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Columbia County Observer

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Alden Rosner & Todd Sampson Vying for Lake City Council District 13 This Fall: They're 'off & running'


Mr. Rosner (left), Ms. Moses (center), Mr. Sampson (rt.)                Observer photos and graphic

LAKE CITY, COLUMBIA COUNTY, FL – The only woman on the Lake City City Council has decided not to run for a fourth term. Two challengers are running to fill the soon to be vacated seat: Alden Rosner, a Florida native who now makes his home in Lake City, and Todd Sampson, a life-long City resident.

City Councilwoman Melinda Moses joined the City Council in 2008 at about the same time then City Manager Wendell Johnson came on board and after 12 years on the City Council as its only woman she had decided not to seek a fourth term.

Two candidates have stepped up to the plate to fill the District 13 seat.

Alden Rosner

Alden Rosner, Lake City, FL
Alden Rosner during a TDC meeting in 2018. (Observer photo)

For the past month, the word on the street was that Alden Rosner, the handpicked replacement for former Columbia County Sports Marketing Director Kelly Lowery, was going to run for Ms. Moses' seat.

Mr. Rosner came to Lake City from Farragut, Tennessee, where he served as the Parks and Athletics Coordinator for three years.

From 2008 through 2014, Mr. Rosner was the Suwannee County Parks and Recreation Athletics Supervisor.

Mr. Rosner attended UF and graduated with a BS in Advertising in 2004 and a Masters in Sports Management in 2007.

On the job, Mr. Rosner always presents a professional appearance and is well spoken.

While the staff of the Tourist Development Council seems at many times like a country club job, in the past when one could get through the locked doors of the TDC offices, Mr. Rosner was the one who always worked with his door open and many times seemed like he was the only one working there, something which this reporter commented to Mr. Rosner about.

His response was a smile.

Mr. Rosner's press release of May 25 announcing his candidacy says, "I knew from the day I moved to Lake City that I had moved home. This community is vibrant and welcoming. I want to work to keep it that way and let others see what a community should be."

This reporter does not remember seeing Mr. Rosner at any City Council meeting.

Mr. Rosner appears to be the candidate of political insiders and the Lake City Chamber of Commerce. It will be interesting to see if the Chamber endorses him.

Todd Sampson

Todd Sampson, Lake City, FL
Todd Sampson listens during a City Council meeting in 2019.

Since 2019, Todd Sampson has been attending City Council meetings from time to time. When the big issues were on the agenda, Mr. Sampson was usually there. Those that knew him knew he was seriously considering a run at the District 13 seat.

Mr. Sampson was born in Lake City; raised in Lake City; owns and manages businesses in Lake City. He graduated from UF with a degree in Business Administration in 1997.

Mr. Sampson told the Observer, "For the last 20 years I have worked in the banking and finance industry and gained experience as a commercial loan officer and a mortgage lender. I’ve had leadership roles in several non-profits and have seen firsthand what is possible when an organization comes together for a common purpose."

In an email, Mr. Sampson wrote that he is the past president of the Downtown Rotary Club of Lake City and the past Chairman of the Florida Crown Workforce Board.

Mr. Sampson is the President of the Lake City - Columbia County Humane Society.

Mr. Sampson told the Observer, "We need someone who has created jobs and who has experience outside of being a government employee to challenge the status quo and focus on what truly matters and we need someone who is invested in our success and who is here for the long haul."

Todd Sampson with the Sampson women.
Todd Sampson and the Sampson women circa 2019.

Mr. Sampson has been married to Laura Sampson for over 20 years and has 5 daughters from 3 to 14.

"As a father of five I want my children to realize their career goals right here in Lake City," he said.

Mr. Sampson concluded his conversation, "We need smart growth that allows for an increase in opportunity. Our young people shouldn’t have to move away or commute to other areas to be successful."

Epilogue

Numerous times outgoing Councilwoman Melinda Moses has said Lake City is what people think of when they think Columbia County.

Both candidates have taken different tracks in their decision making process to run for public office.

Both candidates have the education credentials, work experiences, and verbal skills to make this a race worth watching and an important race for the future of Lake City.

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