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Ruben Colon, left, at an HVAC ribbon-cutting at Pine Ridge High School in 2021, and Fred Lowry, right, also at Pine Ridge High School in 2017. BEACON PHOTOS/MARSHA MCLAUGHLIN

Deltona pastor Dr. Fred Lowry, who currently represents District 5 on the Volusia County Council, filed Jan. 10 to run as a candidate for Volusia County School Board District 5, against incumbent Ruben Colón. 

School Board District 5 includes Deltona and Orange City. 

Colón is a respiratory therapist who had never served in public office before he was elected to the School Board in 2018. He announced his intention to run for re-election to the School Board nearly a year ago.

Lowry has served on the County Council since 2014. Before that, he was a Deltona city commissioner. He was a longtime senior pastor in Deltona, currently at Cross Walk Church of Deltona.

Colón said he was surprised by Lowry’s switch from County Council to School Board, but would run on his record.

“My record speaks for itself: promises made, promises kept,” Colón said, adding, “I am proud of my record. I ran on three things: increasing the graduation rate … increasing vocational programs, and school safety. … Our schools are a better place than they were four years ago.”

Contact by The Beacon for comment, Lowry said he is currently out of town and will comment when he returns.

Lowry was a teacher and high-school principal in the 1970s and ’80s, according to his candidate statement filed with the Elections Office.

In early June 2021, Lowry was at the center of some controversy, as a video of one of his sermons, laced with conspiracy theories about the COVID-19 pandemic and sex trafficking by liberal celebrities, was widely publicized.

According to Volusia County Elections records, Lowry has so far not raised any funds for his campaign. Colón, who filed nearly a year ago, has $22,450 in his campaign kitty, mostly comprising loans from the candidate to himself.

Other County Council and School Board races are shaping up

Current County Council at-large representative Ben Johnson is reaching the end of his four-year term, and has said he will not run for re-election. Current District 4 representative Heather Post, who has served six years on the County Council, and former Port Orange City Manager Jake Johansson, have both filed to run for the at-large seat.

In District 1, which covers DeLand, Lake Helen and most of Orange City, representative Barb Girtman is running for re-election and so far has two opponents: Wallace Bailey and Ronnie Mills. Mills, who owns a septic-tank company, previously ran unsuccessfully for a seat on the County Council. Bailey is a newcomer who has worked in environmental-protection enforcement and owns a jiujitsu studio.

In District 5, which covers Southwest Volusia, including Deltona, two candidates have filed to run: Victor Ramos and David Sosa. Both are currently serving on the Deltona City Commission.

School Board seats representing Districts 1 and 3 will also be on the ballot this fall. In District 1, incumbent Jamie Haynes has two challengers: newcomers Jaclyn Carrell and Georgann Carnicella.

In District 3, which covers southeast Volusia, longtime School Board Member Linda Cuthbert has said she will not run for re-election. Justin Kennedy, Kimberly Short and Jessie Thompson have all filed to run for the position.

Anyone intending to try for a seat on the County Council or School Board has until late June to file papers to run. Until that qualifying period ends, the makeup of the races will not be final.

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