With the recent announcement by Monroe Planning and Zoning Commission member John Howard that he will be running for the District 3 seat on the City Council, elections season is off to an early start in Monroe.
Howard said he hadn’t really thought about running for City Council until current District 3 Councilman Nathan Purvis let him know that he was likely moving out of the district and the seat would be up for grabs. Howard said he believes that Purvis is expecting to move away before the end of the spring. Should that happen, it is likely that the Monroe City Council would appoint someone to the position prior to the November election. Whomever is appointed would then have to run for the seat in November. Howard is putting himself out there to be considered should an appointment be made as well as letting it be known that he will be making a run for the seat in November.
“I’m running for city council because of my experience with a large master plan community, which is a little larger than the city of Monroe. I don’t think that anybody in this district, or this town, has the vision that I have from my background,” Howard said, adding that he also wanted to be able to represent his friends and neighbors in the district for the right reasons. “I don’t want somebody getting in that positions that’s doing it for any ulterior motives. I want somebody that has Monroe’s best interest at heart with every decision that he or she makes.”
Howard said he believes he brings something unique to the table as a result of his involvement with the Lakewood Ranch development he was involved with in the late 1990s when he lived in Florida. According to Wikipedia, Lakewood Ranch is an “award-winning master planned community in Florida built on part of what was previously a timber ranch owned by members of Milwaukee‘s Uihlein family.” Started in 1995, the development has an 8,500-acre master-planned community consisting of seven villages. Howard was on the development committee of eight members.
“When I got to Lakewood Ranch we had 50 homes. When I left we had 2,000 homes, a public high school, a private school, an elementary school had just broken ground. We had opened a golf course designed by Arnold Palmer’s group and they were designing our second golf course. We had just opened our first Publix and our second Publix had broken ground. We had our light industrial development and our town center underway.”
Publix or Kroger is something that is on the wish list of many local residents, but Howard said while the city may already be on their radar, neither are likely to make any significant move to make it happen until the city or area gets the required number of rooftops to warrant it.
Howard said he returned to Georgia in 2000 and now lives in Monroe. Howard grew up in Walton County and attended George Walton Academy where his wife now teaches and his children attend. He is an owner at Pinnacle Advertising Specialists, Inc. and has a bachelor’s degree in Sports Marketing and Promotions from the University of Florida. Howard has served on the Board of Directors of the Boys and Girls Club and currently serves on the Monroe Planning and Zoning Commission.
The seats up in November in Monroe’s municipal elections include Districts 3, 6 and 8 as well as the mayor’s seat. The District 6 seat is currently held by Councilman Wayne Adcock, District 8 by Councilman Jimmy Richardson and the mayor’s seat is currently held by Mayor Greg Thompson. The election will take place on Nov. 7, 2017. Click or tap on this link for registration and qualifying information.