Friday, March 1, 2024
79.8 F

Randy Ross Campaigns for Change, Challenges City Commissioner Sheehan

Political activist and longtime resident Randy Ross has been campaigning for change in Orlando as he challenges incumbent City Commissioner Patty Sheehan in District 4. While the main tag for his campaign is “Don’t San Francisco our Orlando,” Ross is concerned about downtown along with a variety of other issues facing the city and says the incumbent should not be elected to a 7th term.

Randy Ross for Orlando Commissioner“Simply stated, between homelessness, tent cities, urine soaked sidewalks downtown isn’t desirable,” Randy Ross told West Orlando News. “We need to enforce panhandling guidelines and make our downtown core a place residents want to be in.”

Ross said he has knocked on thousands of doors during his grassroots campaign and he has heard major concerns from Orlando residents. “At the door I’m hearing major concerns regarding safety and security on our streets, issues with red brick/street maintenance, frustration with not having term limits and lack of support for small businesses in downtown Orlando,” Ross said. “I don’t agree with the council’s moratorium on opening bars and restaurants downtown as a crime deterrent and passing security cost to small businesses. Simply, we need to increase funding for police and increase patrols downtown, through adding more police officers, as a true deterrent to crime. Why don’t we have a Park Avenue in Downtown Orlando? A true place where people can live, work and play.”

Ross also argues that the Orlando City Council is nothing more than a “sounding board” for Mayor Buddy Dyer’s agenda and it needs someone with new ideas. He also believes he can bring a balance of sorts to the politics of Orlando City Council.

“I’m walking and knocking each and every day, the support I’m receiving at the door and through contributions illustrates to me people realize the current commissioner, while her service is noted and appreciated, should not be elected to a 7th term,” Ross said. “She’s absolutely lost sight of what we want and need as a community. Complacency is no longer an option. It’s time to balance the Orlando City Council.”

He also believes his perspective will relate to residents and the issues they are facing.

“The City Council is a sounding board for the Mayor’s agenda. That alone is a challenge,” Ross continued. “I am in the middle addressing issues families are talking about at the kitchen table. Currently we operate in extremes…that’s not where most Orlandoans live. We don’t need 2000 thinking in 2023… it’s time for new ideas, vision and execution of plans that truly will change the way people live, work and play in District 4.”

One major issue in the District 4 race revolves around the Pulse memorial, or lack of a memorial. “The Commissioner needs to own that following Pulse she became the unofficial spokeswoman for the victims, families and community,” Ross said. “She’s been an obstructionist in truly allowing either the City or the OnePulse Foundation to reach a satisfactory resolve for the purchase of the land to make a true Pulse memorial. Now the site remains all but a bonded some 7 years later with no real plan to build a proper memorial. Absolutely unacceptable.”

If elected, Randy Ross hopes to increase local police funding and recruitment as a top priority. He also wants to “actually spend the money budgeted for street maintenance,” after he said his public records request showed the city simply does not utilize the resources available.

“The current commissioner, through public records request, slots far too much money for murals and speed bumps,” Ross said. “Discretionary funds are for all Orlando District 4 residents, not just her chosen areas. I will lead the charge for term limits on in the Council including the Mayor.”

Some of his critics attack Ross’ past, including some legal issues that he has resolved and says are old news. “They are in the past,” he said. “You learn, gown, and move-on.”

Ross also told West Orlando News he believes he brings more community organizing experience than the other candidates in the local race, including the longtime incumbent. He referenced his experience as an original board member of Inner City Games Orlando, leading the health and fitness expo receiving health and human services Walt Disney World Community Service Awards, having launched Walk a Mile in Her Shoes in 2014 and 2015 raising over $50,000 for Harbor House of Central Florida, organizing an AIDS Walk Orlando team that raised $20,000 for Hope and Help Center of Central Florida, and serving as a board member for Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Florida, American Red Cross of Central Florida, and Community Health Centers of Central Florida.

Randy Ross is also currently in his third appointment by Orange County Commissioner Mayra Uribe to the Orange County Membership Mission and Review Board, engaging in appointments to all Orange County volunteer boards. Ross’ specific areas of focus are Orange County Arts/Culture, Animal Services, and I-Drive CRA board.

As a caregiver to his mother for now 30+ years, Ross also added he is well aware that Orlando fails to see the work needed to help seniors.

Ross, who served as the 2016 Orange County for Trump Chairman, announced his full support for a President Donald J. Trump bid for President in 2024 in December. He has worked locally in politics for years, but mostly on the Republican side – which may be tough citywide in Democratic Orlando.

The general election for Orlando Mayor and City Commissioner (Districts 4 & 6) is November 7, 2023, with early voting from October 28th – November 5th.

RELATED: Orlando Commissioner Patty Sheehan Seeks 7th Term

ALSO: Florida Democratic Party Endorses in Orlando’s Nonpartisan Elections

ALSO: Orange GOP Recommends Candidates for Orlando Mayor & Commissioner

Related Articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisement -

Latest Articles