ORLANDO | Orange Soil and Water Conservation District Supervisor and Board Chairman Eric Rollings will officially announce he is running for the Orange County Commissioner seat in District 3 at the Orange County Administration Building at 10:45 a.m. Oct. 19.
Rollings filed the appropriate paperwork with the Supervisor of Elections Oct. 13. Rollings filed for a run at the District 3 seat for 2020, but may actually be eying to take the seat as early as 2018.
“It’s just a bit complicated. I am running for Pete Clarke’s seat, who announced he is running for Orange County Mayor, so his seat will be vacant,” Rollings said to us ahead of his announcement on Thursday. “In order for me to run, I would have to run for the 2020 seat unless Pete resigns right now. Under charter law, he doesn’t have to resign until the last before the first day of qualifying. That would be in June.”
If Clarke does follow through with his bid to be the next Orange County mayor come June, Rollings would still be able to get on the November ballot, but that would leave him with just under six months to cover more than 200,000 residence in the district.
“So I choose to be the first one out,” Rollings says. “I wanted to make sure I had enough time to visit every resident that I possibly could and talk with them to see what their concerns are and have more time to spend in the district. I think starting it in June is going to be really tight.”
Rollings has lived in Orange County for the last 28 years. He is a local real estate agent,the longest serving person on the Community Development Block Grant Program board and has served as the Soil and Water Conservation District Supervisor and Board Chairman for the last several years.
If elected, Rollings would become the first openly gay Orange County Commissioner.
“I have always been active in the LGBTQ community, as well as active in the environmental community,” Rollings says. “It’s very scary for me to see where the nation as a whole is going. Every day we wake up and, whether it’s the environment or whether it’s women’s rights or LGBTQ rights, we are seeing them either be threatened or stripped away. If we don’t keep the door open and elect people that are like-minded individuals, we can see just how fragile these rights are. Look what has happened in just the nine months since the election.”
Rollings says there are many issue which he is passionate about and sees the opportunity to work with all local officials to create a better quality of life for all in Orange County, regardless of their political affiliations.
“We are fortunate here, unlike on a national level and to an extent on a state level, in that a lot of us will put down that letter behind our name and work for a greater community,” Rollings says. “You look at Mayor Jacobs and Mayor Dyer, we all get along pretty well and I think it’s important that we have people who are elected to these local positions that have a proven track record, like myself, of being able to work with everybody to get things done.”
Rollings was instrumental in helping to get Orange County to unanimously ban fracking, as well as raising awareness of the dangers that polystyrene, or Styrofoam containers, pose to the environment by calling for Orange County to be a “No Foam Zone.”
“We really have an amazing quality of life here, but I think we can extend that to more residence in Orange County,” Rollings says. “I think we have some great programs in this county, but they do need a little tweaking. I want to get the opinions of the residence of Orange County as we are making upgrades and changes and see what they say works for them.”
(Photo courtesy Eric Rollings.)