Dr. Willie Kimmons hopes so. He is running for the District 2 seat being vacated by Josh Wagner.
BY DAYTONA TIMES STAFF
Dr. Willie Kimmons, a veteran educator and community leader, has announced he’ll run for the District 2 Volusia County Council seat.
Kimmons, who also is a regular Daytona Times guest columnist, cites his lifetime commitment to public service as a reason he’s running for office.
He is seeking the seat being vacated by Josh Wagner, who is term-limited. So far, Kimmons is being opposed by Daytona Beach Shores Councilwoman Billie Wheeler.
Kimmons joins current Florida State Rep. Dwayne Taylor as a Black seeking a Volusia County position. Taylor, who is term-limited and can’t run again for his House seat, is running for Volusia County chair in 2016.
If they win, Kimmons and Taylor would make history – joining At-Large Council Member Joyce Cusack. There has never been more than one Black on the council at a time. Cusack was elected last November and won’t face re-election until 2018.
‘Strong new voice’
Kimmons said he wants to focus on economic development and help create better services for seniors and the homeless.
Kimmons’ bio includes an impressive list of accomplishments – a Title I schools educational consultant, former teacher college professor and president, author and motivational speaker.
But Kimmons cites his long family political history as a primary reason he’s seeking office.
“I think I can be a strong new voice for improving our communities and qualities of life for all citizens in District 2,” he told the Daytona Times this week.
Proud family history
Kimmons said his family history goes back over 80 years in Volusia County. He notes his political accomplishments of an uncle, Henry Lee.
“Uncle Henry and his older brother James Alphonso Lee ran the Bethune-Cookman Vocational School in the early1940s, teaching auto mechanics to women,” Kimmons stated. He noted that Henry Lee was a ward leader for years in the late 1930s in charge of voting in nine of the Daytona Beach’s precincts for all state, county and city elections.
“He was the Supervisor of Elections for two terms where he registered voters in his home and signed all the voter registration cards. He was also one of the first deputy sheriffs in Volusia County where he served for eight years.’’
Kimmons said he was inspired by his late godmother Shirley Chisholm. She was the first African-American woman elected to Congress in 1968. Chisholm also was the first Black woman to run for president.
For several decades, the Army veteran worked in education, including presidency of Wayne County Community College.
Born in Hernando, Miss, he was raised in Memphis, Tenn., where he attended public schools. He was a student athlete and received an athletic scholarship to attend Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Mo. He later became a first lieutenant in the Army.
Kimmons received his undergraduate education at Lincoln and later a doctorate from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Ill.
After retiring from his education career, he started Save Children Save Schools Inc., which assists educators and parents in the growth and development of children.
He also is the author of five books and travels around the country as a motivational speaker.
He has been a member of many community endeavors, including vice chairman of the Daytona Beach Community Relations Council, vice chair of the Daytona Beach/Volusia County Association for Retarded Citizens, board member of Volusia County Department of Health, vice president of the Volusia County Florida Men Against Destruction-Defending Against Drugs and Social Disorder, and board member of the local Salvation Army.