It’s almost time for Suzie Vong McCracken to hand over her mayoral gavel to the new Honorary Mayor of Sun City Center – almost, but not quite.
Vong, owner of The World of Suzie Vong Hair Salon in Sun City Center, was the first Honorary Mayor of Sun City Center, having been elected in 2014.
Because South County is in the unincorporated area of Hillsborough County and has no “official” mayor like the county’s three cities — Tampa, Plant City and Temple Terrace — over the last few decades it has become standard to elect Honorary Mayors for each of the communities.
These mayors, however, work for charity instead of pay and do community service instead of vote on issues. They also work hard raising money for the communities they represent throughout the year they are in “office” and are responsible for many things that help both individuals and causes.
This year, like last, there are three candidates, and people who want to choose their favorite must hurry because it’s almost the end of the contest. The last day to cast a ballot — or hit “donate” on the Sun City Center Chamber of Commerce’s website, www.sccchamber.com — is Oct. 9. The chamber founded and is the sponsor of the event.
In alphabetical order, those running are Kevin Goodenow, from Sun Radio 96.3 FM; Courtney Hudson, from LifeVantage; and Brook Taylor of Taylor’d Design Inc.
Started in summer 2014, the 100-watt community-focused Sun Radio station began with the intention of supporting local clubs and organizations but has since branched out into music, national financial news, and personal interviews, due to the help of its volunteers.
All three candidates have chosen good causes to support.
Goodenow’s charity is LifePath Hospice, an organization that cares for the terminally ill and those with life-limiting illnesses. He chose that organization because of the wonderful service and care it gave his mother and the family prior to her passing.
Hudson is employed by LifeVantage, producer and distributor of the supplement Proteandim, the Nrf2 Synergizer, a patented formula said to reduce oxidative stress by an average of 40 percent in 30 days. Hudson’s charity is Florida Sheriff’s Youth Ranches, which are devoted to helping at-risk youth, as well as those who are abused and neglected, find direction, receive education and get on a better track for life.
Taylor is fairly new to the area, having moved here just a few months ago from Orlando, and decided to run to gain exposure for her business, Taylor’d Design Inc. A professional interior decorator for homes of all styles, Taylor also has decorated yachts and airplanes.
“She is very versatile,” said the chamber’s executive director, Dana Dittmar.
Taylor has chosen Southeastern Guide Dogs for her charity. Southeastern has provided more than 100 service dogs every year since its founding in 1982. The dogs go to people with visual impairments, veterans with various physical problems and others with diseases or handicaps where they may be of help. This organization takes no government funding and the dogs are free to recipients.
“The purpose of the race is to choose a mayor who will promote community spirit and have fun,” said Dittmar. “We encourage them to use initiative and imagination in their fundraising activities.”
The candidates “tossed their hats into the ring” Aug. 27 to declare their participation in this year’s event.
The winner of the race is determined by the amount of money the candidate raises through a series of events that have been taking place since Aug. 27. The winner will be announced in October. Each dollar received represents a vote, and supporters may vote as many times as they like while the competition is in progress.
To make a donation log onto the chamber’s website, sccchamber.com, and click on the right where it says 2015 Honorary Mayor Charity Fundraiser. Then click the donate button under your favorite candidate.
All monies collected will be split between the charities and the chamber.