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Oliver, Robertson to square off for Ocoee commission seat

Instant Photo Poster
Norine Dworkin

Editor in Chief

Monday, April 17, 2023


George Oliver III (left) and Nate Robertson filed to run for District 4 city commissioner. Oliver vacated the seat to run unsuccessfully for mayor in March.

Former District 4 City Commissioner George Oliver III and Nate Robertson filed to run in Ocoee’s special election for District 4 city commissioner. The qualifying period begins Friday and runs through the following Friday, April 28. The election will be June 13.

The special election could cost Ocoee taxpayers an estimated $8,000 to $10,000, depending on whether there is a run-off, City Clerk Melanie Sibbett told VoxPopuli in an email.

The winner will fill out the remaining two years of Oliver’s term. He vacated his seat to run unsuccessfully for mayor. He filed to reclaim his seat March 23, nine days after losing the mayor’s race to incumbent Mayor Rusty Johnson. But he may find it tough going. In his home district, Oliver only captured about 40 percent of the vote.

Oliver did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Ocoee’s first Black city commissioner, Oliver, a Democrat, was elected in 2018 and re-elected in 2021. He campaigned for mayor on a platform that included an operational audit, making the part-time city commissioner jobs full-time, bringing sanitation services back under city control, creating a tech hub and supporting the arts, the West Oaks Mall and minority-, women- and veteran-owned businesses — issues that are all likely to remain priorities.

Oliver also highlighted requiring that elected officials not “misuse their public position for their own or others’ private gain.”

However, VoxPopuli found that in kicking off his mayoral campaign, Oliver may have violated campaign finance law himself with a video shot in City Hall that solicited donations. It is a violation of Florida statute to solicit campaign contributions in government buildings.

Robertson who lives in Arden Park North, has been campaigning for the city commission seat since January after being defeated by LaVon Bracy Davis to represent District 40 in the Florida House during the midterm elections.

In answer to a question posted on his Facebook page about what he stands for, Robertson, a Republican, responded:

“I want to be a voice for the residents of District 4 … I want to work on making sure that our city is well positioned for continued growth. I want to continue to see Ocoee be a great place to live. I am concerned about traffic and the roads and want to work with the county and the city to make sure that traffic concerns are being worked on. I want to be a voice of fiscal responsibility with our city funds and work to continue to reduce property taxes. I want to make sure that the police and fire departments have the funding they need to protect and defend Ocoee.”

The city commission will name an interim commissioner Tuesday who will fill the seat until the election.

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