Questionnaire Candidate: Michelle Coldiron County Commissioner, Dist. 2

Q. In 20 words or less, let our readers know the reasons in general that you believe you would make the very best person to fulfill the position for which you are running.

A. I have the education, tenacity, experience and excellent working relationships with other officials to solve the challenges Monroe County faces.

Q. What specifically are the top four factors you believe qualify you over the assets of any other potential candidate?

A. 1. I have proven experience in Municipal leadership. I served on the Marathon Code Enforcement Board, and have served the past three years on City Council including this year as Mayor.

2. I have been a part of delegations representing the needs of Monroe County. I am well known and respected by leaders in Tallahassee and Washington, D.C., both unincorporated Monroe County and the municipalities.

3. As an active member in Rotary, Zonta International, Leadership Monroe County, and other organizations, I have forged connections and working relationships with people of various backgrounds and experiences from Key West to Key Largo.

4. I have a well-rounded track record blending business experience with in-depth knowledge of the complexities of the entire Florida Keys.

Q. What is your personal view on the state of the nation in this year’s particularly interesting political season?

A. Every political season is interesting, but I’m dismayed that right now, antagonism has taken the place of civil discourse. Ultimately, this gets in the way of us working together to solve problems. Every day, events – both natural and man-made – occur throughout our nation. These mold the reactions and thought processes of all of us. As elected officials and as residents, we need to reclaim respect for others, even when we disagree, put aside strict party lines and join forces for the common good.

Q. Given your personal awareness of governance in Southeast Florida, are you optimistic about relations between the public and the powers that be?

A. I am very optimistic about the relations between the needs of our community and the higher elected officials. As an elected official for the past three years, I have had the opportunity to stand shoulder to shoulder with other elected officials and community leaders in Tallahassee and Washington DC. I have met with and established good working relationships with state legislators from our district as well as others and with our US Senators. I have met with them and effectively lobbied for the best interests of our community, including for workforce housing and hurricane mitigation relief. I have educated them on the needs for funds for Wastewater/Stormwater Treatment and canal restoration and the importance of continual Everglades Restoration Projects.

Q. Do you feel that the general tenor of political discourse is becoming less polite in Monroe County or staying about the same?

A. For one Human Family it appears some have become less polite in Monroe County to people who do not share their same political opinion. There are people and there are issues. I believe in the importance of respect of person even if I don’t believe in their platform.

Q. Tell us more about your personal history –- your work and family life –- and how they relate to your political ambitions.


A. Originally from Louisville KY, I earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology from Northern Kentucky University. While living in Cincinnati OH, I worked in the corporate world in Pharmaceutical Sales and as Director of Marketing for a private psychiatric hospital. Currently I own a medical supply business with my daughter.

I believe in the importance of community service. Upon moving to the Keys in 2000, I immediately became involved in the community. Previously, I’ve served on the Marathon Code Enforcement Board and am a former Director of the Board for the Grace Jones Community Center. In 2016, I was appointed to the District Advisory Committee (DAC III) for the Tourist Development Council. I serve on the countywide Board of Directors for the Area Health Education Center (AHEC).

Throughout my life, my passion has been the welfare of children. For years as a Child Advocate Coordinator for the State of Florida Guardian ad Litem Program in Monroe County, I acted on behalf of abused children in our community and now continue to volunteer in that program. I am also an active mentor in the Take Stock in Children program. My current memberships include Zonta International, the Greater Marathon Chamber of Commerce, the Lower Keys Chamber of Commerce, the Middle Keys Republican Club, the Republican Executive Committee, and Marathon Rotary Club. I am also a proud alumna of Leadership Monroe County Class XX.

Three years ago, the citizens of Marathon elected me to our City Council and I currently serve as Mayor. Serving on City Council has given me firsthand experience in balancing a municipal budget, working on every aspect of Emergency Management before, during and after a Hurricane, encouraging and approving workforce housing projects and protecting our nearshore waters and coral reef. I became involved in politics because I wanted to help keep our community the best place to live, raise a family, work, run a business, retire or vacation. I understand the importance of balancing the needs of our residents with our tourism driven economy and desire to be a premier vacation destination.

I am married to Greg Coldiron, have an adult daughter Mallory Morton and I have the most adorable Bichon Frise puppy dog. When I’m not working, you might find me playing tennis, on a boat, or on my paddle board. To keep in shape both physically and mentally, I regularly do cardio workouts and Pilates.

My involvement in all of the above activities requires a great deal of time and commitment, but these things are important to me as both a public servant and a resident of Monroe County. Connecting with and working alongside others in our county reinforces my desire to serve the Keys community as County Commissioner.


Q. From your personal experience, would a generally peaceable outlook in the Keys depend upon a measure of control over the number of our visitors and residents?

A. ROGO has created some control over our number of visitors and residents through transient building units and market rate building units. We need to strive for a balance in those numbers to protect our quality of life while also keeping our economy robust.

Q. What do you personally love most about Monroe County and the Florida Keys?

Living on a chain of islands and having the most beautiful views in the world with our clear water and blue skies makes it easy to love where we all call home. I have come to realize however, that the people of the Florida Keys are what I love most about living here.

Q. What troubles you the most about today’s Monroe County and the Florida Keys?

A. I am most troubled by the workforce housing conundrum and the devastation from Hurricane Irma. I am confident that by working together and thinking creatively, we can come up with some real solutions to the workforce housing challenge. In my three years on City Council, we are already seeing results in Marathon. Likewise, with proper Hurricane Mitigation we can rebuild the Keys to be more resilient and less at risk when the next storm occurs.

Q. What planning or political mistakes do you personally believe were the worst to be inflicted on the Keys over the past decade?

A. The erosion of Home Rule has been and potentially can be the worst political mistake inflicted upon the Florida Keys. Home Rule allows county and municipal governments to create or amend rules and govern specifically to our unique needs. There have been efforts at the state level to remove the ability of municipalities to make and enforce their own ordinances in many areas. Intrusion on Home Rule by the state government undermines our ability to make decisions locally. A prime example of this is our inability to tweak our vacation rental ordinance.

Q. Who is your favorite character in the history of the keys?

A. Mel Fisher, he never gave up.

Q.  Who is your least favorite character?

A. Irma

Q. What is your favorite book?

A. In fiction, The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells is one of my favorites.

Q. What is your favorite movie?

A. I enjoyed both the books and the movie series of Harry Potter.

Q. What is your favorite quote?

A. My quote right now while working to rebuild after Hurricane Irma is “There is only one way to eat an elephant, a bite at a time” Desmond Tutu

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