Aaron Bell steps aside as Nassau Commission Chair as Hupp Huppmann launches campaign

By Wes Wolfe
June 30, 2022

Huppmann said a central factor to running is the need to serve the community that supported him before.
Nassau County Commissioner Aaron Bell

People who showed up and tuned in this week seeking further explanation from Nassau County Commissioner Aaron Bell on his DUI arrest didn’t get much, but the Commission underwent some changes, at least temporarily.

“As I’m sure you’re all aware, last week I was accused of operating my personal vehicle while under the influence, and I went through the arrest and booking process for those accusations,” Bell said at the outset of the week’s Board of County Commissioners meeting.

“I will be responding to those claims completely through the legal process. I feel that any discussion of this matter during the current meeting or other subsequent meetings, would only serve to distract from the important work of this Board. For this reason, effective immediately, I am abstaining from any further action as Chairman of both the Board of County Commissioners and the (Amelia Island) Tourist Development Council for the remainder of my term as Chairman.”

The Tourist Development Council met Wednesday.

“I would recommend that (Commissioner Jeff) Gray assume the role of Chairman, but I leave that decision to you fine gentlemen,” Bell said.

He deferred to County Attorney Denise May on the policy and the procedure to do so, and reaffirmed his commitment to representing the people of District 2, and the larger county, on the Commission.

Gray was already the Vice Chairman and at times filled in for Bell in meetings Bell couldn’t attend. Commissioners chose Gray to move into the Chairman’s role for the duration of this term, with Commissioner John Martin joining the Tourist Development Council.


A. M. Hupp Hupman

Hupp Huppmann, a military veteran and locally well-known entertainer, is challenging Bell for the seat in an open Republican Primary. Huppmann kicked off his campaign Friday with an event at Sliders Seaside Grille in Fernandina Beach.

Huppmann acknowledged the attendance of some notable folks, including Martin, and his wife, Donna. Donna Martin is the Nassau County School Board Chairwoman.

He said a central factor to running is the need to serve, reflecting on the support the community gave to the Foar From Home veteran suicide prevention effort he and others organized.

“I don’t believe for one second that combative and provocative slogans are going to solve any problems for the citizens of Nassau County,” Huppmann said.

“I trust that you all feel the same way. In fact, I’m going to take it one step further, and I’m going to repeat, good leaders know those kind of tactics serve to make things worse. Solutions are found when both sides of an issue come together, work together, and reach a mutually beneficial solution — it’s basically called the win-win. That’s how you get things done. That’s what we’re going to do.”

While Huppmann didn’t elaborate on the “provocative slogans” remark, Bell sided with Amelia Island residents over Riverstone Properties in a 3-2 Commission votethat means the county goes head-to-head with Riverstone in a Bert Harris Act challenge.

The developer wants to build 11 towers on the south end of the island with 85-foot maximum heights, with the only notable concession to the public being a beach access area that’s near two other public beach access areas.

Bell closes out his campaign bio with the statement he “believes that those that would do harm to Nassau County can pound sand and we will see them in court.”

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Nicholas Velvet
Nicholas Velvet (@guest_65580)
1 year ago

Wonderful in theory Gents but in the real world certain “events” cannot be solved by “coming together”. You either maintain a rule of law or have chaos. You either hold the line( a military term it seems should be well recognized) or cave. I see the old Joni Mitchell song emerging…..”put up a parking lot”. Wake Up Amelia!

Yvonne Diamico
Yvonne Diamico (@guest_65586)
1 year ago

Commissioner Bell has slow-walked the concerns of the residents on Ameilia Concourse and the surrounding area on A1A about the Rayonier dump of organic materials. He jumps right in with lawsuit threats against Riverstone putting the whole county on the hook for millions of dollars, if he loses. But his large campaign contributions come from the south end of the island and local business. All of these problems should have been addressed long ago. Now he has a DUI and the first thing he tells the officer is my wife is a lawyer.
Nassau County can do better. Let’s get someone who can work for all of us and the not

Last edited 1 year ago by Yvonne Diamico
Kathi Donegan
Kathi Donegan (@guest_65591)
1 year ago
Reply to  Yvonne Diamico

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but there are Democrats in this County as well. So when you speak of representing all of us, I hope you mean that. We all take part in enriching and serving this community.