LABELLE — Lake Okeechobee News and Caloosa Belle Independent reached out to candidates running for Hendry County Board of County Commissioners and Hendry County School District in the Aug. 23, 2022, primary elections.
Hendry County BOCC candidates were invited to respond to the same questions regarding their candidacy.
Below are the responses from Republican Emory Howard, who is running for District 2 commissioner against Republican Matt Rentz.
Properly managing the current and future growth in Hendry County is the most “pressing” issue we are facing at present. The amount and rate of growth in our county is driving many issues we are facing. Schools, goods and services, places of worship, roads and travel, along with the safety and well-being of our residents, are being impacted and in some cases stretched beyond what is an expected level of service by those who live in Hendry County.
In order to support the infrastructure, which are the underpinnings of the things our residents and visitors use and expect, my intent is to evaluate past planning as it relates to where we are as your county government and “troubleshoot” those areas so we as a county can reach the place where we should be in relation to the growth. This includes areas such as, but not limited to, emergency services, law enforcement, emergency management, youth sports and recreation, utilities and other areas where county government is responsible for providing an appropriate level and standard of performance to the people of Hendry County.
One of my roles as a Chief Officer during hurricanes and other large events such as a presidential visit, was in the “planning section.” Planning for the future event, the current event, next operational period and planning for the impact after the event has concluded. Planning for these events often came with very short time to be ready. Proper planning eliminates excess spending, impractical procedures, and moves a project from concept to reality. While there are other methods to ensuring successful outcomes of managing rapid growth, I believe proper planning is vital to our success.
I do support developer/owner impact fees for commercial and residential construction. I believe it is a vital funding source to support the growth of required infrastructure without unduly burdening the taxpayers who currently live in and support our community. We must also look at other funding sources that have the least amount of impact on our community and doesn’t bind us to unacceptable mandates.
I believe the local small business is the “lifeblood” of our economy and I believe agriculture in our county, state, and nation is essential to our very existence. When there is an imbalance of commercial growth compared to residential growth, jobs and the support of our business community goes elsewhere. I believe Hendry County has been working hard to improve our community by encouraging small business to locate here and I commit to doing the things that continues that process.
We reside in LaBelle outside of the City Limits.
I am retired from the Airport Rescue and Fire Fighting Department as a Battalion Chief. I served 32 years with the Airport as well as serving on the LaBelle Fire Department, and Henry County EMS.
My wife and I own Southwest Florida Safety Consulting which was incorporated in 1992. Our office is located in LaBelle, and we service clients from Texas to Virginia, and states in the mid-west.
I have not run for office in the past. I have served on various boards in Hendry and Lee Counties that support local governments and entities.
I currently serve as board member and Safety Officer for LaBelle Little League and Trustee with Carlson United Methodist Church in LaBelle.
I am married to Charlene P. Howard, one daughter and two grandchildren.
We do not have a website but we have a Facebook page, Emory “Rowdy” Howard for Hendry County Commissioner District #2.
I will bring with me my passion and compassion for the “well-being” and protection of all who live and visit Hendry County. I was raised in Hendry County for which I was extremely blessed and have made LaBelle home my entire life. I intend to live out my life here in Hendry County and help those who will come after me, to have such a wonderful place to grow up and raise a family.
For the majority of my fire service career, I was responsible for the planning, funding, preparation, and execution of the decisions that protect the life and well-being, those whom I was chosen to serve. I truly believe we are servants to the people who elect and place their trust in us.