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The Duval Soil and Water Conservation District has 5 voting Supervisor positions who serve at-large to all 918 square miles and ~948,651 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 2020, Groups 2 and 4 were on the ballot. Supervisors John R. Barnes (2) and Ashantae Green (4) were elected and sworn into office.
In November of 2022, Groups 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 are on the ballot. This is unusual and marks a restructuring of conservation district law in the FL Legislature. After a bill to abolish conservation districts failed to get traction, legislators amended the proposed bill to add new criteria to qualify to hold this office. Barnes is not seeking reelection and Green is a candidate for Group 4. Elected candidates for Groups 2 and 4 will serve a 2-year term and elected candidates for Groups 1, 3, and 5 will serve a 4-year term.
CANDIDATE IN GROUP 1: Tiffany Bess
CANDIDATE IN GROUP 2: Kym Wallace Maye
CANDIDATES IN GROUP 3: Eugene Ford III and Demetris Harrison
CANDIDATE IN GROUP 4: Ashantae Green
CANDIDATES IN GROUP 5: Ray (R.J.) Deacon Jr. and Bryson Kade Morgan
The candidate's photograph and statement are supplied by the candidate and are not endorsed by Duval Soil and Water Conservation District or checked for accuracy.
Group 1, Tiffany Bess
"She’s got soil in her soul, the St. Johns in her veins, and a servant’s heart. Tiffany Bess’s love for her community, and planet, is what drives her every step. Growing up in the rural outskirts of Jacksonville, she has been surrounded by farm workers her whole life. And even though she moved to the “big city” as a young adult, she soon found her hands deep in the soil once again when she created Jacksonville’s first food scrap composting business in 2015. After the launch of her business, she helped create the Gastrofest Green Action Committee and then took over the leadership role the following year. She was then invited to join the board for The Elements, the young professionals group at our beloved cultural institution MOSH. This led to her becoming the President of the Elements and a Board of Trustees member for the museum. She was a founding member of the North Florida Green Chamber of Commerce and consulted with the group on projects including a resource database for hard to recycle items. And her next big adventure will be serving as the Education Director for Compost Jax, our city’s first industrial composting business. But the group that has captured her heart the most is the Duval Soil & Water Conservation District. She has volunteered as an affiliate member and community liaison for the board for nearly 4 years and is eager to continue her service in helping the District to promote the conservation of the natural resources of Duval County, Florida."
Group 2, Kym Wallace Maye
Candidate did not provide a statement or a photo.
Group 3, Eugene Ford III
“Greetings! My name is Eugene Ford III, I am a graduate of Paxon School for Advanced Studies with a Bachelor’s of Science in Agricultural Operations Management with a focus in Construction Planning from the University of Florida. I’ll be transparent in saying that I don’t have a large dose of belief in the political and policy making system as it stands in the United States, however with the little bit I do have I helped with a campaign for the same office Im running for because I saw tangible change in the 2 years from that person running for office and holding the position, and the term “grass roots” felt like more of a double entendre than ever, sparking hope as well as encouraging action in me to be the difference I want to see. That may sound a cliché euphemism but as you get to know me more you will see that I am the “anti-politician” in the sense that I will not change my core essence in order to earn your vote or your donation, it will be because of my differences from the norm that I hope to achieve your trust, because we deserve radical changes to the benefit of all. Vote for me on November 8th, this is only the beginning of my disruption to the powers that be. Power to the People! Gene For The Peeps! Follow @gene4thepeeps on Instagram where I will be most active, I am a millennial after all.”
Group 3, Demetris Harrison
"Demetris Harrison is president of the Jax Lions Quest Cyber Club, an organization that works towards fostering a better community for unprivileged youth. Originally from South Carolina, Demetris grew up as a military brat. After graduating high school, Demetris joined the United States Navy, which led him to the beautiful city of Jacksonville, Florida. Demetris has resided in Jacksonville for over 20 years. A father of two, son, brother, uncle, and a grandfather to a handsome little grandson. Demetris is running for the DSWCD position for a couple of reasons. First and foremost, he believes it is his civic duty and responsibility to give back to the beautiful city of Jacksonville. Furthermore, he is committed to doing his part to ensure that the future generations will have environmental sustainability. With his background as a Call Center Manager for two global companies, Demetris honed his skills to be known to be a motivational thinker with unique abilities in driving results. A dynamic leader with experience in Research & Metric analysis. Reputation as a self-directed individual skilled at developing strong relationships with clients of varying backgrounds. Demetris is confident that he will bring that same creativity, collaborative spirit, and commitment to Soil and Water Conservation (DSWCD) position. If elected, Demetris will work indefatigable to address the Soil and Water Conservation issues."
Group 4, Ashantae Green
Candidate did not provide a statement or a photo.
Group 5, Ray (R.J.) Deacon Jr.
"Ray “R.J” was born in Staunton, Virginia. Growing up off a dirt road on his parent’s farm in Augusta County which they raised corn, soybeans, chickens, and cattle. Ray enjoyed helping his mother with her well known "enormous vegetable garden" every season. He graduated from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Va. in 2001 with Bachelor of Arts in Business. He then moved to Lexington, Kentucky. to pursue a new job and in which he became involved with many numerous community organizations such as the Kentucky River Keepers and as an active volunteer with the PRIDE Spring Cleanup to collecting over 700 bags of trash at Cumberland Falls. He then moved to Jacksonville in 2019 to pursue a life’s dream to live by the beach, with his husband of 20 years, along with their 3 dogs and cat. After moving to Jacksonville, Ray saw a that Jacksonville needed a change in OUR local environment. He made a clear-cut decision to become a candidate to educate and encourage change to protect OUR water, soil, and beaches. Ray understands that clean soil and water is a necessity for our community now and for future generations. His campaign has also been endorsed by Florida NOW Pac and The Victory Fund."
Group 5, Bryson Kade Morgan
“My name is Bryson Kade Morgan and I am running. Running to be your next voice for Duval County Soil and Water Conservation District 5. As a resident here in Jacksonville, Living on the Southside for the past Seven Years I have seen what overdevelopment has done to our ecosystem. Growing up in Northwest Rural Georgia tending to the family farms I know what is needed for our community. As a recent Graduate of Atlantic Coast High School, it is time we have a Young, Youthful voice in our ecosystem talks as it is drowned out by those who no longer see the issue as a sustainable issue but another can to kick down the road. This is why I ask for your Vote on November 8th, as we need a voice for not only the Future of Jacksonville, but for the Future of Northeast Florida.”