In the upcoming November election, the City of Eustis will have four candidates running for Seat #3, currently held by Commissioner Marie Aliberti. Those candidates are Gary Ashcraft, Bill Gay, Lorenzo Hagins, and Willie Hawkins.
Current Commissioner Emily Lee is unopposed for re-election to Seat #5. Nan Cobb was the sole qualifier for Seat #4, currently held by Commissioner Robert Morin. Commissioners-elect Lee and Cobb, along with the winner of Seat #3, will be sworn-in at the first meeting in January. The terms are for four years and will run through December 31, 2024.
Below are statements submitted by the candidates for Seat #3:
Gary Ashcraft is a Eustis resident, homeowner, and business owner. He’s earned two Business of Science Degrees and is a licensed pharmacist and mortgage broker. Although, he officially retired from pharmacy to start his mortgage business, he still helps local pharmacies as needed. Gary also enjoys volunteering with organizations such as CleanUp Eustis and is very active within the City. “I think now is the right time for me to step up and serve as one of your commissioners, which I feel is both a civic duty and an honor,” says Gary Ashcraft.
Bill Gay, born and raised in Florida, graduated from Osceola High School in Kissimmee and attended Valencia College for business. Bill has worked in the electronic security business since 1980 and is currently the CEO of his company, J B Enterprises. He’s been active in the community since moving to Eustis in 2008 which includes being on the Eustis Chamber of Commerce board, Eustis Chamber of Commerce executive board, Lake County Chamber Alliance board, Leadership Lake County Class 2017, President Chamber Breakfast Club, City of Eustis Traveling Wall committee, City of Eustis Georgefest committee, and Member Sons of American Legion. Bill is also actively involved in the arts/theater at Bay Street Players in Eustis and Melon Patch in Leesburg. Bill has been married for 26 years and has three boys. Some may know him as “Uncle Sam” and/or “Bud Man” in the local parades and at public events, such as Georgefest (voted Georgefest King in 2019), First Fridays and other events.
Lorenzo Hagins Jr. is a native to Wildwood, Florida and graduated from Wildwood High School in 2006. After graduating high school he continued his education at Gupton-Jones College of Funeral Service in Atlanta, Georgia. In 2009, he moved back to Florida to reside in the beautiful city of Eustis. Lorenzo is a loving husband to his wife Gabrielle for 11 years and they both share one daughter, Arteria. He is the founder of the late Restoration Church International of Orlando, Florida where he pastored for two years and is also founder of Lorenzo Hagins Evangelistic Ministries. Mr. Hagins currently works both as a Funeral Service professional for a local funeral home and as a Substitute teacher for the Lake County Schools when needed. He is an activist, leader and mentor in his community with his primary focus being to help the young generation strive for success. Mr. Hagins is also a former basketball coach for both AAU and YMCA basketball and during his time of coaching he became mentors for those children who were in need of counsel. Lorenzo has an abundance of compassion for his family, friends and for the city that he lives in.
Willie Hawkins is a longtime resident of Eustis, Florida and has spent the majority of his life dedicated to public service. He has recently retired as a Supervisory Special Agent who served over twenty-six years with the Department of Justice. Willie is a US military veteran having served in the US Air Force. He is actively involved in the Eustis community where he volunteers and supports youth education, sports, and music. He also holds a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting from Saint Leo’s University.
Early voting will run from October 19, 2020 to October 31, 2020. Polls will be open for the General Election on November 3, 2020 from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. To find out polling locations and/or for more information, please visit the Lake County Supervisor of Election’s website at https://www.lakevotes.com/ or call their office at (352) 343-9734.