Former Coast Guardsman and Drug Enforcement Administration Agent Ken Davis won his first-time bid for Islamorada Village Council.
He beat resort manager Eric Carlson with about 70 percent of the 3,044 votes cast. Meanwhile, incumbent Cheryl Meads fended off two challengers to keep her District 2 seat.
“I am honored. I am truly honored,” Davis said. “I promise that I will make decisions based on what’s best for the people of Islamorada. I own no business here, I have no boss, except for my wife, and I will work just as hard for the people in office than I did to get their vote.”
He added: “My phone number is (305) 796-7494. If someone thinks I’m not doing my job, call me and we’ll talk about it.”
Meads received almost 40 percent of the votes to challengers David Purdo’s 28 percent and Peter Bacheler’s 31 percent. Purdo is a former councilman and a retired police officer and charter boat captain. Bacheler is a photographer and owns a business helping people out with the permitting application process in the village.
This will be Meads second two-year term on the council.
“I am truly humbled and overjoyed for an opportunity for another term,” Meads said from the Philippines, where she is on a Christian mission. “I love our community, and I will do the best I can for our people.”
Since moving to the Keys seven years ago, Meads runs a company that buys and renovates run-down properties. She is a chemist by trade and former GlaxoSmithKline quality control expert who made international headlines in 2004 after she exposed fraud at the pharmaceutical giant’s Cidra, Puerto Rico, plant. A federal court awarded her $96 million in 2010 for her testimony against the company.
In addition to his Coast Guard and DEA service, Davis served as a supervisory criminal justice investigator in Baghdad, Iraq, from 2009 to 2010 overseeing a 30-person team of law enforcement officers and intelligence agents.
Key Largo Fire-Rescue and Emergency Medical Services District
Meanwhile, Frank Conklin defeated incumbent Kay Cullen with 51 percent of the vote and will replace her on the Key Largo Fire-Rescue and Emergency Medical Services District board.
The other incumbent, George Mirabella, handily defeated his challenger, Nicholas Rodriguez, for the other seat up for election on the five-member board.
“We now have key people on the board who know what’s going on,” said Mirabella, who often conflicted with his colleagues on the dais.
Mirabella received 62 percent of the 4,671 who cast votes in the race.
The special taxing district oversees the budgets of Key Largo’s volunteer fire department and ambulance corps.