Vero candidates square off at Tea Party event

VERO BEACH — Two incumbents and three challengers hoping to claim two seats on the Vero Beach City Council in November answered questions for 90 minutes Tuesday at the Indian River Tea Party forum.

Nearly 100 people watched as moderator Paul Tanner challenged Mayor Dick Winger, Councilwoman Amelia Graves, former councilman Brian Heady, local insurance broker Harry Howle and retired marketing executive Laura Moss in the stage at Vero’s Heritage Center in historic downtown.

Topics ranged from the Vero’s epic struggle to get lower electric rates and the failed sale of Vero electric, to tax increases, to a $13 million offer on the table from Florida Power and Light to purchase electric customers in the Town of Indian River Shores.

Winger and Graves defended the current council’s actions or failure to act. Heady, Moss and Howle, however, came armed with well-prepared responses calling the incumbents’ record into question.

During the latter half of the forum, candidates took questions from the floor, as written on index cards, asking about short-term rentals and other hot issues in the city.

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