OKEECHOBEE – After her son’s graduation from high school last year, Okeechobee native Beth Lehman decided it was time to do her part for the town she loves so much.
Lehman is a second generation Okeechobeean. Her mother, Catherine Wilkinson, taught school here for 40 years before her retirement, and Lehman went to Okeechobee schools until her graduation from Okeechobee High School in 1981. She has a bachelor’s degree in marketing but when she came back to Okeechobee, could not find a job in that field.
After working around town for a while, she met and married Eddie Lehman. She and her husband started an accessory shop in the building where their body shop is located today. Later, his parents, who had the body shop, combined their business with Eddie and Beth’s.
Lehman’s son, Patrick, was a “Rona” graduate and was very active in the Junior Cattlemen’s Association. He began showing cattle at age 8, and his parents traveled all over the country with him for the Junior Cattlemen’s Point Series. Lehman said she was so busy with work and supporting her son, that she never felt she had time to volunteer for things in the community. “I am finally at a point where I can give back to the community that has given me so much,” she said.
Lehman was raised in the Methodist Church and her son went to Peace Lutheran, so the family supports both ministries.
She is on the board of the Okeechobee Youth Livestock Show and now serves as its secretary. She is also still involved in the Junior Florida Cattlemen Point Series Shows. ”I’m still busy, but now it’s more to give back.”
Lehman believes she can offer a fresh viewpoint to the council. “As someone who was born and raised here, I’ve seen all the changes in this town over the years.”
Because she tends to sit back and listen before forming an educated opinion, she believes she will be an asset. “I’m the type of person who will not argue a point unless I am sure I am right.” On a committee of any kind, you have a lot of different opinions she said. “Everyone is welcome to their opinion. I don’t mind discussing things, but I prefer not to argue.”
Code enforcement is one of her priorities. “We need to clean up around here, especially on our main roads. When you drive around, you see a lot of junk, and it does not reflect well on our community.”
If elected, she wants to work on getting the people of the city involved more in talking and voicing their opinions. She plans to ask people what might encourage them to be more involved as she campaigns.
“I want to keep the city up with the times.” She said they are working on it, but she would like to see it continue and expand.