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Nelson, Becker clash in mayoral debate


Before a capacity crowd of almost 300 at the Apopka Community Center, an overflow audience at the Victory Church, and hundreds more watching on live stream at home and at watch parties across the community, Apopka Mayor Bryan Nelson and Commissioner Kyle Becker made their cases for why they should lead Apopka into the future and why their opponent should not.

The 67-minute debate covered a range of topics including restaurants, economic development, grants, South Apopka,  Rock Springs Ridge, Errol Estate, revenue, growth, taxes, the city center, and housing.

"My platform is not overly complicated, because I don't think that we're doing the basic things today," said Becker in his opening address. "If elected, I will beautify our city, not with coats of paint, but with proper care and artistic creativity. I will invest in our City. I will invest in infrastructure improvements. Today, not after lengthy studies, I will invest in our economic development, so that we can control our destiny and deliver on the quality of life, amenities that our residents are requesting. But most importantly, I will lead with a properly staffed department and workforce motivated for the betterment of the city, as well as its people."

"This town means a lot to me," said Nelson in his opening statement. "It's where I grew up, and I want that hometown feel to continue. I was a [Apopka Area] Chamber of Commerce President. You want to look at my resume... Look at all the committees I've been on, all the organizations I've been a part of... Apopka-based... Apopka Rotary, Apopka Elks, Apopka Sertoma. The list goes on and on... Apopka Chamber for 40 years. So I've been there. I've been in the trenches helping you every day of the year. We look at the money. Yes, infrastructure's important. Look at these lights (in the Apopka Community Center). Look at the floor. You know, this is a brand new floor we put in with money that we have saved from being a steward of our resources, our financial resources. Yes, we raised taxes... we had to under the COVID. But what we did... we did reduce the taxes last year and my opponent... he raised... he didn't vote for the decrease in taxes. So while everybody's hurting from COVID, I was willing to step up and reduce your taxes by $400,000. I'm the right guy for the next four years... money still matters. And yes, we can talk about the money. It gets a little down in the weeds, but I'd love to talk about how we spent the money or how we saved the money and what we can do to make the city a better place to be."

The event was sponsored by the Apopka Area Chamber of Commerce, and might be the only time that Becker and Nelson debate before the election on March 8th.

This is a breaking story and will be updated.

Apopka Mayoral Debate, Apopka Mayor Bryan Nelson, Apopka City Commissioner Kyle Becker, Apopka Elections 2022, Apopka Area Chamber of Commerce, Apopka Community Center


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