Villager Patrick Alan DeGrave will always hold the distinction of being the first Fruitland Park commissioner from The Villages.
That’s because the Village of Pine Ridge resident is the only candidate to file for the District 1 seat to replace outgoing Commissioner Rick Ranize after the Nov. 6 election.
Ranize, who retired from the Lake County Sheriff’s Office, was elected in November 2014 at the same time voters overwhelmingly approved an amendment to divide the city into five districts. Since he doesn’t live in District 1, he can’t fun for the post again.
DeGrave, who moved to The Villages in June 2017, spent 39 years in local government, first as a Mount Pleasant, Wis., police officer/sergeant for 16½ years and then in six local governments in Wisconsin and Illinois for 22½ years. He has four college degrees and has been an adjunct faculty member at Concordia University in Wisconsin for the past 24 years, now exclusively in the online program since retiring to Florida.
A native of Racine, Wis., DeGrave said he believes his fellow Villagers deserve to have an experienced commissioner representing them.
“I felt my professional and educational experience would be useful to the city,” he said.
Once he takes office, DeGrave, who lives at 3233 Delk Drive, said he will strive to make good decisions for the city and his district. He added that he will make it a priority for the city to provide quality services for the health, safety and welfare of the taxpayers.
“I see continued development opportunities on the horizon for the city,” he said. “And I hope to bring my experience to the table to help make good land-use and growth decisions.
DeGrave, who will serve a four-year term, has been married to his wife, Sue, for 40 years and they have one son, John.
The District 2 seat held by Commissioner Ray Lewis also will be filled by a Villager in November. Three candidates – Fred Collins (3069 Brinson Lane), August Kellerman (2982 Kramer Court) and John Mobilian (3735 Conservation Trail) are vying for that seat. They will compete in the Aug. 28 primary election, with the top two vote-getters advancing to the general election Nov. 6.