SEMINOLE — Residents here are guaranteed at least one new face on the City Council next year, now that Dan Hester has said he will not run for re-election.
Hester, 54, announced at Tuesday's council meeting that he will not run for re-election. Hester has served on the Seminole council since 2005.
"I have had to take on additional responsibilities at my bank. As a result, I am traveling every week and working 60 hours a week," said Hester, who is president and CEO of the Florida Capital Bank special assets department.
He added, "After five years on council, I think I need a break anyway."
Hester said he might run again in the future and promised he would "remain very watchful of our elected officials and how the taxpayers' money is spent."
Likely candidates for the seat include James Quinn, who ran unsuccessfully for the council in March, and Tom Christy, who frequently speaks at council meetings. Both have picked up election packets.
But there's still a fair amount of time for others who might be interested in running to get into the race. Qualifying opens Tuesday and closes at 4 p.m. Dec. 14. The election is March 9.
Up for grabs are three seats: the mayor and two council seats.
Seminole Mayor Jimmy Johnson and Tom Barnhorn, the holder of the other seat up for election, both say they plan to run for re-election.
"I'm really excited going for my third term. It doesn't get any better than that," Johnson said. "I do intend to run again because everything is going so well in Seminole, we don't want to mess it up."
Johnson, 66, had a lung transplant last year and was out for several weeks. Since then, he has continued to hold both the mayor's position and his job as executive director of the Seminole Chamber of Commerce. Johnson said his health is not an issue.
"I'm pretty healthy now," he said. "I'm ready to go."
Johnson has served as mayor since 2007. Before then, he served on the Seminole City Council.
Barnhorn, 53, lost his March bid for re-election, but got back on the council when members appointed him to fill out the term of Patricia Hartstein, who resigned.
"I do plan on running again," Barnhorn said. "Hopefully, the voters will want me to."
Barnhorn is a financial adviser with Edward Jones Investments.
Voters will also have the chance in March to make changes to the city's charter, or constitution. Multiple changes are scheduled to be on the ballot.
Anne Lindberg can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8450.