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Nancy Miles' mayoral race kicks off

Winter Park mayoral candidate Nancy Miles talks with supporters at her campaign kickoff party Dec. 5.

Winter Park mayoral candidate Nancy Miles talks with supporters at her campaign kickoff party Dec. 5.

Jenny Andreasson

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Bradley's campaign

Winter Park Mayor Ken Bradley discusses his mayoral re-election campaign here.

About 250 Winter Park residents filled a meeting room at the new Winter Park Community Center on Monday night to kick off Nancy Miles’ campaign for mayor.

Miles, an 11-year resident of Winter Park, is challenging first-term Mayor Ken Bradley in the Jan. 31 mayoral election.

Looking out across a sea of Winter Park residents and peacock centerpieces, Miles laid out her vision for Winter Park, which includes shaping a more balanced, open-minded City Commission, offering more support for small businesses and giving the residents a louder voice.

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Peacock centerpiece at Nancy Miles' campaign kickoff party

“We deserve a mayor who respects balance in government,” she said. “The most disturbing thing to happen in this administration has been the expansion of the mayor’s powers and his ability to silence the opposition.”

She said she could bring that balance, citing her record of building bridges between opposing groups in Salem, Conn., as chair of the city’s board of education.

“In Winter Park, we also have ‘them’ and ‘us’ divisions on key issues, and I’ve been dismayed to see that divisiveness,” she said. “I think it’s been made worse in the past two years by the unwillingness to engage in respectful and thoughtful debate.”

Her vision

Learn more

Visit nancyforwinterpark.org for more information on mayoral candidate Nancy Miles. Dates for meet and greets mayoral debates have not yet been set. Stay tuned to wpmobserver.com for more information.

She said citizens deserve a voice in the issues that directly affect them, and city leaders should listen with open minds.

“I’m all for efficiency,” she said, “but it should not come at the expense of shorter notice times or lack of workshops and the rush to get deals passed.”

She cited the State Office Building land swap deal as one that didn’t get enough study or public input.

“As an independent and open-minded mayor, I would have held town meeting to discuss the different appraisals or possible closure of a road that would affect some of our businesses,” she said.

On Dec. 1, City Commission gave final approval to the land swap deal in a split vote after removing the clause that would have led to the closing of Palmetto Avenue near Denning Drive, cutting off businesses from the street.

She also said local businesses need support and Winter Park has the brainpower and educational resources to give its businesses the tools they need to succeed.

Getting to know Miles

Miles is a relative newcomer to the city’s political scene. She is the immediate past president of her homeowners association and serves on the Crosby YMCA board. She’s worked as a crisis counselor, a municipal agent for seniors and a voter registrar.

Her husband, Jack Miles, is the secretary of the Florida Department of Management Services. Their daughter, Jessica, a graduate of Winter Park High School and Rollins College, lives in New York City.

Supporters weigh in

In attendance Monday night was longtime resident John Rogers Jr., who said the city needs a new leader. “Maybe Mayor Bradley could use an attitude adjustment,” he said, “and I’d like see Nancy Miles assist him with that.”

Attendee Shay Silver said Miles is more of a mediator and she would do what was best for Winter Park without being influenced by outside forces.

“She’s neutral,” her husband, Shelly Silver, said. “With 3-2 votes nothing gets done; with her, something gets done.”

“She will view everything through the lens that’s good for Winter Park as a whole rather than for a set of groups,” attendee Vicki Krueger said.

Whirling campaign

The campaign period will be a whirlwind seven weeks, awkwardly interrupted by the Christmas and New Year’s holidays. Miles said she will be hosting several meet and greets. Candidate debates have yet to be scheduled, but she said there should be two or three.

“We’re going up against a big target, a well-funded target,” campaign worker Allan Conseur said at the campaign kickoff party. “No contribution is too small.”

Miles said she plans to reach out to every voter in the city.

“… I need your help to work with me so we can stop this power grab and get the power back,” she said, her audience responding in applause.