The Duval Soil and Water Conservation District has 5 voting Supervisor positions who serve at-large to all 918 square miles and ~913,000 people of Duval County with no political affiliation. The seats are numbered, Group 1-5. Every 2 years, a staggered amount of seats are open for re-election. In 2016, Group 2 and 4 were on the ballot. Supervisors Hunter Anderson (2) and Nelson Greene (4) were elected and sworn into office. Nelson Greene resigned in 2017 and his vacated seat was filled through a majority vote of Supervisors by Affiliate Member, Ed Wright in January 2018.
In November of 2018, Groups 1, 3 and 5 are on the ballot. The seats are currently held by Allen Moore (1), Shannon Blankinship (3), and Dan Evans Jr. (5). Shannon and Dan are both not seeking reelection, while Allen Moore has filed to run for a second term in Group 1.
CANDIDATES IN GROUP 1 ARE: Stephen Doty, Binod Kumar, Allen L. Moore & Dewitt Robinson
CANDIDATES IN GROUP 3 ARE: Sel Buyuksarac, Jennifer Casey & Russell Pelle
CANDIDATES IN GROUP 5 ARE: Robert M. Abene & James Cook
The following information below has been provided by each candidate.
GROUP 1, ALLEN L. MOORE
I am Allen L. Moore, candidate for the Duval Soil and Water Conservation District (Duval SWCD) Board of Supervisors - Group 1.
I have been an active supporter, assistant and advisor to Soil and Water Conservation Districts, throughout the State of Florida (approximately 14 different counties). My affiliations have been as a Soil Scientist, Soil Conservationist and District Conservationist, as an employee of the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). In these positions, I provided administrative and technical assistance in the planning and implementation of programs and projects that facilitated the conservation of the natural resources, in the associated areas. During my employment with the NRCS. I also served as a Supervisor, Manager, Trainer, Recruiter, and Mentor of the employees, under my supervision. I also served as a Trainer for new Conservation District Board Members and as a Trainer and Supervisor of employees of the associated Districts, including the Duval SWCD.
I was appointed to the Duval SWCD Board, by the existing Board members, in September 2017 and elected as Chairman of the Board, in January 2018, because of my dedication, vast experiences and qualifications. Your Vote and Support, on November 6, 2018, will be greatly appreciated.
GROUP 3, SEL BUYUKSARAC
Sel Buyuksarac, the son of two retired teachers, has been passionate about education his entire life. He turned that passion into his career by co-founding River City Science Academy, the first charter school in Duval County to be granted an “A” grade by the Florida Department of Education. If elected to serve on the Duval Soil and Water Conservation District, Sel will use his passion and career to further promote DSWCD’s education programs and he will provide a unique perspective to increase their success. Sel wishes for the Jacksonville community to be responsible stewards of the environment and our natural resources so that future generations can enjoy them as much as we do. Visit my Facebook page to learn more.
GROUP 3, JENNIFER CASEY
As the granddaughter of farmers, I want to continue their legacy of environmental stewardship. I grew up on the Westside and now live in North Jacksonville with my husband of 19 years and our three children. I have a M.A. in Instructional Design and a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Central Florida and have taught at Jacksonville schools for the last seven years.
My experience as an educator will help me fulfill the District’s primary mission of educating the community about conservation, improvement and sustainability. I will introduce conservation education programs for elementary students. I also support improving the existing educational programs, the Start Farming Panel and Farmers Market, and the local working groups which bring together agricultural and natural resources interests in Duval County.
I have served numerous community organizations and have directed summer outreach programs for children for the last 15 years. I’m endorsed by the Sierra Club, a member of the St. Johns Riverkeeper, and a current volunteer for Duval Soil & Water Conservation District. You can trust me to dedicate myself to the responsibility of non-salaried elected office and to work alongside elected officials and civic leaders to preserve our beautiful natural resources for future generations. Visit votejennifercasey.com to learn more. Or find me on Facebook @caseyforsoilandwater and Twitter @JenniferCaseyFL.
GROUP 5, ROBERT M. ABENE
As an educator and active participant in community activities, I am very interested in being elected to Group 5 of the Duval Soil and Water Conservation District. When I was President of Marian University, I organized a group of students, faculty and staff to clear out garbage from the wetlands and forested area adjacent to the University to protect that environment and its many animals; and with the help of the Audubon Society and other donors, a nature educational center for the community was developed.
I strongly believe that the water and land that all creatures including us live on must be protected. I also believe that educating our young and all of us on the importance of conservation is extremely necessary for the continued development of Duval’s present and future community. My current and past professional involvement can be reviewed on LinkedIn.
GROUP 5, JAMES COOK
Mr. James Cook is from Charlotte, North Carolina. Mr. Cook has resided in Jacksonville, Florida for 13 years. Mr. Cook obtained a Bachelors of Arts in Criminal Justice from Edward Waters College. Also, Mr Cook obtained an Masters of Science degree from Everest University. Currently, Mr. Cook works as a Security Officer. During Mr. Cook’s collegiate tenure at Edward Waters College, Mr. Cook joined the Social Intergration committee. During the tenure of the committee, Mr. Cook seen that the environment that surrounds Jacksonville needs help. Also, during the infancy of the New Town Success Zone, Mr. Cook was a part of handing out surveys for the communities that surrounded Edward Waters College. Mr. Cook observed what a change can do to a person confidence or hope after explaining the mission of the surveys and the purpose of the organization. Mr. Cook decided to step up and become a candidate for change with the environment and promote environmental equality for all citizens here in the communities of Jacksonville, Florida. Mr. Cook believes that soil and water is a necessity for growth and sustainability of our environment. Therefore, our actions that we implement today will help Jacksonville for years to come.
Contact James with any questions you have about his campaign for Duval Soil and Water, Group 5.
Email; (904) 329-6547; cookforsoilandwater.com; Facebook @jamescookforcleanwater
To have a healthy and active Soil and Water Conservation District, a competitive and functioning election process is critical. None of the statements within this post should be interpreted as an endorsement or seeking favor. Thank you for the time, and looking into each candidate.
Author, Shannon Blankinship
Chairman, Duval Soil and Water Conservation District