Community Spotlight 2013 will kick off Friday in Land O' Lakes, and as part of the event, the honorary mayor will be named Saturday. Patch caught up with Pam Oakes, one of the candidates, to find out a little more about her and how the campaign went leading up to the big day.
Patch: Can you tell us a bit about your background?
Oakes: Where once a frozen firefighter from Michigan seeking annual respite from the chill of winter, Pasco County's population increased by one Baby Boomer in 2004 when my dream to one day retire here became a reality. I love Pasco County and have been a community activist and volunteer here for eight years in various capacities. Currently I'm helping the chamber and county promote international tourism. I'm a fitness buff and love all things ethereal.
Patch: Why did you decide to run for Honorary Mayor of Land O' Lakes?
Oakes: I was actually yearning for a fresh spin on election year shenanigans in 2012 when Central Pasco Chamber President Gary Loman said "I think you should run, Pam." When asked what it entailed, he responded "There is no salary, compensation or political office that is won, real or imaginary. Those who run, do so simply for fun and fundraising for the chamber. Whichever candidate raises the most funds for the chamber by the Community Spotlight/Expo 2013 on March 16, wins!"
"This office CAN be bought," he said under his breath with a wink. A social butterfly, and somewhat of a self- described comedian, I liked this idea and blend of pseudo-politics and comedy. Most importantly, it's for a wonderful cause to help the chamber continue with their tradition of community projects and service.
Patch: How is the campaign going so far?
Oakes: This has been a l-o-n-g fundraiser—five months! I've attended no less than 6 ribbon cutting ceremonies, myriad chamber functions and open houses, fundraised at festivals and walked a parade. I've hosted several fundraisers and spoken before service groups. I've thanked over 100 volunteers, been 'well wished' by a 1, 000. Let's just say "Social Butterfly satisfied!"
Patch: What can people expect if you are announced the next Honorary Mayor of Land O' Lakes on Saturday?
Oakes: I am hopeful, but we'll have to wait and see until after the Taste of the Town concludes as part of the Community Spotlight/Expo 2013 and the most successful fundraising candidate is announced at about 1:30 p.m. The new Honorary Mayor will be sworn in by taking the Oath of Office and will be presented with a traditional sash by the outgoing Honorary Mayor, Dr. Deborah Hawley of Hawley Dental Associates. The activities of the new Honorary Mayor are designed, scheduled and closely supervised by the chamber. Whether I win or not, my community service work with the chamber to enhance international tourism to the Central Pasco region will continue, as will my volunteerism. I'm currently working on forming a Land O' Lakes group for the Great American Clean-up on April 20. This annual spring event is in conjunction with Pasco County's "Keep Pasco Beautiful." I feel it's important to develop an ongoing effort in this "Land of Lakes" area, not only for the legacy that we leave our children, and enhanced quality of life issues, but to ensure a successful tourism program as well. Those interested in joining a Land O' Lakes Great American Clean-Up group, or for more information, please contact me by email at pamoakesLOL@gmail.com.
Oakes' "opponent" for the honorary title is Lisa Rogers, whom you can read more about here.
Learn more about Community Spotlight/ Taste of the Town