Kris Fitzgerald, Lake Wales City Commission Seat 4 Candidate
Four Candidates for Two Seats in April 6 Municipal Election
Last updated 2/24/2021 at 12:33pm
Editor's Note: Candidates for City Commission were asked to complete a questionnaire. Their responses are being printed as submitted.
Kris T.Y. Fitzgerald
Lake Wales City Commission
Seat 4 Candidate
OCCUPATION: Senior Administrator at The Vanguard School-Director of Residential Life/License Mental Health Counselor. Qualified Supervisor for LMHCs.
YEARS LIVING IN LAKE WALES: Born and raised in Lake Wales. I only moved away for brief periods of time while in the USAF before being medically separated, during my college years at USF and as a young child for about five years. I moved back to Lake Wales to take care of my grandmother while she was under the care of Hospice and became her caretaker.
MILITARY EXPERIENCE: United States Air Force
COMMUNITY SERVICE: Volunteer for the American Red Cross for over 15 years; honor fraternity-USF; High School Who's Who and National Honor Society; Breakfast Rotary (former member); Chamber of Commerce (former member); NAACP member; Volunteer House of Hope (troubled teens); speaker/workshops/pro-bono for behavioral & mental health in local community and surrounding areas.
EXPERIENCE SERVING ON CITY BOARDS/COMMITTEES: I briefly served on the Recreation Commission board here for the great city of Lake Wales.
EDUCATION: Lake Wales High School Class of 1998; University of South Florida, Double Major: Psychology & Criminology; Webster University, MA: Mental Health Counseling. Webster University: MBA; Future Educational Goal: Doctoral Degree, Psy.d, (still deciding between two or will see the possibility to major in two, I love to learn).
WHY ARE YOU RUNNING FOR CITY COMMISSION? What I stand for is really quite simple: Integrity, morals, character, values, family and treating others the way I would want to be treated. My reason for running for seat 4, district 27: I grew up here in the city of Lake Wales. I want to help bring about positive change for the ENTIRE community not just parts of the community. We have a great town full of wonderful loving people and I wish to serve the people of our town and be that voice of positive change. As a disabled military veteran I hope to shed light on how important veteran wellness is for our community. We have a growing number of veterans that live in this area and travel to Orlando or Tampa for health care services. Recreation and youth services have continued to be a growing need. As a single working mother of now a teenage daughter I see the needs for growth in this area. Without positive outlets and productive engaging events teens often turn to unhealthy and unwise choices. Our town has seen some wonderful strides over the past couple years with business development and bringing new businesses back to the downtown area. Business and economic growth will be a strong area of concentration and need as we all continue to recover from the pandemic and move forward. As a business owner, and one that was in private practice I completely understand how much we all need each other to support local businesses and how important it is for our city commissioners to support the people of our town. My hope is to be a part of the positive forward moving change for all the people of our beautiful city.
WHAT ARE THE TOP 3 ISSUES CITY FACES IN COMING YEAR?
1. Economic and Business development: COVID-19 affected everyone in different capacities, business owners lost revenue, employees, investments, and some lost their entire business. I believe helping owners recover and attracting more business owners to the area will be important for the city to thrive and recover.
2. Community and local governmental unification. Our entire city for years has needed positive ways to unify as one community and not different sectors.
3. Recreation and youth services are a great need. Many children and teens have spent nearly a year either in quarantine, modified quarantine, out of school, home schooled, isolated, stuck behind a screen (electronic screen, i.e. tablet, computer). There are not enough positive outlets in our community for our children. The rate of depression and anxiety has increased globally as has the rate of suicide, cutting, and loss sense of self. The educational gap that our children will face will also be of concern for many of our children due to SES and other factors.
WHAT IS YOUR VISION FOR THE FUTURE?
My vision for Lake Wales, would include us working together as a unified town. Seeing an increase in economic and business development as this will assist in improving several other areas in our town. We would see an increase in job opportunities. My vision for Lake Wales is to see unification among the members in our town. I have met so many wonderful people of all cultures here in Lake Wales because I have involved myself in different organizations and wanted to expand my horizon and understanding of our city. I believe when people take the time to truly understand those around them, biases and lack of knowledge which perpetuates prejudgments often subsides. My hope and vision is that my daughter at the age of 13 will not have to say to her children one day (a very long time from now) we still do not have enough recreation and youth services in Lake Wales for our children.
ADDITIONAL COMMENTS: I am quite sure people may read this and say, "why should I vote for Kris Fitzgerald?" My favorite character of all time is wonder woman. I have a poster in my office, screen saver on my computer, I have seen every movie, and probably every episode of the sitcom when I was a child, (yes the syndications because I am not that old). I am asked over and over, by newcomers, "why do you like Wonder Woman so much". I identify with the strength of the character, the courage to speak up even when everyone else is quiet, the morals she leads with and she is uncompromised by outcomes that may be at a great personal loss of her unwavering integrity. The people I admire the most are individuals such as Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., Mother Teresa and of course Oprah. Admiration does not equal emulation, I do try very hard, God is still working on a few areas(smile). People of Lake Wales you will not find another running candidate that will work harder for you period. I believe in the people and heart of our town. Let's get out and vote in record numbers this year!!