By Hank McCoy
Vice Mayor Joy Carter is taking on a challenge for her seat on the Coral Springs City Commission by political newcomer Cathy Remy.
A native Floridian of Haitian descent, Remy is an Advanced Practice Nurse Practitioner of neurology as well as a Pastor alongside her husband, Apostle Bruner, at “The Glory Center” in Tamarac. As of September 1, her campaign had $3,036 on hand.
Remy is challenging incumbent Vice Mayor Joy Carter, a realtor with Keller Williams and a 35-year resident of Coral Springs. Carter was elected to the city commission in 2014 and has raised $18,841.80.
Coral Springs Talk asked about their priorities and what they want for the city.
(Except Vice Mayor Joy Carter) What committees or appointed positions do you currently hold with the city? Do you think that will help prepare you to become a commissioner once you are elected? If you don’t hold any, why are you running for office?
Remy: Okay, I don’t currently hold any positions at this time. I did apply for a committee, and someone did get back to me in regard to my background check but afterward, they never communicated with me again.
I saw the opportunity to run for city commissioner, and I looked it up as well and saw that there’s no true requirements necessary to run. So being that there was no actual requirement to be involved, I decided I would take a leap of faith and take the opportunity to serve my community.
What makes you a good commissioner or candidate?
Carter: I’ll tell you what people tell me. That I’m one of the few that doesn’t have a personal agenda, and I only want to do what’s best for Coral Springs and for the future growth of the city. It’s painful sometimes making the financial decisions to move us forward, even though you know in the long term it’s going to be a positive for everybody.
Remy: I feel that my experience in the medical field as a nurse makes me a good candidate. I worked as a nurse at Broward Health Medical Center for seven years and then as an advanced registered nurse practitioner for seven-and-a-half years. It’s given me a solid foundation on the importance of being able to listen to my clients in addition to collaborating with professionals in determining what’s the best decision going forward with managing my patients.
I feel my experience as a medical provider has afforded me the opportunity to understand the art and importance of listening to the community to determine how best to serve. One of the things we say working in a medical practice is the importance of being able to listen to the client in order to know how best to serve. Serving the city requires listening and collaborating with the businesses and constituents in the community.
Coral Springs is not the same small town it was 25 years ago — and now it is the 15th largest city in the state, with big-city troubles. Where do you see Coral Springs in 5-10 years? How will you address the growing pains?
Carter: So, my ultimate goal is to leave Coral Springs as a destination city. We have different events in the city already, like the art festival and 5K runs and things like that, but I’m talking about a permanent thing that people could use on a regular basis.
We have two things in the works, and I can discuss one of them. We’re taking the Atlantic Trailways and creating a walking bicycle path on Coral Ridge Drive all the way up to Sample Road, back over the Sawgrass Expressway, and then back down the levy connecting again to Atlantic Trailways with Southwest Nature Center also being a focal part of it.
So, you know something that’s more regular, I hope to leave that type of legacy.
Remy: In 5 to 10 years, I see Coral Springs being a central location for families in addition to a location where people can gather together, especially since they’re building the downtown and revamping it.
With regard to future growing pains, it depends on the specific issues at the time. So it’s going to require us to make sure that we’re being responsible fiscally so that we can manage a lot of the changes, especially with infrastructure going forward.
Since Coral Springs is virtually built out, what is your solution to keeping people who still want to live in Coral Springs and make it their home?
Carter: Well, I would say that it’s working, what we’re doing, because when I moved here in 1985, I was 27 years old pregnant with my first kid, and 36 percent of the population was under the age of 18, and our senior population was 6 percent. Those numbers have reversed. Now, the under age 18 is 26 percent, and the senior population is upwards of 15 percent. So a lot of people are staying and aging in place.
We are working on CDBG (Community Development Block Grants) Programs and the SHIP (State House Initiatives Partnership) Programs to help people maintain their properties when they don’t have those resources. That’s one of the things that we’re doing to help, but I think people are choosing to stay here just based on those percentages.
Remy: Well, it’s going to be doing whatever is necessary so that we don’t significantly increase the millage rate. I know that over time affordability is going to become an issue, especially for the older population. That’s come up speaking to some in the community and in regards to those who are renting homes. I feel it’s the biggest issue we have.
What is your opinion of the downtown plan? Is your plan to commit to seeing it through?
Carter: Yes, I’m committed to seeing it through. We had this plan in place back in 2003, and then the real estate market tanked, and many of the people who owned properties lost their footing. So here we are revisiting this again with private developer Rod Sheldon to explore the southwest corner, and I am hoping that he’s able to maintain his position of development and move ahead because I think that will be the impetus.
Well, actually city hall is probably the impetus. So yes, I do want to see it through. I believe that the project will assist with new beginnings for the city.
Remy: Well, I admire the work that has been done thus far. I definitely would like to see more retail businesses, and I’d like to see more multicultural businesses there because Springs has been leaning more towards diversity and the recognition of diversity. So I’d like to see more multicultural groups help businesses.
My goal will be to continue to support the plan going forward as far as uplifting the community and being able to attract people from visiting communities to Coral Springs. It’s important to make downtown a place where people want to go.
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- Hank McCoy is a writer and journalist covering music, politics, and culture on his blog Hank’s Luncheonette, as well as currently working on publishing his first novel. Hank grew up in Parkland and graduated from FAU before moving to Chicago where he worked in the music industry as an artist and talent booker when he wasn’t throwing people out of punk bars. Hank recently moved back to South Florida after living overseas in Berlin while he traveled to Europe.
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