PALM BEACH COUNTY COMMISSION, DISTRICT 6, DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY — This race pits former Wellington Mayor Kathy Foster against Melissa McKinlay, who works as a legislative aide in the Palm Beach County Legislative Affairs Office. The winner will advance to what is predicted to be a competitive general election against Republican Andrew Schaller and independent candidate Michelle Santamaria, daughter of term-limited incumbent Commissioner Jess Santamaria.
McKinlay has an impressive resume that spans many levels of government: local, county, state and national. She also has a reasonable command of the issues and a strong network of supporters. Some of those supporters are concerning, however, as they include a number of West Palm Beach officials who have long stood in the way of projects crucial to the needs of residents here in the western communities.
Foster has been active in local politics since the late 1970s. She became Wellington’s first directly elected official in 1989 when she won a seat on the Acme Improvement District Board of Supervisors — a position that had previously been controlled by Wellington’s developers. Foster went on to be an advocate for Wellington incorporation, was elected to the inaugural Wellington Village Council and served as the community’s first mayor. Out of office since 2000, she has taken the time to run two major nonprofits: the Adam Walsh Children’s Fund and Junior Achievement. Even though she has been out of elective office for many years, she has stayed on the local scene and is well versed in crucial current issues.
The Town-Crier has always put a premium on local roots and ties to the community. While it is clear that McKinlay cares a great deal about the western communities and has some ties and roots in the community, Kathy Foster has more and deeper ties. She is also more likely to be an effective advocate for the area. The Town-Crier endorses Kathy Foster to be the Democratic nominee for Palm Beach County Commission in District 6.
The Aug. 26 election is predicted to be a low-turnout affair. That is too bad. Democracy functions best when more people vote. No matter whether your opinions on this race differ from ours, be sure to get to the polls on election day and make your voice heard.