He's ready to serve again
Raised in a military family, Pete moved from one end of America to the other with stops in Germany and France. Pete has a public-school education, graduating from Boone High, a BS in Marine Biology from the University of West Florida, and two master’s degrees, one in Education/Public Health from Florida State and the other in Management from Rollins College. His service has included the US Air Force and extensive public service, leading to his election to the Board of County Commissioners in 2012 and reelection in 2016. He is married with two adult sons. His passion for community has lead he and his wife to become very involved in numerous not-for-profit organizations.
WHO IS PETE CLARKE?!
Who is Pete Clarke?! We have probably met. We have likely made small talk in the line at the grocery store, walked past each other at a park, and waved at each other past at a local stop sign. I’ve lived here most of my entire life. I have seen our community grow over the decades, raised my family here, worked here my entire career, and served here. This is my home. What did I do for a living? For 17 years I was the Deputy Director for Orange County’s Health and Family Services. What does the Health and Family Services department do? It might be easier to answer what don’t they do! I was responsible for a department of 1,000 employees who artfully handled some of our most important services, like youth and family services, health services for our jail, services for our local run away children, the medical examiner’s office, and our EMS programs. We ran disaster management, with our history of hurricanes making this part very important and requiring a lot of planning and proper execution. We were responsible for the History Center, Animal Service, Mosquito Control, even the Parks for a while. We were responsible for all social services! It was a big, important job and I loved it and was honored to be part of such a wonderful team.
Spending nearly two decades in Orange County’s social services network is immensely helpful as a Commissioner. I was our District 3 Commissioner for 6 years and the knowledge I have of the internal workings of our Orange County system makes getting things done as a Commissioner that much easier. With the District 3 Commissioner seat up for election now, I am asking the community to let me be our Commissioner again. I have a lifetime of knowledge of history, options, and networking to use. I was very effective in this role before and I want to pick up where we left off and accomplish some of the things we were working on that have stalled. Let's keep moving forward.
Weren’t you already our Commissioner? Why are you running?
I was elected as our District 3 County Commissioner in 2012. I ran because I had spent nearly a lifetime in our community and wanted to help our voices be heard in politics and I knew I could help do some good. And we did! I was elected again in 2016 by almost 70% of the vote. In 2018, when Mayor Jacobs’ term ended, I put my hat into the race and ran for Mayor. I had to give up my last two years as our District 3 Commissioner. It was a great race, but it wasn't meant to be; Mayor Demmings is now in that role. With the election up again for the District 3 Commissioner seat, I would like to ask the community to allow me to again serve as your Commissioner.
Pete, how do you feel about our schools?
I sent my sons to public school here. I went to public school here; I graduated from Boone High School myself. I’m proud of our schools. While the local board of commissioners has little to do with the schools – they are run by the local school board – it is important that the Board of County Commissioners and the school board work well together. We have had many situations across the years where the board of commissioners and the school board have come together to work creatively in order to ensure that our schools can be successful. I would continue to work hand in hand with our school board. The future of our children’s education is the future of our community.
Pete, when I call you, who answers the phone? Who reads your emails?
Communication is so important to me. I give out my cell phone number, and my phone number is 407-376-5894. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. My awesome team and I try our absolute best to sincerely and quickly respond to absolutely every single outreach and request. When I was our District 3 Commissioner before, I had a goal that we would answer every single email. Occasionally something goes wrong and one can never say “always” but we really worked very, very hard to make sure that we answered every single email and phone call. One of the benefits of having had an entire career with Orange County before becoming a Commissioner and then having been a Commissioner for 6 years, I also often know who can help and can make the introductions so that when someone has a question or concern that it can get answered and addressed and by the right person. I am also extremely dedicated to being available. I have phone calls, face to face meetings, attend community events, attend local meetings; I want to know what you have to say, what is important to you, and I would love to meet you and shake your hand. This job is not about me, its about you and our community.
Pete, how do you feel about the environment.
My record speaks for itself. I am incredibly dedicated to the environment. These are not the easy decisions, but these are important decisions. I believe in growth management. I am entirely supportive of smart, planned growth, but I do not support destructive or short-sighted growth. I voted against both mega developments that were proposed in East Orange County during my last term. I also started the process for four rural enclaves (rural enclaves are rules that protect neighborhoods from urban sprawl by making sure that developers only add homes that match the current look and feel of that area). Responsible development is important to the community and something I often have stood up to developers about. My efforts on the Harrod property, a gorgeous piece of river front property, helped Orange County eventually acquire that property for the County residents to use and enjoy for years to come. I also the anti-fracking ordinance, which we did then pass in Orange County. I am also passionate about our parks. I helped secure the future of Barber Park, where we have created new lighted soccer fields, an all-abled playground (an inclusive playground that is accessible to children of all types of abilities), and a wonderful new splash pad. I was disappointed about the recent decision from the current Board of County Commissioners to allow the building of a toll-road through Split Oak Forest. I was an avid supporter of protecting Split Oak Forest, and this decision not only destroys the impacted environment but goes against the original promise that was made to the community by the Board of County Commissioners about Split Oak Forest. I'm a friend of the environment and my history of action proves it.