OKEECHOBEE – After a short sabbatical from politics, Noel Chandler has decided to get back in the saddle with a run for a city council seat. Chandler was born and raised in Okeechobee and is a seventh generation resident of Okeechobee on one side of the family and fifth generation on the other side. “I’ve seen this town go from dirt roads to four lane. There have been a lot of changes, some good and some bad.”
After graduating from Okeechobee High School, Chandler went to work for the Forestry Service. Soon though, Uncle Sam called and he spent four years in the Navy. When he got out of the service, he had a wreck and was badly injured and in the hospital for about a year. When he recovered, he hoped to work for the post office, but that did not work out. Instead, he went to work for the Water Management District, known as Flood Control back then. After 11 years with Water Mgt., he went to work for the Audubon Society for 13 years. A friend bought a boat to give swampland tours, and Chandler got his boat captain’s license so he could help with that. He began doing electrical work for Holiday Inn Express, but after an injury, he had to stop doing that type of work. He went to work driving a dump truck for B&B Site Development and stayed there for 13 years before retiring
Chandler was on the city council for a total of 16 years and served one term as a county commissioner. He has served on many boards including the Chamber of Commerce, Okeechobee Utility Authority, the Central Florida Regional Planning Council, the Tourist Development Council and the Charter Review Committee recently formed by the city. “I’ve always tried to get involved in as many boards as I could to see what’s coming in the future. We need to know so we can figure out how to handle things when they get here.”
If elected, he would like to do something about the condemned and abandoned houses just sitting in the city rotting. He would love to get rid of the double taxation city residents are subjected to as well, he said. “When those taxes were originally put in place, they were for services we no longer need or use. I’m gonna open that can of worms. They don’t want it open, but I’m gonna open it.” In addition, he would like to have every paved road platted.
Now that he is retired, he enjoys spending time with his wife of 51 years.
Chandler’s wife, Louise, said she has always admired the way her husband prepares for any meeting he is involved with. “He really does his research, and he is always prepared. He reads his agenda ahead of time, and then researches anything he wants to know more about, so when he gets to the meeting, he is ready for whatever comes up. It’s in his nature to know the answer before the question is asked.”
Chandler said, “I don’t want to just say I think. I want to say, ‘Here are the facts.’”