Editor’s note: Because we have been publishing columns by District 1 County Council Member Barb Girtman, in fairness, we’re inviting her opponents for re-election to have some of our Opinions page space, too. This week, we introduce Wallace Bailey. Girtman’s column has been suspended for the duration of the election season. Keep reading The Beacon for all the information about local elections, as the 2022 races develop.

I am Wallace Bailey, candidate for Volusia County Council District 1. I grew up in rural Emporia just west of Pierson. There were no kids my age for miles, so I would play in the woods and make the trek through the trees to my grandparents’ house. That is where my appreciation for nature and wildlife comes from.

I worked in underground utilities and marine construction from an early age, working my way up to supervisor and then project manager. In 2004, you may remember the three hurricanes that crisscrossed our state. At the time, I was working in New Smyrna Beach, and I put together several crews and numerous subcontractors to save condominiums and beachside residences from the relentless waves and failing sea walls. It took three months of diligent effort, but together as a team we built 23 sea walls in three months and did not lose one structure.

I began my career in public service in 2009. With 13 years’ experience as our motto says Keep Volusia County Beautiful, I have investigated illegal dumpsites and held the violators responsible.

Through my travels around the county, I am seeing widespread destruction of the natural habitat. Where do all the animals go when property is clear-cut? Where does the stormwater runoff go? Certainly not back into our ever-shrinking aquifer. I plan to limit new growth. Our roads and utilities cannot manage any more demand. I am not against growth, but we must do it in a more responsible way.

I own a small business in Downtown DeLand. For almost nine years, we have been teaching life skills and confidence to our community’s youth and adults through Brazilian jiujitsu. I know I can work with departments and staff to trim the county’s expenses and work to find alternative revenue sources rather than raise our property taxes.

Over the past several years, I was shocked to learn that our local law enforcement only receives a minimum of two weeks of defense tactics training in police academy and little to no hands-on continuing education.

I took the initiative to seek out assistance, and now I’m proud to report that my Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Academy in DeLand has partnered with Adopt A Cop BJJ to give law enforcement the tools they so desperately need.

In addition, we have also partnered with the We Defy Foundation to provide support and training to our nation’s military heroes. Now law enforcement and veterans can train for free. When you see a problem, a concern, a need in your community, you address it and make a solution happen.

The only thing that stays the same is change. I appreciate your support in making that change together.

I look forward to meeting you at upcoming events and working together for an enriched quality of life in Volusia County.

You can get in touch with me at www.WallaceBailey.com.

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Raised in Miami Beach, Margie moved to DeLand after graduating from Florida State University. She has a master's degree in community mental-health counseling, and retired after 12 years in substance-abuse treatment. Having worked at the DeLand Sun News during the 1980s, Margie came to The Beacon in 2002 in search of a second career. She helps the reporters; compiles obituaries, the calendar of events and religion news; and deals with a mountain of emails each day. Margie is the proud Nana to two grandchildren, Sophia and Alex.

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