep that great employment record growing.  An example would be to expand container business to the port and extension of rail to the port.

“The offsite parking conflict is primarily due to the failure of certain members of the board to listen to the community and failure to take into consideration the interests of the surrounding communities. It is my pledge to listen to both sides of an issue before voting and that is not happening currently with some members.” John “Hank” Evans, Republican candidate for District 2 Canaveral Port Authority Commission.

“The second important issue is the failure of some members of the Canaveral Port Authority Commission to respect and listen to members of the community. For example, the offsite parking conflict is primarily due to the failure of certain members of the board to listen to the community and failure to take into consideration the interests of the surrounding communities. It is my pledge to listen to both sides of an issue before voting and that is not happening currently with some members.”

In business himself, Evans said he can relate to the concerns some local entrepreneurs have with the port.

“While jobs are the key function of the port, good relationships with the surrounding communities and businesses are very important also. Currently the relationship between the Port and the TDC and Cocoa Area Beach Hotel and Lodging Associates is at its lowest ebb in years,” Evans said. “Staff needs to meet with the community leaders and reestablish a relationship of trust and fairness with local communities.

“While the district is here to serve the port, likewise the port is here to serve the residents of the surrounding communities,” he said. “Staff must be more open to public input.”

If elected, Evans said he will strive to unite all local interests for a common goal.

“The Port Authority and the surrounding communities are on the same team.  It is essential that the community business people and the Port Authority share common goals that benefit both parties,” he said. “The current barrier to that happening presently is, in my opinion, failure of the port staff to communicate sufficiently with the Port Authority commission, as well as with the community. That can be changed easily with a change in attitude.”

“My vision is that Port Canaveral remains the leading job generator in Brevard County not only with direct port jobs, but also by creating jobs in the surrounding communities in the tourism and industrial businesses.” John “Hank” Evans

Vision for future

He said his vision for the port if he should win a seat on the Canaveral Port Authority Commission is basic.

“It is not my goal to sweep house at the port the day I get elected. I will come in and study the issues from both sides. I will listen,” he said. “Only then will decisions be made on my part. My vision is that Port Canaveral remains the leading job generator in Brevard County not only with direct port jobs, but also by creating jobs in the surrounding communities in the tourism and industrial businesses.”

And in the choice voters face in the election is one that impacts all residents of Brevard County, not just those living close to the port or doing business there.

“The decisions of the Canaveral Port Authority affect a large percentage of Brevard residents. Not only is there the direct and indirect employment, but the port also serves Kennedy Space Center as well as its international trade zone business. The businesses in the Cove serve the entertainment needs of not only the local residents but thousands of tourists a year,” he said. “I have practiced business law for more than 35 years here in Brevard County. My business background makes a perfect fit with the job of being a Port Commissioner.”


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