OKEECHOBEE — Okeechobee County officials would like to open more local businesses, but their hands are tied by the governor’s executive order.
At the April 30 county commission meeting, County Attorney Wade Vose said county regulations can be more strict than those set by the state, but they can’t be more lenient. The county attorney advised that openly defying an executive order could be something that would be basis for suspending or removing the county commissioners.
“If we were to openly defy the governor, word would get out pretty quickly. The hammer would come down not just on us, but on our county businesses,” said Commissioner Kelly Owens. “A better approach is maybe for us to clearly voice our concerns.”
“Bartenders and waitresses have not gotten to work in a month,” said Commissioner Brad Goodbread. “Our people are hurting.”
Commissioner Owens said they should encourage other elected officials as well as business owners and area residents to contact the governor’s office with their views.
“It’s the numbers of voices he hears that will really have the impact,” she said.
“Encourage not just our county but all of the rural counties and all those businesses to get together and make sure the message is heard over and over and over again,” said Commissioner Owens.
“It’s the personal stories that have an impact,” said Commissioner Owens. “Get those personal stories in writing. That’s what makes it real. It is real on our end. They don’t know that until they hear those personal stories.”
Commissioner David Hazellief suggested the county send a resolution to the governor, asking to allow the county to reopen businesses. The other commissioners agreed.
“Write a letter. Take it to the post office. Send it return registered receipt,” said Commissioner Bryant Culpepper. “If each individual person or business owner sat down and wrote a letter, that will have an impact.”
• Send letters to the governor at:
Office of Governor Ron DeSantis
State of Florida
• Call the governor’s office at 850-717-9337.
• To email the governor, go online to flgov.com/contact-governor and click on “email Governor DeSantis.”