Don Elwell makes campaign announcement


County Commissioner Don Elwell explains to the 85-90 people at Tuesday’s town hall meeting that he prayed and asked advice all over the county on whether to run for state office in 2020, run again for county commissioner in 2022 or run for Clerk of Courts in 2020. He chose Clerk of Courts, where he will run against two local candidates, including the current deputy clerk.

SEBRING — County Commissioner Don Elwell said he had four choices of public office in front of him.

He could run for Florida House District 55 in 2020, soon to be vacated by Rep. Cary Pigman, R-Avon Park; he could run for Highlands County Clerk of Courts in 2020, soon to be vacated by Bob Germaine; he could run for re-election to Board of County Commission District 1 in 2022, when his term ends; or he could just retire in 2022 after 12 years on the board.

He chose Clerk of Courts and made the announcement at Tuesday’s town hall meeting in Avon Park.

“I think that I can help the most people, and the most people that I care about, by staying in Highlands County,” Elwell said.

Elwell said he’d spent the last three months or so “soul-searching” and struggling to figure out the best direction for himself, his family, the county and residents.

Elwell will seek the office along with fellow Republican candidates who have already filed: Deputy Clerk Gerome Kaszubowski and Road and Bridge Department Director Kyle Green.

Both were present at the town hall meeting.

Elwell was first elected to office in 2010, and was last re-elected in 2018, without opposition.

He was born and raised in the northern suburbs of Chicago, but has lived in Florida more than half of his life, graduating with honors from Florida Atlantic University with a bachelor’s in accounting.

He has had a 30-year career as management of hospitality and retail, before getting an opportunity to return to Florida and move to Highlands County in 2002. Now, he serves as director of Marketing and Communications for the Alan Jay Automotive Network.

For 15 years, Elwell has served on more than 20 different boards and committees while volunteering for dozens more events and organizations each year.

Elwell and his wife, Sheri, live in Spring Lake, have seven children and 10 grandchildren.

He is certified as a county commissioner and advanced county commissioner by the Florida Association of Counties (FAC).

During this fiscal year, he has served as county budget liaison for the Board of County Commission and on the following committees and boards: CareerSource Heartland Investment Board, Central Florida Regional Planning Council, Children’s Services Council, Lake Istokpoga Management Committee, Transportation Disadvantaged Local Coordinating Board, Recreation and Parks Advisory Committee, Small County Coalition Representative, and Heartland Regional Transportation Planning Organization.

He also serves regionally as chair of the Heartland CrimeStoppers board, as treasurer of The Salvation Army of Highlands County and as a voting member of the FAC Florida County Foundation Board, United Way of Central Florida, Suntrust “Sebring Strong” Survivors Fund Board and South Florida State College Foundation Board.


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