By Dawn Krebs
FORT PIERCE — The race has narrowed from three candidates to two, but the closeness of the votes in the primary election caused R. Duke Nelson and Reginald Sessions to be on the ballot in November for Fort Pierce City Commission District 1, seat 3.
Hometown News asked the candidates the same questions about their campaigns. Their answers are below in alphabetical order.
Hometown News does not endorse any candidates for political office, but instead provides information about each candidate for voters to make an educated decision.
Name: R. Duke Nelson
Name: Reginald Sessions
Children: Two daughters, Maria and McKayla
Q: How long have you lived in St. Lucie County?
Nelson: 77 years
Sessions: Lifelong resident.
Q: Why should voters choose you?
Nelson: My experience, knowledge, availability and desire to work with others without causing divisiveness sets me apart from my opponent. My record is indicative of producing results and bringing city, state and federal dollars back to District 1. I offer better and stronger leadership, management and accountability. I will work to improve our business base, the port, housing and roads. Doing this will create more and better jobs. I will also work to reduce the cost of utilities charged by the Fort Pierce Utility Authority and strive to lower crime in our community.
Sessions: Because this election is for the people. My vision has been determined by the people and not me personally. I have personally canvassed and walked the streets of our entire city talking to the residents. Now I am ready to return to the commission to fulfill what the voters of District 1 desire, need and want for our city. The voters should also choose me because of my track record, of relentlessly fighting on the issue to lower our utility rates for our citizens and businesses. I will continue to stand in the forefront until something is done to relieve the citizens of this injustice.
Q: What are the top two issues you wish to see addressed?
Nelson: Job creation and poor management. During the past five years, there has been a steady loss of jobs, partly because of a weak economy, but mostly because of poor management within our city government. Our high utilities are but one example. I will apply common sense and an aggressive approach to creating new jobs in our community. I will utilize the assets such as the port and the airport to create and expand our job base. I will work to place city-owned property back on the tax roll and lower taxes.
Sessions: One of the most important issues facing the residents is a golden opportunity to put people to work in our city like never before. This economic engine can begin with the port of Fort Pierce. This effort was something that I spearheaded years ago, and it is now, I believe, finally coming into reality. This project will not only provide jobs, but be an economic boost for all of our local businesses and also be another funding source for our city government that could stop any future tax increases.
The second major issue is to continue the police department’s success rate in fighting crime. The crime rate has gone down substantially in our city over the past decades, but we must increase the moral rate of our police officers to guarantee the continued success rate. This must be done by stopping the turnover rate of our officers leaving by finding revenue to increase their salaries.
Q: If you could, what would be the one thing you would change in the city and why?
Nelson: I would replace the incumbent City Commissioner, Reggie Sessions, who is all talk and offers no positive action to lead us forward. He promised to lower utilities cost, and then voted to raise them. He feels it is all right to lie and he is too free with the taxpayer’s dollars. I will make the city of Fort Pierce more business friendly and insist that it places our citizen’s interests first.
Sessions: Bridging the gap between District 1 and District 2 would be the one thing I would change, so that we could work toward our common mission to make this city one of the greatest cities in America to live in, and accomplish it by a common goal of working together for the benefit of the entire city.