Nick Thomas

Name: Nick Thomas

Age: 50

Party: Republican

Contact Info: 705 Shore Drive, Vero Beach, FL 32963. (772) 234-1110;;;

How long living in Indian River County: My family moved to Vero Beach in 1964, when I was two years old. After graduating from St. Helens Catholic School and Vero Beach High School, I left for college in 1980. For the next 25 years, I pursued my education and early career in Greenville, SC; Gainesville, FL; Tallahassee, FL; Washington, DC; and Raleigh, NC, all the while visiting home for Christmas and the summer holidays. I moved home for good in 2005.

Place of Birth: Pittsburgh, PA (1962).

Occupation: Lawyer/Mediator/Writer

Family: I have two children. Grace is 19, and she just finished her freshman year at William & Mary, in Williamsburg, VA. She was a National Merit Finalist last year, she runs Division-One cross country at W&M, and she’s otherwise a high-quality young lady.

My son, Elliot, is 12. He just completed the sixth grade at Gifford Middle. He knocks out top grades and plays baseball, basketball and soccer.

I’m also supported and loved by my mom, Nancy Moon, my ex-wife and campaign manager, Joy Heath, my sister, Beth Falls, and my brothers Tony and Jim.

Please list Civic and Volunteer Leadership Experience including title & position and Organization including dates and locations:

  • Ronald McDonald House of Chapel Hill, NC (Board Member – 1996 – 1999)
  • Hayes Barton Baptist Church, Raleigh, NC; Honduras Mission Trip (2002)
  • Rotary Club of Vero Beach (Member 2005 – Present)
  • Rotary Club of Vero Beach (Board Member – 2009 – 2011)
  • Rotary Club of Vero Beach Foundation (Board Member – 2008 – Present)
  • United Way of Indian River County (Charity Review Panel – 2011 – 2012)
  • Soccer Coach, Indian River Soccer Association (2005 – Present)
  • Chess Coach, St. Edward’s and Beachland Elementary (2006 – 2011)
  • Coach: Brain Bowl, Academic Games; Beachland Elementary
  • Judge: Teen Court (2007 -2008)

What issues motivated you to run for this office and what do you hope to accomplish during your term?

I am running because I would like to do the work, I am highly educated and experienced, and I believe I am the best choice to carry on the historic mission of Indian River County. Times are tough right now, and every generation of Indian River County faces the Sirens’ Song of over-development and the promise of abundant construction jobs and a broader tax base. But if high-rise condos and tract housing was the long-term solution, our neighbor to the south, Saint Lucie County, would be in great shape. My motivation is to remind everyone, and to keep in mind myself, that our County, and the municipalities within it, are exceptional in many ways. I want to do all I can to bring great jobs to our community, but I can’t help but believe that the path forward is to keep faith with our past and have faith that when the national economy turns around, we will be blessed with more and better jobs provided by employers who want to be here for the right reasons.

What makes you qualified to run for this position?

Intellectually, my education and experience, my skill set, is well suited to the day-to-day work involved in serving on the County Commission. My training and experience as a mediator, as well as my innate personality, leads me toward being conciliatory and open minded. Emotionally, I consider this County my home. I consider my fellow citizens my family, so a have a father’s sense of protectiveness, and a son’s sense of gratitude, toward this place. Finally, as a personal matter, I have no interest in moving up the political ladder, so I have no reason to curry favor with special interest who I think will “back” me as I pursue my political ambitions. My ambition is to live here and serve here until the County turns 100 years old in 2025, after which, God willing, I will still be here.

What is your position on the potential sale of the City of Vero Beach’s electric utility to Florida Power and Light? What, if anything, could or should the Board of County Commissioners do to influence the process one way or the other? What should the commission do for those electric customers who live outside the city in the unincorporated portion of the county?

My position on this issue is that I think it is sad that we are spending so much time, money and energy on what is not a life-changing issue. I think Vero Beach electric provides a great product at a fair price, particularly considering that the price paid supports so much of our City services (which benefit everyone inside and outside the City). I think FP&L provides a great product at an even lower price, though that price doesn’t support other local services, and for the most part, the money leaves our community. Given that the price of natural gas (the principal fuel used by FP&L) is beginning to rise from historic lows, I’m not sure how long FP&L’s prices will be lower than Vero’s prices. My main concern, however, is that this issue is being used to turn neighbor against neighbor by certain interests, and that the net result will be that the City enters into an unexamined, misunderstood, rushed deal with FP&L that divests the City of a valuable asset at an unfair price and results in lower services and a diminished quality of life for everyone.

With unemployment at about 10 percent, what do you believe is the County Commission’s role in bringing more jobs to Indian River County? Do you support tax abatements and jobs grants to attract new businesses and encourage expansion of existing businesses?

I am against using Indian River County taxpayer money for tax abatements and job grants. We all wish the employment picture was better, but I think we can all agree that the national economy is primarily to blame, not anything the County is or is not doing. I believe County tax money should be used to support traditional infrastructure and services that give new and existing business owners confidence that they are dealing with mature, reasonable counterparts. I recognize that the State of Florida provides a number of incentives throughout the State, and I don’t necessarily have a problem with that so long as it is not merely an unfunded mandate that puts the burden back on the County.

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