Curry files to run for re-election to Marion County Commission in 2024
File photo: Commissioner Craig Curry [Bruce Ackerman/Ocala Gazette] 2022.
Craig Curry has filed his candidacy to run for re-election to the Marion County Board of County Commissioners in 2024.
Curry, the current chair of the commission, is running as a Republican. As of Oct. 18, no other candidates have filed to run for his seat for District 1.
Curry, 75, was first elected to the county commission in 2020. He previously served as the mayor of Ocala from 1985 to 1990 and as president of both the Ocala City Council and Marion County Chamber of Commerce.
“I have a passion for this, I think I’m pretty good at it. My personality is a consensus building type of personality,” he said.
If re-elected, Curry said he has several priorities, including a few capital improvement projects.
“I’m going to work very hard to make sure we get a new animal shelter for Marion County. There’s a big push right now to do that,” he said.
The animal shelter is one of the potential priority projects funded by the county’s local-option penny sales tax. If renewed by voters in 2024, the tax could be instated for a 20-year term to fund $17 million to the animal shelter, in addition to over $1.2 billion toward transportation and public safety projects.
“Another thing is to work diligently to build out Veterans Memorial Park and to continue to work on bringing in the veterans nursing home,” Curry said.
He also expressed a desire to “continue to work with fire, EMS and first responders,” he said.
“We’ve been really working hard to get the entry-level pay up to around $50,000 for the sheriff, fire and emergency services,” he said.
Curry said he thinks one of the greatest strengths that benefits him as an elected official is the relationships he’s cultivated since being elected.
“Something personal that I have worked on since I’ve been in office and have made great strides on is building relationships, with for example, FDOT (Florida Department of Transportation) and our legislative delegation, both state and federal,” he said. “That’s something that pays dividends for our community to have good relations with the various departments that we work with.”
Curry said there may be an opportunity for him to be chair of the board in the next term and he would embrace the chance to serve in that capacity again.
“I’ve enjoyed being chairman. It’s a lot of additional work, but it’s very, very rewarding because it puts you in a position to be able to get additional things done,” he said.
With many years of public service under his belt, Curry said he has no intention of slowing down on representing the people of Marion County.
“I just love my community,” he said. “People my age are ready to retire, but I’m ready to go. I like to work.”