By Jessica Tuggle
FELLSMERE - During the November general election, Fellsmere voters will have to choose two city council members from a field of four candidates.
The incumbent, Joel Tyson, is running for re-election. One other candidate, Michael Barone, has been on city council previously, while the other two, Fernando Herrera and Jessica Salgado, have not previously held office. The second seat opened up after current Councilman Daniel Naranjo decided against running for re-election.
Mr. Tyson and Ms. Salgado are featured in this article.
Ms. Salgado has lived in Fellsmere for a little more than 10 years and has been interested in politics for some time. She received her associates in science degree in political science from Indian River State College. At 21, she is the youngest candidate for Fellsmere City Council.
Ms. Salgado currently works in retail.
Though she is interested in politics, she is aware that not many people her age have such an inclination and don't participate in city affairs, and their perspective is rarely heard.
"I want to step up and represent the young people," Ms. Salgado said.
Being on council would be a learning experience for her, but could also turn into a learning experience for the other council members.
"I will learn from them and they could learn from me, from my generation. But I would be learning a lot from them," she said.
Increasing tourism to Fellsmere is something Ms. Salgado is interested in pursuing should she be elected to council.
"It's a good thing for the city so we are on the map and people know where we're at," Ms. Salgado said.
The scenic byway and park area and the National Elephant Center that are already in the works for the city are an excellent direction for the city to take, she said.
Mr. Tyson, who has lived in the city more than 50 years, has served on Fellsmere City Council off and on since 1998. He was selected as mayor from 2001-03.
His experience on city matters, and desire to make sure the future of Fellsmere moves into the future instead of backtracking to the past, are the reasons for his re-election campaign.
There are several exciting projects in the works that he is certain will contribute to the positive growth of Fellsmere including the construction of the National Elephant Center, the extension of a natural gas pipeline into the city, a shrimp farm, new retail businesses and a restored hotel.
"I want to make sure that everything keeps moving forward," Mr. Tyson said.
The elephant center expects to have elephants on the property as soon as the beginning of the New Year, he said.
Although the facility will not be open to the public, like zoos or safari parks are, it will be used as a training center for individuals working with elephants. Not only will this bring more attention but tourism dollars to Fellsmere, he said.
"They will bring people here to train and they will need a place to stay. That's a great thing for Fellsmere," Mr. Tyson said.
Rowing and swimming clubs from northern states are finding Indian River County, specifically the C-54 canal and the North County Aquatic Center, as excellent places to train during the winter months and are big contributors to the local economy, he said.
With events such as the Fellsmere Frog Leg Festival, the Sebastian Clambake and the law enforcement games, Fellsmere is in an excellent position to make an impression on a great number of people, and should population growth occur, it also has the infrastructure in place, Mr. Tyson said.
He is very pleased with the work of city manager Jason Nunemaker and is excited to continue working with him and helping the projects come to fruition should he be re-elected.
Hometown News is attempting to contact all candidates for Fellsmere City Council for a profile.
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