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Q&A with Matthew McClain, Marion County’s newest Commissioner

By Bryce Abshier – Contact

(Thoughts? Submit a letter to the editor here.)

After months of suspense, Governor Ron DeSantis has appointed Matthew McClain to the Marion County Board of County Commissioners. McClain will serve on the District 3 seat that was left vacant earlier this year.

Under normal circumstances, Marion County Commissioners are elected officials that serve four-year terms. In this unique scenario, former Marion County Commissioner Jeff Gold announced his resignation from his District 3 seat in May. Gold’s decision to resign, which came as a surprise to many, has left this position vacant since June. In a scenario such as this, it was up to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis to make an appointment for the duration of Gold’s term.

A press release issued by the office of Governor DeSantis outlined the qualifications of McClain after the appointment was made. “McClain, of Ocala, was a Chief Legislative Aide for Florida Senator Dennis Baxley. Previously he was a District Secretary and Legislative Assistant for the Florida House of Representatives,” the release stated. “A second-generation Marion County resident, McClain earned his associate degree and bachelor’s degree in business from the College of Central Florida.”

The District 3 seat on the commission is particularly important to South Marion residents. This district includes Belleview and Summerfield, in a territory the ranges from The Villages to south of Ocala. Marion County Commissioners are paid $97,034 per year.

McClain recently took the time to answer a few questions for the Voice. Here is what the newly appointed county official had to say:

Question: Do you have any major goals that you hope to accomplish while serving on the commission?

Answer: The goal is for Marion County to be the best place to live, work, raise a family, and even retire. We don’t need any sharp left turns. We need to stay on any sharp left turns. We need to stay on track to prosperity and opportunity. I have three children, and like many parents and grandparents in our community, we want our children to have the possibility of building their lives here in Marion County just like many of us did.

Question: What do you consider the greatest challenges facing the southern portion of Marion County?

Answer: We are blessed to live in an area of the state that has been economically booming and we’re winning on so many fronts. The challenges we face aren’t unique to what we’re seeing in other parts of the state: how do we effectively manage and plan for growth? Roads and traffic in the southern portion continue to be an issue and we need to invest in those areas.

Question: Has Dennis Baxley, who was a longtime South Marion resident/former Belleview Mayor, offered any unique insight that will help you in your duties?

Answer: Senator Baxley has been a long time friend and mentor for me. It’s been an honor to work alongside him in the Florida Senate these past seven years. I’ve learned much from him about what it means to be a servant leader and protector of principles that make our country so great.

Question: Are there any other miscellaneous comments that you’d like to make?

Answer: It’s an honor to have been appointed by Governor DeSantis to fill this position. I’m excited about the opportunity to continue serving in a different way and for the chance to join him on the mission to protect faith and liberty.

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