I'm what some would describe as a "wash ashore" at the beach. Growing up in landlocked Indiana, but often vacationing in Florida, I always dreamed of one day living here. 

That opportunity came in 2000, when I accepted a position at WJCT as the station's first news director. I knew immediately that I wanted to live at the beach, and purchased my home here late in 2000. I've lived and worked in many cities around the country, but here in Neptune Beach, I've found a place to call home. I married Andie Pennell, a Beach native and Fletcher graduate who has lived most of her life in Neptune Beach, and we have no desire to live anywhere else.

I currently operate a communications firm catering to small businesses from my home. I've reached the point in my life where I only cross "the ditch" when I want to, and spend most of my time on our barrier island. I maintain "The Island Times", an online magazine focused on the governments of all three beach communities and issues important to the beach. As a journalist, I know the importance of listening to all sides of an issue, gathering facts, and not approaching any issue with a preconceived idea of the outcome. In other words, I know how to listen, and as your City Councilperson, I will listen to you.

I am a lifelong fiscal conservative. I believe that local government has the greatest impact on people's day-to-day lives, and that government should be limited in its scope. Taxes should be collected only for what is necessary to provide for public safety, maintaining infrastructure and preserving quality of life. 

To me, quality of life in Neptune Beach means protecting our dunes, providing public parks and greenspaces, keeping the roads paved and public utilities operating efficiently, and of course, assuring that our streets, parks and other public facilities are safe. Neptune Beach has a police department that is second to none, and because of that, we have a quiet and safe residential community.

I am also a strong proponent of a vibrant business community in Neptune Beach. I want a city that is known as being business-friendly, and where regulations are applied fairly. Businesses are vital to our tax base, and they should be welcomed and encouraged to stay, thrive and grow in our community. I have been a member of the JaxChamber for nine years, serve on the board of the Beaches Division, and have sat as chair of the Public Policy Committee for the past three years. 

I was a member of the leadership team that worked to preserve the St. Johns River Ferry when it was threatened with closure, acting as Media and Public Relations chair for that task force. I'm proud to have been a part of the team that kept our ferry.

I was a member of the the JCCI "Recession, Recovery and Beyond" study committee which identified four key areas that presented immediate opportunities for job creation and growth with a goal of helping the 7-county Northeast Florida region recover from the Great Recession of 2007-2008. Following the conclusion of that study, I chaired the implementation committee for the study, advocating for job creation in the areas of port logistics and associated industries, health and medical sciences, aviation/aerospace and defense contracting, and financial services. The implementation effort spanned two years. Each of those areas has seen significant positive growth in terms of job creation and contributions to the local economy. The implementation committee's final report can be found here

As a member of the City Council, is is my pledge to you to listen, evaluate, and make decisions based on facts, while always keeping in mind that whatever money that is spent by the government has come from those of us who are taxpayers in Neptune Beach. I will be a public servant, not a politician. I hope you will join me in that effort.

Paid for by Tom Patton for Neptune Beach City Council, Seat 4