Winter Garden Election 2024
Unopposed, Sharman retains his District 4 seat; Maciel withdraws from District 3 race
Editor in Chief
Saturday, November 18, 2023
District 4 Commissioner Colin Sharman (left), District 3 Commissioner Mark Maciel
When Winter Garden's election qualifying period ended at noon Nov. 14, Colin Sharman had no challenger for his seat, and so he will subsequently be re-seated on Winter Garden’s commission for his seventh term as District 4 commissioner. It will be his 18th year in office when he is officially sworn-in in March 2024.
Speaking to VoxPopuli by phone Friday between holes at a charity golf event, Sharman said he was “pleasantly surprised” to find himself unopposed. He added that it felt "good" to keep his seat so that he could continue his work.
“Especially with everything I had to do with Marsh Road," he said. "That just got finished, so I’m very proud of that.”
Sharman was also a key driver behind the efforts to establish Tucker Ranch Wellness Park and to locate a second fire station in District 4 to accommodate the area's growth. A temporary station recently opened on Avalon Road while the new station is under construction.
And in District 3 ... just two days after qualifying closed, on Nov. 16, Commissioner Mark Maciel withdrew from the election, leaving a two-woman race between first-time candidates Chloe Johnson and Karen MacNeil. Both are from East Winter Garden.
A retired Air Force veteran, Maciel won his seat in a special election in 2017 when then-Commissioner Bobby “O” Olszewski vacated it to run unsuccessfully for county commission. Maciel then fought a hard-won campaign against Olszewski to hold on to it in 2021.
By the end of his term, Maciel will have served eight years on the commission, after serving six on the Planning and Zoning Board. He’s done many things in those eight years, but he told VoxPopuli he was especially proud of helping to secure the $20 million in Community Redevelopment Agency funding for East Winter Garden, as well as assisting with annexations, shepherding the Dyson Plaza project and spotting properties for the city to purchase and then donate to Habitat for Humanity for affordable housing construction.
“It’s been my honor to serve the residents of Winter Garden,” Maciel said Friday by phone as he was traveling. “It’s time to take a step back and encourage new leadership in District 3.”
Maciel is throwing his support behind Johnson, who served on the Community Redevelopment Agency Advisory Board and the Planning and Zoning Board.
“I’ve been working with Chloe, and I’ve see what she’s done on the CRA Board, her leadership on Planning and Zoning and with One Winter Garden. I think it’s a great next step for her, and she’ll be a great leader for District 3.”
Maciel says he plans to stay involved with the community in other ways. At that moment, he doesn’t know what shape that will take but says, “There’s a lot of work to do."