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Whiteaker Announces His CandidacyPublished: Wednesday, January 14, 2009 at 7:50 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 14, 2009 at 9:57 p.m.
BARTOW | Lake Wales businessman Heath Whiteaker has become the first candidate to file for the District 2 County Commission seat that is up for election in 2010.
The seat is now held by Commissioner Randy Wilkinson, who is prevented by the county's term limit rule from running for re-election.
"I feel like a lot of people that the government has stopped listening to the citizens," said Whiteaker, 30, a Republican. "I want to change that."
He said he'd like to reduce taxes and government spending by re-examining the focus of county government.
"Polk County is trying to be Orlando or Tampa," he said, and added that there's a lot of opposition to that from longtime residents.
Whiteaker, a Polk native who grew up in Frostproof, said a better approach may be to put more effort into ecotourism, which capitalizes on Polk's natural areas.
Although Whiteaker considered running for the District 3 seat in 2008, this is his first formal candidacy.
He has been active in politics. He was a supporter of unsuccessful presidential candidate Ron Paul and is a member of the Republican Liberty Caucus, which focuses on libertarian issues. He is a member of the Polk County Republican Executive Committee.
He is a member of Polk County Family Caregivers.
He said one of his goals is to expand the Polk County indigent health program.
Whiteaker attended the College of the Desert when he was in the U.S. Marine Corps and studied computer technology. He is involved in various computer-related businesses.
He and his wife, Stephanie, have two children.
Polk County commissioners serve four-year terms and are paid $41,328 a year.
[ Tom Palmer can be reached at tom.palmer@... or 863-802-7535. His blog on county government is at county.theledger.com. ]
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