Lakeland Commissioner Jim Verplanck just released his intention to run for Mayor against Commissioner Gow Fields. The full press release gives the details. We’ll add more as the race progresses.
City of Lakeland Commissioner Jim Verplanck is officially announcing his decision to run for Mayor. He is currently serving his ninth year as a City Commissioner. Verplanck stated that his decision is based on incumbent Mayor Buddy Fletcher’s announcement that he will not seek reelection. He further stated that his decision to seek the Office of Mayor is borne out of his vast experience in service to the City and his vision of continuing to turn Lakeland into a world-class city. In addition, he has received encouragement from his family, City Commission colleagues and residents of the Lakeland community.
Verplanck said, “I am enthused about the opportunity to seek this office and look forward to the upcoming campaign.” Verplanck is no stranger to the City of Lakeland and municipal government. He served as Director of Community Development for over 30 years. He is Chairman of the Transportation-Airport Committee and a member of the Community Development and Municipal Boards Committees. He represents the City Commission on the board of the Downtown Development Authority, the Lakeland Area Mass District, the Enterprise Zone Development Agency and the Sun ‘n Fun Board of Directors. He is a member of the Polk Transit Authority Board of Directors and was recently elected Chairman of the Polk Transportation Planning Organization Board of Directors.
“A lot has been accomplished in my many years with the City and we also have faced diverse challenges in recent years. It will be a challenge to maintain the high standards achieved by Mayor Fletcher, however, I firmly believe that my knowledge and experience with the City and within the community can be best served as Mayor of this great City”, said Verplanck. “I know our rich history, but I can also envision tomorrow and what is needed to make Lakeland an even better place to live, work and play.”
Verplanck holds a Bachelor of Science degree and a Masters degree in Urban Planning from Michigan State University. He also holds a Bachelors degree in Public Administration from the University of Mississippi. He is a member of the Kiwanis Club of Lakeland, First United Methodist Church and a number of civic and community organizations. Jim and his wife Laura have been married for 46 years. They have two daughters, Bethany Sutton of Auburndale and Lesley Chambers of Lakeland and three grandchildren.