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Endorses John Upchurch for Congress

Editor, The Beacon:

I’m voting for John Upchurch, and here’s why.

I, like many, have been disheartened by the partisan politics that exist in Washington. Many voters in 2016 may have had the right idea, that we needed something new.

Even before the last election, I have been disappointed by the representation we have had in the 6th Congressional District of Florida. This district encompasses parts south of St. Augustine, west to Hastings, south to Umatilla and Eustis, east to DeLand, Deltona, New Smyrna Beach and Daytona Beach.

Despite this, it has been nearly 30 years since we have had a representative that wasn’t a Jacksonville transplant, who likely sees the 6th District as an easy path to a safe seat in Congress for a party partisan.

In August, Democrats will be confronted by this choice once again. Nancy Soderberg is the candidate from the North anointed by the Democratic Party based on a 30-year career in Washington, mostly under the Clinton administration.

Her credentials are impressive and noteworthy; however, without question, she will be associated with the Clintons and the Clinton administration. This association will be exploited in the general election in a district in which Trump won by up to 65 percent.

As much as I want to see diversity in our government, I cannot as a woman, vote for a candidate simply because she is a woman. I also cannot ignore an association with the Clinton legacy that will be a liability in the general election.

The opposition candidates promise more of the same extremism, gridlock, and lack of representation for the people who live and work in the 6th District.

I therefore encourage Democrats to look to the alternative, John Upchurch.

My family has known John’s family for decades. His strong family connections extend throughout the 6th District, from St. Augustine to Daytona Beach.

He’s a lawyer, a businessman, a small-business owner, and a dedicated husband and father of 20-plus years.

He understands the needs of this district with respect to infrastructure, agriculture, a smart immigration policy, health care reform, and safeguarding Social Security benefits for our aging population.

Others may promise these things, but they have not delivered. 

The opposition in the general election will use partisan politics to once again deprive us of solutions to these issues and the  honest, local representation that John can provide.

Kimberly Sands


Enjoyed DeLand’s July Fourth celebration

Editor, The Beacon:

Thank you to everyone who helped make the Fourth of July celebration at Earl Brown Park wonderful. The Navy band was a great choice for entertainment, and the improvements and upgrades at the park make it a nice venue for the event.

I thought the fireworks display was first class, and my family from out of town were very impressed. I really appreciate the efforts of so many folks who help make DeLand a great place to live!

Bob LaPlante


Endorses Barbara Girtman

Editor, The Beacon:

On Aug. 28, Floridians will head to the polls to cast their votes in the 2018 primary election. It’s more important now than ever to understand the issues that confront us. More now than ever, people need to take time and learn about the duties of the County Council, the School Board, the Hospital Authority, and other governing bodies. When I vote Aug. 28, I will be doing so knowing that I am informed.

More now than ever, we need to be civically engaged at the local, state and national level, and it is for this reason that I am going to do something I never do publicly. I am going to endorse a candidate seeking election to the Volusia County Council.

I am endorsing Barbara Girtman, who is seeking election to represent District 1. I have known Barb for close to a decade, and during this time, I have witnessed firsthand her commitment to the community of DeLand and Volusia County. Her dedication is inspiring.

Barbara Girtman is a respected businesswoman who has served on the DeLand Economic Development Committee and participated in strategic planning. She has worked tirelessly on community outreach, working to improve the quality of life for DeLandites and other county residents.

Barb has been a commissioner on the West Volusia Hospital Authority and has real-world negotiating experience, an essential skill for any council member.

She is one of those candidates who has been reaching out to people all across District 1 for close to a year, so people can get to know her and understand why she wants to serve, and what she brings to the table. Her message is simple: “Putting people first.” I believe in Barb’s ability to lead, and encourage others to learn more about this remarkably talented and dedicated person.

Harry Price


Admires Julius Bennett’s moral courage

Editor, The Beacon:

Mr. Julius C. Bennett is the best letter-writer because every time he writes I feel like I have been elevated slightly higher toward Heaven.

People need to realize that when Mr. Bennett speaks, he is not just speaking the researched and unvarnished truth, he is speaking from a place of profound love.

Why do I say this? Because a good son, as someone once said, does not wait till his mother has fallen from a cliff to warn her of the impending danger.

Bennett has told us what Trump is trying to do, and he has explained it, clearly.

Moral courage is displayed with each word Mr. Bennett speaks, and this, without a doubt, is the most admirable thing in existence, certainly more admirable than a mountain of cash you sold your soul to get.

The fact that Mr. Bennett is still loving this world, despite all he has seen in the way of racism and bad government, is a testament to his spiritual nobility. It is a sobering and good feeling I get every time I hear Mr. Bennett speak.

He must be heard, and he must be believed. He must be listened to as if he is the leader of a council of elders, and I mean this with every fiber of my being, or the country we claim to love and dubiously call “great” will fall over that proverbial cliff, one way or another.

It will go over the cliff as silly folks, vain enough to actually call themselves wise, are defending the actions of an insane oligarchy.

The most impious thing of all about these people is in their extreme stupidity and cruelty toward the poor, the weak, and the disenfranchised. They will speak the name of Jesus for political gain.

Now, if that image doesn’t conjure up scenes from the Bible, involving people like Herod and the men and women who groveled before him, I don’t know what does.

Samuel McIlrath

New Smyrna Beach