Three Candidates Join City Commissioner Race

By Mike Lednovich

Genece Minshew and Joyce Tuten have filed as candidates for the Fernandina Beach city commission election.

Minshew, who is running for a third time, is seeking Seat 2 held by Vice Mayor David Sturges. He is seeking re-election.

Tuten filed for Seat 1 held by Mayor Bradley Bean, who is also seeking re-election.

As it currently stands, with two candidates for Seat 1 and Seat 2, that election will be in November.

The race for Seat 3, held by Commissioner Chip Ross now has three candidates with Christy Kelly filing last week. She will face former city commissioner Tim Poynter and Tony Morris. Ross is termed out and cannot seek re-election to the city commission.

With three candidates for Seat 3, that election will be in August. If a candidate fails to get 50% or more of the vote, then the top two candidates advance to a runoff in November.

Minshew is a retired BellSouth executive with more than 35 years of experience in all phases of customer operations, customer relationship management, product management, and field operations.

Minshew served on the city’s Planning Advisory Board and she is the former president of Fernandina Beach Pride.

“We need a City Commission that is responsive to the people of Fernandina Beach and not simply to developers, contractors, or any organization whose single-minded goal is to make money, never mind the safety and quality of life of our individual citizens,” Minshew said in announcing her run for office. “I promise to be fair, honest and ethical with every action and decision that I make as a City Commissioner. Equally important, I will be a good and attentive listener.”

In 2020, Minshew faced Sturges in a runoff for Seat 2 and narrowly lost by 40 votes out of 3,402 votes cast.

She ran again in 2022 for Seat 5 and lost to Darron Ayscue in a runoff by 211 votes out of 4,415 cast. That election saw involvement from the Republican Party that provided funding to Ayscue’s efforts. The campaign also was marred by personal attacks on Minshew for her role as president of Fernandina Beach Pride.

City Commission seats are nonpartisan positions.

“Over the past two years, countless people have asked me to run and I have consistently said No. What changed my mind? I do not believe that an incumbent or any candidate should run unopposed, especially in an election as important as the one for our City Commission. I believe voters should have a choice,” she said.

Tuten is a retired AP Environmental Science teacher and a NOAA Climate Steward Educator. She was a member of the Middletown, Maryland Sustainability Committee, when she was awarded the 2020 Individual Frederick County Sustainability Award for her community work. Joyce is pursuing her Florida Master Naturalist designation. Tuten is a local activist for quality of life issues in Fernandina Beach and Amelia Island. She often speaks at city commission meetings regarding local issues.

She has voiced opposition to the construction of townhouses on the Tringali property and RYAM’s current efforts to build a bioethanol plant at its current facility.

She is also an officer for Conserve Nassau.

“Our City needs a new direction with a voice for the citizens. We want to preserve our sense of place. Our forests, wetlands and seashore, together with our historic district and working waterfront are the reason for it all. It’s why the tourists come, why our citizens stay and why so many want to make Fernandina their forever home,” Tuten said. “We don’t want more density. We don’t want historic homes torn down. We want livability. We want the citizens to be front of mind when decisions are made. Fernandina has to come first – not the developers, not the political machines – but the people! Fernandina is a world class tourist destination and we the people benefit from amenities that those tourist dollars bring. But our City Commissioners are leading us down the same path that has destroyed far too many Florida communities. Solutions exist that benefit both nature and our economy. We deserve a new path that preserves the very things that make our island home so special. Now and for generations to come.”

In the Seat 3 race, Kelly did not respond to The Observer requesting comment on why she is seeking a city commission seat. Kelly also did not provide any background information on why she feels she is qualified for the city commission.

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rocknrobin12@gmail.com
Noble Member
[email protected](@rocknrobin12gmail-com)
24 days ago

Please people! Vote for Joyce and Genece!

Ben Martin
Noble Member
Ben Martin(@ben-martin)
24 days ago

Since one of the candidates Tuten is a retired Environmental Science Teacher it would by nice to know her views on CO2 / Global Warming. They say the main function of public schools these days is to babysit and indoctrinate. That is not hard to believe if one investigates AZTEC software which is used to prepare students for the GED test. Numerous references are made to carbon footprints and rising sea levels. It is as if there is an effort to convince the population to kill all the cows and start eating bugs.

If you wanted to brain wash a population you would do it through entertainment, media, and academia.

If you spent your whole life in a job paid by tax dollars you may not have much regard for the 90% of America that is living paycheck to paycheck. We must bring back manufacturing. It is noted that Ms. Tuten is opposed to the bio-ethanol plant. CO2 emissions has been stated as a concern by other environmentalists.

It is said the the idea that CO2 is warming the atmosphere will one day be recognized as one of the biggest frauds perpetrated in the history of mankind. And generally speaking those who want to “save the planet” are the same control freaks that wanted your kids to wear masks all day in school.

So, Ms. Tuten, I have been monitoring global temperature with my smart phone for a long time now. Seems like things are getting cooler not warmer. What is your view on the CO2 thing? If you can show me anywhere on the planet where it is 120F on this very day (04/25/24) – I will pay you $20.

Last edited 24 days ago by Ben Martin
Mark Tomes
Trusted Member
Mark Tomes(@mtomes)
24 days ago
Reply to  Ben Martin

There are so many misstatements in Mr. Martin’s response that it is difficult to know where to begin. Our public school systems do a great job of educating children, especially when politicians don’t get in the way. And I don’t think monitoring CO2 on a phone comes anywhere near the data collected by thousands of scientists around the world that show that CO2 is causing a rapid increase in global warming. Joyce Tuten will be a wonderful commissioner. Anyone who has heard her lectures about global warming understands she is date-driven, common-sensible, and really cares about our community and our planet.

Ben Martin
Noble Member
Ben Martin(@ben-martin)
24 days ago
Reply to  Mark Tomes

Mr. Tomes, when 1/2 of the adult population in the United States can not add fractions with different denominators – something ain’t working right.

Science is all about verifying your ideas with real world observations. If it wasn’t for the TV none of us would know about global warming.

https://youtu.be/7W33HRc1A6c

Last edited 24 days ago by Ben Martin
MyFernandina
Active Member
MyFernandina(@myfernandina)
24 days ago

The absolute last thing this city needs are zealots and activists who believe they know best.
Voters want city commissioners who apply good judgement and fairness–not ideologies.
Commissioners who do not preach, who govern wisely, and who control spending.

ggarner
Noble Member
ggarner(@ggarner)
24 days ago
Reply to  MyFernandina

I say let the people decide. And if you genuinely support fairness, then give them the chance they deserve.

MyFernandina
Active Member
MyFernandina(@myfernandina)
23 days ago
Reply to  ggarner

Of course they can run–are they the best choices–I say we can do better.

mmonzon
Active Member
mmonzon(@mmonzon)
24 days ago

A nearby neighbor to the RYAM plant filed a petition for an Administrative Hearing aiming to show that emissions of toxic pollutants (NOx, SO2 and CO) will increase, exceeding the thresholds that trigger a Potential Significant Deterioration (PSD) review of air quality. I don’t think city residents will welcome breathingworse quality air.

NASA scientists document with facts climate change due to greenhouse gases (https://science.nasa.gov/climate-change/). Perhaps the nay-sayers will share their credentials to dispute those findings without quoting so-called scientists with shady backgrounds. As a former scientist, I stand with the NASA folks.

mmonzon
Active Member
mmonzon(@mmonzon)
24 days ago

Here’s a direct quote from NASA scientists:

“There is unequivocal evidence that Earth is warming at an unprecedented rate. Human activity is the principal cause”

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