Candidate Mandy David seeks 'connection' in running for Town Council
Tuesday, February 2, 2021
Mandy David: Windermere needs cell phone towers.
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Mandy David, 44, is hoping that with Robert McKinley and Liz Andert deciding not to seek re-electtion, come Election Day, one of the two open seats on Windermere’s Town Council will be hers. (Incumbent Bill Martini is running to keep his seat.)
A West Orange native who lived in Ocoee and Pine Hills before settling in Windermere 10 years ago, David was drawn to the town’s historic charm, old growth trees and dirt roads. “We always wanted to be in a small town,” says David who’s married with two children, 16 and 21.
David, who grew up with a father who is deaf and was homeschooled for most of her education, developed an easy facility with American Sign Language, her “first language,” she says. She bypassed college and headed straight into providing interpreting services for the deaf/hard of hearing. Now she’s president of her own company, JFD Communications, which provides clients with interpreters for educational settings, conferences, doctors appointments and other situations.
VoxPopuli editor Norine Dworkin sat down with David in the garden behind Windermere’s Town Hall for a socially distanced conversation about her candidacy.
Norine Dworkin: This is your first foray into government. Why run for town council?
Mandy David: The one thing I would love is the connection. I live in The Manors, right by Windermere Elementary, and we’re at a little bit of a disconnect from the town. I would love to have that connection to downtown residents and see their concerns because we have different concerns and issues than down here. I just want to get to know everybody more and see if I can make a difference.
ND: What are the concerns in The Manors?
MD: Some of the things have gotten fixed. School traffic was the big issue, and that actually got fixed when they put the roundabout in [at Park and Maguire], which was fantastic.
ND: What’s another issue that you would handle as a council member?
MD: The stop sign at Windermere Road. It still gets backed up on Main Street, on both sides of the stop sign. I would love to see what kind solutions and ideas we could come up with for there.
ND: What’s your idea for fixing that?
MD: Honestly, I don’t … I would like to see what the town has thought about because I’m sure they’ve thought about things that I’ve already thought about. I want to wait and see what the council has to say.
ND: You don’t want to share what your ideas are?
MD: No, because it might be a repetitive thing and be something that won’t work. I’d like to bounce it off the council first.
ND: Is there anything else on your agenda?
MD: I really don’t have an agenda per se. I’d just love to have the connection because I feel like we’re so disconnected. There is one thing that I was pleased to hear is that they’re making the bridge that goes from Park Avenue and Main Street bigger. Right now, you can’t get by when you’re walking and biking. It would be nice to come downtown without having to drive and find parking. That was one issue I was going to bring up, and then I found out we were doing it.
ND: What do you think are the biggest issues facing Windermere right now?
MD: Traffic is one of them. It’s been a big one for a while now. And I think cell phones. We don’t have any towers out here. We’ve always had issues with dropped calls. We actually switched from AT&T to Verizon because we couldn’t use our phones in our house when we moved out here. I would say traffic and cell phones and keeping the town quaint and preserving its history. That’s really important. I don’t think it gets overlooked, but I think we could do better.
ND: If elected, how will you help diversify the many boards and committees that help run Windermere’s town government?
MD: That’s an excellent question. I’m glad you asked that. I’m hoping we can get more women involved, more POC [people of color] involved. It would be great to have … it’s a solid… it’s not diverse. I’d love to see more inclusion and to see if I couldn’t change that a little bit.
ND: Do you have a plan for making that happen? Usually people tap their friends to sit on committees and boards.
MD: I hope that me being in The Manors will open the doors to diversity and inclusion. We have a lot of that in The Manors, so it would be nice to have people we could pull in from The Manors. And I’m sure the other neighborhoods probably have a lot of inclusivity that we don’t have right now, and it would be nice to pull them in and say, Hey would you like to serve?
ND: Florida is still hard-hit by the coronavirus. January was our deadliest month. Even the Trump White House Coronavirus Task Force admonished Florida to do more mitigation efforts to contain the virus. What would you do to protect Windermere?
MD: I would just keep insisting on the mask and washing hands and social distancing. And no gatherings bigger than 10 to 15 people. I don’t think you need to have those.
Need to register to vote? Go to registertovote.gov to register by February 8.
Election Day is March 9. Polls will be open 7 A.M. to 7 P.M.
Early voting is March 1 to 5 at the Supervisor of Elections office 119 West Kaley Street, Orlando, FL 32806 8 A.M. to 5 P.M.
If you voted by mail in the general election, you should receive a ballot for the municipal election. Such requests are meant to be good for two elections. But check your status to be sure. https://ocfelections.com/vote-by-mail