BY ASHLEY D. THOMAS
Rallies, meet and greets and eventual town hall Q&A’s are all on the schedules of DeLand’s Krystal Brown and Jessica Davis.
The two are vying for DeLand’s City Commission Seat 3. Unlike Daytona Beach, where the city commission is broken up into districts, DeLand’s commission is split into seats meaning any registered voter of DeLand can vote in the election – not only those within a certain address in a certain zone.
The general election is Aug. 26.
According to the City Clerk’s office, Vonzelle Johnson, who currently holds the seat, has not filed paperwork for re-election. He has until June 20 to decide if he will seek a second term.
Brown, who held a United 4 Justice Walk last Saturday at the Chisholm Center in DeLand, recently gained national recognition after her ex-husband, Marlon Brown, suffocated under a police car after being chased by a DeLand officer. The officer has since been fired but not charged in the case.
Brown brought in Ben Crump, the attorney who represented the family of Trayvon Martin, to review the case.
A year later, she has been motivated to run for office. “In that year, I’ve been very, very educated on the judicial system and not only that my eyes have been opened to other issues. Things that don’t appear to be evenly distributed such as the amount of money given out to certain parts of the city. It is eye-opening.”
In reference to the sudden death of Marlon, Brown she said has two options.
“Do I stand in my tragedy or on my tragedy? I stand on it. You can go on social media all day long, but if you don’t put feet on the ground, what is there? Some people may say that someone who doesn’t agree with what you are saying is mad or confrontational. But what is wrong is wrong and someone must speak up.”
She continued, “I speak out on facts, I don’t go before any podium, or any microphone and rattle off emotional hoopla. No I come with facts. The facts that I have are ones I acquire from public record.”
“People saw me do that and they said to me, ‘We need you. Your voice is loud and true. We don’t need someone who is getting into City Hall riding on someone else’s coattails.’ I’m not trying to make friends or use this as a stepping stone for something else. I’m doing this for DeLand.”
Brown received an associate degree degree with honors in occupational therapy and a certificate in nursing from Daytona State College.
A career counselor for at-risk teens, Davis provides GED instruction and work readiness skills for high school dropouts age 16-21.
“I’m passionate about working with those that others wouldn’t take an interest in. It’s the same when it comes to politics,” she remarked. “I want to make sure people have a voice. I want people to have adequate housing so they aren’t homeless and to work with those who others may say are at risk.”
Davis says she is not using the seat as a personal platform. “It’s not about Jessica, it’s about DeLand.”
“I want to make a difference. I’ve always been behind the scenes,” said Davis who worked on campaigns to elect other officials, including President Barack Obama.
I consider myself to be a liaison, to work together with the community so they can get things they want.”
Davis is a graduate of Florida A&M University with a degree in journalism and a minor in education. She says her reason for running for elected office was not a difficult decision.
“I love DeLand and what it has to offer. It is a great place for my husband and I to raise our two-year-old daughter.”