Meet the candidates for Okeechobee County Commission: District 3

Three Okeechobee residents have qualified for the Okeechobee County Commission District 3 seat.  The position is currently held by Frank Irby, who has stated he does not plan to seek re-election. Qualification for candidates ends June 24. Candidates for county commission must live in the district they represent. However, voting is county wide. Voting is not restricted by district.

Robert “Bobby” Keefe

OKEECHOBEE — Robert “Bobby” Keefe is a candidate for the County Commission District 3 seat. He intends to help improve the quality of life for its citizens and incoming businesses.

Robert “Bobby” Keefe

Robert “Bobby” Keefe

Born and raised in Okeechobee, Mr. Keefe graduated from Okeechobee High School in 1996 and went on to serve in the Marine Corps in 2001. After being medically discharged in 2012 due to combat injuries, he returned to Okeechobee where he lives with his wife, Bianca, and raises their three children Zane, 11, Leah, 11 and Ricky, 6.

Mr. Keefe and his wife currently own and manage The Lounge at Sacred Sanctuary, a wellness center that specializes in massage therapy, acupuncture and life coaching. He is the founder and president of The Warrior Center, Inc., which is a charitable 501(c)(3) non profit that supports local veterans, law enforcement and firefighters.

Mr. Keefe is also actively involved in the community. He is currently on the board of directors for the Chamber of Commerce and regularly spends his time volunteering with The Warrior Center, Inc., and other organizations such as Hospice of Okeechobee.

If he were to gain the position of county commissioner, Mr. Keefe said he would like to focus on changing the stigma some people feel about staying in and coming back to Okeechobee.

“I have very fond memories of my childhood, but like many others, after leaving Okeechobee, I never even dreamt of coming back to Okeechobee to live,” Mr. Keefe said. “So I’d really like to change that outlook for the next generations to come and help the county to develop its economic outlook and improve the quality of life.”

By changing the outlook people may have on the county, Mr. Keefe feels it will help bring potential businesses that can help develop economic growth and job opportunities for the citizens.

Not only does Mr. Keefe want to improve the quality of life for potential businesses, but he also wants to make the county a better place for its citizens.

From revamping the parks and recreational areas in town to creating transparency and improving communication between the citizens and officials, Mr. Keefe wants to develop a better environment while maintaining Okeechobee’s small town charms.

He feels his 12 years of leadership experience in the Marine Corps as a platoon sergeant and then lieutenant can help him reach his goals for the community and help improve leadership within the county.

“[In the Marine Corps], I experienced working with individuals to promote the mission of the units and I think that correlates very well to running any government entity or any team or business,” Mr. Keefe stated. “Good leadership at the top promotes teamwork, unity, and pride — ensuring goals are accomplished for the community.”

Brad Goodbread

Brad Goodbread is a candidate for the Okeechobee County Commission District 3 set. His main goals are to help create more opportunities for jobs in Okeechobee and develop a business-friendly environment.

Born in Broward County, Mr. Goodbread and his family moved to Okeechobee when he was 5 years old. He is a graduate of Okeechobee High School and Texas A&M University where he obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Agricultural Economics and a Master’s Degree in Land Economics and Real Estate. He then went on to start a limousine business in Fort Worth, Texas.

Brad Goodbread

Brad Goodbread

In 2001, Mr. Goodbread returned to Okeechobee to help manage his family’s business, Goodbread Ranches. He currently devotes most of his time to running his eponymous trucking company, which he started in 2012.

Mr. Goodbread is active in the Okeechobee community. He is a member of the Kiwanis Club of Okeechobee. He and his brother have sponsored multiple baseball teams and football teams within the Okeechobee Citizens Recreation Association. He is also a chairman of the Tourist Development Council.

If elected county commissioner, he wants to focus on creating job opportunities by making Okeechobee a place where businesses will want to expand.

“One of the functions of the county commission is to try to create an environment that is conducive for growth and that is business-friendly,” Mr. Goodbread said. “For instance, the building and zoning department, it should be handled more like a customer service oriented entity, like ‘What can we do for you? What can we do for you to facilitate you coming to our town and bringing your business here?’”

Not only does he feel a business-friendly atmosphere is important, but Mr. Goodbread would also like to help improve the quantity and quality of jobs available for the citizens.

“One of the biggest problems with our county, I would have to say, is we don’t have a large thriving middle class like other towns do,” Mr. Goodbread stated. “I think that’s something that needs to be addressed. We need to try to get not just Entry-level paying jobs but also upper-level paying jobs.”

With his experience in owning and managing businesses, Mr. Goodbread believes he has the qualifications to understand what it takes to be county commissioner.

“I think having a business experience and a business background is very important. You’re used to managing a budget and making payroll and making decisions, making hard decisions rather, that are sometimes popular and sometimes aren’t, but they’re the best decisions that you can make,” Mr. Goodbread said. “As county commissioner, you’re managing a 100+ million dollar budget for the county every year and you’re trying to make decisions that are best for the citizens of Okeechobee to try to create and environment for growth and for businesses to flourish.”


Debra Sales

Debra Sales is a candidate for the Okeechobee County Commission District 3 seat. If elected, she  plans to dedicate as much time as needed for the successful future of Okeechobee.

Debra Sales

Debra Sales

Mrs. Sales has lived in Okeechobee all of her life. She is a graduate of both Okeechobee High School and attended Indian River State College for two years. She has been married to her husband John for 24 years and is raising two children, their 13-year-old son, Raith, and 10-year-old daughter, Kiersten.

As a lifetime resident of Okeechobee, Mrs. Sales has spent her life establishing local businesses and helping develop the community. She is the co-owner of The Brahman Theaters III, 9th Ave Check Cashing & Bill Pay, Stampede Night Club and Hales Farms.

She is currently a member of the Okeechobee County Planning And Development Board, which she has served on for four years. Her work on the Okeechobee County Planning & Development Board includes making recommendations on the agenda items for development in Okeechobee County, which then are submitted to the Board of County Commissioners.

If elected county commissioner, one task Mrs. Sales would like to address on is developing businesses within the community.

“As a small business owner, I understand the importance of business to the long term future of our community,” Mrs. Sales said. “It is important to provide good jobs to keep our young families in our town. I am for business and will look at all items objectively, not only for the welfare of economics but also for our residents.”

Being a co-owner of four local businesses, Mrs. Sales is confident her experiences will assist her in helping the county.

“Each and every day, I have to make decisions for the well being of my business, the employees that work for me as well as my family,” Mrs. Sales said. “On a different scale, the county is much larger, but in a lot of ways they’re similar. I have to look at the money that’s coming into the businesses and allocate where we’re going to spend money and what we’re going to spend it on. That has a lot of similarities to what your commissioners do for Okeechobee.”

Another issue Mrs. Sales would like to focus on is helping keep the county’s budget in order. She believes in conservative spending for the community and is willing to work with other officials to help regulate the budget.

“I don’t want to see our community spend unnecessary dollars fighting over things,” Mrs. Sales stated. “I want to be reasonable and work with the heads of office in different positions throughout the county to resolve any budgeting issues, anything that comes in front of the board or on the back end of budgeting meetings.”

Mrs. Sales wants the public to know she will always be open to hearing the people’s concerns and will do her best to address problems facing the community.

“I will put forth the tireless effort any time anyone needs anything,” she said.

“My phone is on 24 hours. I may not be able to resolve everyone’s issues, but I will certainly try to help them out in any way I can.”

Other 2016 Okeechobee County elections

Meet the candidates for Okeechobee County Commission: District 1

Meet the candidates for Okeechobee County Sheriff

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