By Bryan Boggiano
As the race to Election Day enters the final stretch, Commissioner Joanne Simone and Nina Culver campaign heavily to be the voters’ choice for Seat 5.
Ahead of the election, Margate Talk reached out to both candidates.
Joanne Simone, Incumbent
Simone was not immediately available for comment as she was in SW Florida helping relatives affected by Hurricane Ian.
From her latest campaign finance reports, Simone raised an additional $1,500 through Oct. 7. Her total campaign donations are $34,897. Her campaign spent $4,586.66 through October, bringing the total expenditures to $13,347.88.
According to her bio, Simone has been a Margate resident since 1989 and is a retired Broward County Public Schools teacher, where she retired after 35 years.
She serves on the Margate Community Redevelopment Agency, the Northwest Focal Point Senior Center District, and the Employee Trust Fund Board.
Simone is also a trained member of the city’s Community Emergency Response Team and has served on Seat 5 of the city commission since winning the November 2012 election.
Culver is a court-appointed ad litem, meaning that she represents children in certain legal affairs. She has volunteered for the children’s ministry at Calvary Chapel for 12 years and Church by the Glades for two years, where she helps run special events.
Before her Seat 5 candidacy, Culver founded Margate Neighbors in 2020, a group that focuses on helping community members.
Some of their actions include community cleanups, food drives, clothing donations, giving board games to economically disadvantaged elderly residents, and hosting backpack drives for local students.
Her desire to help the residents and city excel motivated Culver to run for Seat 5.
“The community wants to help with things; they just need organizing to do these things,” she said.
From her campaign’s launch through Aug. 31, Culver’s campaign raised $8,983.77 and spent $4,118.53.
Her September campaign finance report was not available as of press time.
Culver said she would focus on helping families, especially economically underserved ones.
She states that as inflation continues and the cost of living increases faster than wages, some parents can no longer afford childcare. In turn, these parents have to choose between staying home with their children and leaving their jobs or keeping them in early childhood development programs, she said.
Culver would like to assist families facing this dilemma throughout the community, but especially those in southern Margate. She would also like to clean up and reinvigorate the city’s southern parts.
She also endorsed implementing smart development. Culver defined this as bringing in businesses that Margate needs more of, such as more restaurants and shops. She also discussed expanding family programming, which is all part of a fiscally responsible, long-term commitment to improving the city.
Although the city has a fair amount of warehouses and mechanics, she said there are limited restaurant and recreational options for residents.
“Residents need more to do within the city.”
Culver also discussed increasing pay for first responders and supporting the city’s veterans. She stated that coming from a military family, the issue is personal to her.
Culver’s son is an army sergeant. She has a nephew in the Navy and the Marines, her husband was in the Coast Guard, and both of her parents have experience as law enforcement officers.
Culver endorsed the idea of the city creating an emergency manager position for emergency operations, stating that it would promote more coordination between departments.
Culver received endorsement from groups such as Broward Teacher’s Union, the AFL-CIO, and the city’s police and firefighter unions.
She stated that she would accept the final results of the Seat 5 election.