County Commission elects new chair and vice chair
Michelle Stone of the Marion County Commission listens during the Historic Marion County Commission meeting held at the Fort King National Historic Landmark in Ocala, Fla. on Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2023. [Bruce Ackerman/Ocala Gazette] 2023.
The Marion County Commission has elected Michelle Stone as chair and Kathy Bryant as vice chair of the board for the new term.
Stone, who has served as vice chair since 2022, will replace Commissioner Craig Curry to serve as chair.
“It’s humbling and an honor to be voted in as chair for this upcoming year,” Stone said in a written statement. “Working with my fellow commissioners in unity I believe we will accomplish many of our initiatives to keep Marion County a safe, well-planned community with a thriving economy that supports a high quality of life where family matters.”
Stone formerly served as vice chair while Bryant was the chair in 2017, served as chair in 2018 and again served as vice chair under Curry in 2022.
Bryant will take over Stone’s seat of vice chair. Bryant served as vice chair under Charlie Stone in 2011, served as chair in 2012, served as vice chair under Stan McClain in 2014, served as chair in 2015, served as vice chair under Carl Zalak in 2016 and again served as chair in 2017 and 2019.
First elected in 2016, Stone is running as a Republican for reelection to the District 5 seat in the 2024 election. If reelected, this will be her third term. Also running for Stone’s commission seat are Nicole Meade, Republican, and Jose “Manny” Alonso, Independent.
With her election to vice chair, Bryant expressed eagerness to step back into a higher leadership position.
“I’m humbled that my board members have seen me fit to serve in that capacity again,” Bryant said. “I’m humbled that the citizens of Marion County have seen to keep me in the position that I’m in and I look forward to continuing to serve.”The role of the vice chair is to act as the next-highest authority and fill in for the chair in the instance he or she is not able to preside over meetings, execute documents and records or attend events.
“I will be there to back the chair up anytime that she’s unavailable for a special event outside of our normal commission business,” Bryant said.
Bryant said she and Stone each have a record of making history in Marion County, with three instances of having pioneering positions on the county commission.
“The first was when (Stone) was elected because there had never been two women serve on the board at the same time,” Bryant said.
Stone joined Bryant on the board in 2016, and Bryant has served on the board since her first election in 2010.
“Then, when Stone was selected to be my vice chair, we made history as being the first two females to be chair and vice chair,” Bryant said. “Now, we’re doing it again.”