It’s Election Day; Here’s What You Need to Know

Lakeland candidates 2021

Lakeland voters go to the polls today to elect a mayor and two city commissioners and decide on two proposed changes to the City Charter. Polling places are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.  Find your precinct number here and then confirm your polling place here.

As of Monday afternoon, 9,190 Lakeland residents had already voted either by mail or at walk-in locations, according to City Clerk Kelly Koos. In all, 69,983 voters are eligible to participate in this election.

LINKS: Sample ballot | LkldNow Voter Guide | Campaign finance (who’s supporting who)

Each of the races in the non-partisan elections includes a first-term incumbent and a challenger:

  • Mayor: Bill Mutz, incumbent, and Saga Stevin
  • Commission, District C, Southwest: Allyson “Al” Lewis and Sara Roberts McCarley, incumbent
  • Commission, District D, Southeast: Mike Musick, incumbent, and Shandale Terrell

Mayor

The race for mayor has received the lions’ share of attention. The candidates’ campaign slogans have each summarized their major message for votes.

Mutz’ slogan is “I’m still all in for ALL of Lakeland.” His campaign has focused on inclusiveness, making hard decisions and maintaining growth. He frequently cites his Lift Lakeland initiative to bridge social gaps and the city’s efforts in recent years to expand affordable housing.

Stevin’s slogan is “Keep Lakeland, Lakeland.” Stevin, who grew up in Lakeland and recently moved back after several decades away, has focused on heritage, safety from crime and defending the city “from those who want to tear our community apart under cover of racial and social injustice.”

Both candidates are in their 60s. Mutz was co-owner and chief executive of Lakeland Automall for two decades; his successful 2017 race for mayor was his first attempt at public office. Stevin has been an entrepreneur and was a platelet rich plasma therapy and hair restoration therapist in Minnesota.

City Commission, District D, Southeast

If the matchup between Musick and Terrell seems like deja vu, it’s because they faced each other earlier this year in a runoff election to fill the remaining months in the term of Scott Franklin, who had resigned to run successfully for U.S. House.

Musick, in his first run for public office, won the May 4 runoff with a 50.7% margin, a difference of 146 votes. He heads a construction company that specializes in roofing. As a commissioner, he has focused on fiscal responsibility.

Terrell is a Lakeland native and educator who emphasizes his service on numerous community boards, including chairing the Lakeland Police Citizens Advisory Board and belonging to the city’s Gang Task Force. He has emphasized improving infrastructure and increasing opportunities for small businesses.

Commission District C, Southwest

In the other race on the ballot, Lewis, 28, has positioned herself as a voice for a new generation of leadership that listens and advocates. She is a high school history teacher and entrepreneur who is seeking her first public office. She first became known in Lakeland for hosting a series of “Call to Consciousness” forums last year following two racial justice protests in Munn Park.

McCarley, 50, was elected in January 2019 to fill the remainder of the term of Michael Dunn, who resigned from office. Her career has focused on leadership of nonprofit organizations; she was executive director of Polk Vision and currently heads the Randy Roberts Foundation, which promotes civics training for students.

The two ballot issues involved proposed changes to Lakeland’s city charter, the legal document that outlines the form of government. Amendment 1 changes the method for filling a vacancy on the City Commission. Amendment 2 provides alternate members for the city Canvassing Board. Get details on both amendments here.

After the polls close, check for results via the Polk Supervisor of Elections or LkldNow.

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