Charles Parker Analyzes District 4 Commission Race

By  //  August 12, 2014



EDITOR’S NOTE: YOUR OPINION – Join the Multimedia Political Discourse

The first opinion piece I wrote – which was about the County Commission District 2 race – certainly has ruffled some feathers. Since I live and work in District 2, I had some “inside baseball” knowledge of the campaigns and the campaigners.

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I acknowledge that – at the least – I approached the line of decorum by discussing specific people. As well, I used anecdotal evidence to try and make a sound argument.

Neither is good practice. For those I offended, I realize my mistake and hope that you are people of second chances – as I am.

I appreciate Michael Hartman’s strident defense of his campaign workers displayed in his public response to me. Class act.

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I do, however, still stand by my ultimate analysis of the race. Jim Barfield has the advantage in the Republican primary unless Michael Hartman expands his foundation of support.


Since I do not really know the candidates in County Commission District 4, I have decided to approach this analysis like a typical voter might approach it who does not really know the candidates.

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First, I looked at a couple of the straw polls over the last few months and determined that the frontrunners in this crowded field are Greg Jones, Rick Lacey and Curt Smith.

Rick Lacey
Rick Lacey

In averaging two of their straw poll performances, Smith has 28 percent, Jones 24 percent and Lacey with 16 percent. Smith and Jones have both won one and Lacey has come in a strong second once. Advantage: Smith.

Next, I looked at candidate videos from the Hob Nob and their campaign websites. I then put together a matrix of the positions on issues, their education and their job experiences.

Greg Jones
Greg Jones

So, first, job experience and education. All three have college degrees and all three are active in their communities.

Jones has a business consulting company and previously worked for the Brevard Economic Development Commission.

Smith has run his own small business for many years. Lacey is a realtor and previously worked in tourism in Pennsylvania.

What’s the old saying about consultants? And Brandywine Valley is nice, but it is not Cocoa Beach. Small business owners know how to create jobs, budget money, and make decisions. Advantage: Smith.

Next, the issues.

Curt Smith

All three have the Indian River Lagoon and transportation infrastructure as a priority – so that is a wash.

Jones is about jobs. He says that government doesn’t create jobs. But he also says that a key to creating jobs is through effective governance and partnerships. Mixed message.

Lacey wants to increase tourism to grow jobs and keep taxes down. That’s a good platform plank, but not hefty enough to be the anchor of a campaign. The Tourism Development Council will have an opening soon. Might not be a bad gig.

Smith is calling for a strategy. He notes that in the last 10 years Brevard’s population has increased 7 percent and the county budget has nearly doubled.

He says he will work on a long-term spending plan, which includes a review of current assets with a data-based system to repair and replace aging equipment. Data-driven decisions are usually pretty good ones. Advantage: Smith.

There you have it, average voter. Curt Smith.


Charles Parker is a longtime resident of Brevard County and has been writing for various publications for the last 40 years – both print and digital. Parker covers space, politics, religion, and other news and special events for Space Coast Daily.

Charles Parker
Charles Parker

Currently, he is an aerospace engineering teacher at Merritt Island High School. He is also the director of both the da Vinci Academy of Aerospace Technology and the Academy of Hospitality, Entrepreneurship, and Tourism at MIHS. He is a professor of Humanities and World Religions at Eastern Florida State College and Valencia College.

Parker has worked extensively in the tourism and aerospace industries in Brevard. He has also been a United Methodist pastor and director of a non-profit to help young adults aging out of foster care. He was formerly a board member at Brevard Achievement Center and the Childcare Association of Brevard. He was appointed by Governor Jeb Bush to the Children’s Services Council from 1999-2003.

Parker earned a BA in Organizational Management from Warner University and a Master of Divinity from Asbury Theological Seminary. He is married, has four children and one grandchild.

You can follow Parker on Twitter @cpbrevard