With several very important local elections fast approaching, the Resident Report will be providing our readers with exclusive candidate interviews.
This week we are looking at the contested Sumter County District 2 Commissioner race. Incumbent Doug Gilpin faces a challenger in Andrew Bilardello. The general election takes place on November 8, and early voting occurs October 25-November 5. Since both candidates are registered Republicans, a primary election is necessary. This will take place on August 23, with early voting taking place August 13-20. Gilpin first took office in 2006. He won his first election 54%-46%. As of February 28 Gilpin has $12,850 in his campaign account. Bilardello currently serves on the CDD-12 Board of Supervisors. His most recent campaign finance filing shows he has $9,559 on hand.
The following is our interview with Doug Gilpin. Bilardello declined to comment, but offered to make himself available for an interview next month. Biardello currently serves on the Sumter RPEC. According to his website, his campaign is a grassroots movement. It also states “It’s time for new leaders with new ways of thinking to take charge.”
Gilpin maintains his biggest accomplishments since taking office are modernizing the Sheriff’s Department and preserving a low tax rate for Sumter County residents. “I have been a consistent voice in government. I insist on low taxes and I support law and order.”
According to Gilpin Sumter County is one of the safest counties in Florida. He is proud of the fact that he has heavily invested in both the fire and police departments. When asked further about safety in the county, Gilpin cites the Sheriff’s Department advanced training and modern equipment as leading contributing factors.
If Gilpin wins another term he plans on cultivating the symbiotic relationship between low taxes and business development. Sumter County has the ninth lowest property tax rate in the state, and Gilpin promises to keep it that way, saying, “A growing local economy will help keep taxes low for Sumter residents.”
In his (limited) free time Gilpin enjoys nature, being outside, and fishing. “I love being on the boat with my granddaughter.” Gilpin proudly states he is a Reagan conservative. He believes in the Constitution, has worked hard to do the right thing, and he promotes conservative values. Last year the Sumter County Chamber of Commerce honored Gilpin with their Community Hero award.