Putnam County Commissioner, District 3

About April Tilton Iser

April Tilton Iser

April Tilton Iser

My name is April Tilton Iser I am running for Putnam County Commission, District 3.

  • I am a 15th generation Floridian
  • I am a 7th generation Putnam county resident
  • I am a 6th generation farmer

I am married to my best friend and we have been together for 10 years. I am a homeschooling mother of 4, and a puppy mom to 3.

I’m a firearms instructor. I teach Refuse to be a Victim and Personal Protection Inside and Outside of the Home courses, and concealed carry classes.

I was a Keep Putnam Beautiful volunteer and board member for 4 years, serving as Vice Chair for 2 of those. I have been a member of the Woman’s Club of Palatka for 6 years, and have served as 2nd Vice President, Arts Chairman, and a Juniorettes advisor.

I am by no means a politician, but I am a community member, business owner and volunteer, and I am wholeheartedly a patriot!  I want to thank all of our veterans for their service and for fighting for the freedoms that I am privileged to have in my life today. Thank you all very much.

No problem stands alone. They’re all interrelated to other problems. I honestly can’t choose any one issue that I feel can be considered worse than the others because the quality of life is so low in almost all aspects at this time.

When we succeed in one area, it helps create a path toward success for other issues we need to overcome as a county. But, when we fail in any of these areas, it often leads to other struggles which we all know too well from our own experiences as Putnam county residents.

Now let’s touch on a few problems I have encountered, and I’m sure many of you will relate to more than one of them.

  1. The miles of unpaved roads we still have and the $20 million debt! We have been paying a tax to put toward the roads specifically. We have been paying this tax since 2002! Why are we now borrowing $20 million dollars for this project? Trust me! I know all about locking in prices for petroleum or whatever the excuse may be. But, I can guarantee you the petroleum prices 16 years ago were ½ of today’s cost. Why didn’t we secure the prices then?
  2. Females made up the majority of the 2015 Saint John’s River State College, graduating class. Yet, females between the ages of 18-35 make up the largest demographic living in poverty in Putnam County. That’s me! That’s ONE of my daughters in 3 years! Why SHOULD we want to stay here?
  3. Putnam County ranks # 34 out of 67 for outdoor activities. We offer magnificent blueways, and bike trails, yet we offer no kayak, canoe, or bicycle rentals, or anything of the sort to attract tourist. We border on of the most successful counties in Florida and do nothing to capitalize on this.
  4. Commuters have no choice but drive through Putnam County to get from some destinations to others across Florida, but we do nothing to capitalize on this.
  5. Putnam County employs almost 1.5 times more people in the industry sector than what would be expected in a location of this size. It’s time to start focusing on the product, service, and retail sectors in our area. Personally, I’m tired of driving an hour, one way, with 4 kids in my car for food, clothes, and entertainment options. Product, service and retail oriented, small businesses offer employment opportunities. Therefore, we need pedestrian friendly collections of retail boutiques, restaurants, etc. We need to responsibly attract, welcome and support businesses and industries that meet the needs of our communities. If we can increase commercial property values by filling the properties with local businesses, it will increase revenues allowing us to hold rates steady, but still take advantage of these increasing revenues. Local, small business owners should have a voice and a place! As a community we need to encourage and assist local businesses in their growth to create jobs for our citizens.
  6. We are 10-15 years behind other communities. It’s 2018! Why is my only option for internet my cell phone or satellite? We’re essentially an internet desert. We need to shrink the digital divide for rural areas and underserved populations. High-speed, reliable internet is an important tool used in advancing opportunities in all communities. It offers increased access to health care, but more importantly to education and employment opportunities. There are many economic and social benefits to this as well. Our unemployment rates are atrocious, our health indicators are poor, and our education attainment is low. Some may not be able to work or study outside of the home because they’re caring for aging relatives or young children. With reliable, highspeed internet, those at home would be able to raise their education attainment level with online schooling, which will help attract employers in the long run.
  7. There is no reason for Putnam County to rank #66 and #67 out of 67 counties when it comes to quality of life, health factors, and social & economic factors. We ranked 65 out of 67 for best counties to live in for 2018. We’re #3 for domestic violence, and double the national statistic for burglary and theft.

Countyhealthrankings.com says:

“poverty limits opportunities for quality housing, safe neighborhoods, healthy food, living wage jobs, and quality education. As poverty and related stress increase, health worsens.”

“higher rates of educational achievements are linked to better jobs, and higher incomes resulting in better health. Education is also connected to lifespan”

“Teenage motherhood is more likely to occur in communities with fewer opportunities for education or jobs. Teen mothers are less likely to complete high school and face challenges to upward economic mobility. In turn, their children often have fewer social and economic supports and worse health outcomes.”

We can indirectly help in the education of our students by creating an economy that encourages healthy and strong growth, not only physically, but mentally as well. Local business owners and local entrepreneurs are the lifeline of our county, without them we have nothing. Local businesses drive economic growth, which fuels everything.

At a political level, we need to work harder at bringing together municipalities throughout the county to implement economic development efforts. We need to offer consistency in regulations and reduce the barriers, cost, risks and uncertainties to stimulate and support local business growth and retention. We need to encourage redevelopment in blighted areas and take advantage of the economic growth surrounding our county. These actions will bring us closer to attracting new businesses to the area.

With everything broken, anything is possible. I by no means want Putnam County to become the next St John’s County or Duval County. I think our small, quaint towns have a charm we should market and take advantage of when it comes to tourism. I’m here today because of the love and passion I have for Putnam County. Like I said, I’m a 7th generation Putnam County resident. This is my home. I’m not ready to give up on my home yet, so I’m here to fight for it, but we lack the vision needed for our future and survival and unfortunately our bodies can not go somewhere our minds have never been. For most, the future is no more than the day after today, and their concept of tomorrow is just as narrow and limited. Vote April Tilton Iser for Putnam County Commissioner, District 3, so we can make sense of our past and create a powerful, positive vision and plan of action for beyond tomorrow.