John McGovern, Village Council Seat 3

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John McGovern and family. Photo: Carrie Bradburn/CAPEHART
  • What are your top three areas of concern? 

The Village of Wellington is one of Florida’s best municipalities to call home. My top three areas of concern are maintaining our Village’s fiscal stewardship, keeping all our public schools A-rated and continuing to keep our community a safe place to raise a family and for seniors to thrive. In keeping with these priorities, I have consistently voted to keep our property taxes low, pushed for increased annual funding of the Keely Spinelli Grants to $400,000 and voted to invest in new technology and infrastructure for our first responders, resulting in total crime being reduced by 56% and Wellington being considered one of Florida’s safest places to live, work and play. 

  • How long have you lived in Wellington? Name an accomplishment that you’re proud of.  

Wellington is my hometown. In 1986 my family moved to Wellington and I attended middle school and high school here, where I was part of the first graduating class of Wellington High School to attend all four years. In 2011, my wife Michelle and I returned to Wellington to raise our two girls and give them the same opportunities I had to attend Wellington public schools and participate in our second-to-none parks and recreation programming.  

I am proud to have cast the deciding vote to make Wellington the first municipality in Palm Beach County to offer paid parental leave to Mothers AND Fathers. Since its passage in 2016, numerous employees have gotten to spend important bonding time with their infant children. To me, our policies should always echo the fundamentals of our community – families first!

  • How has the Village Council handled the pandemic and what improvements, if any, do you have in mind?

When COVID 19 swept the nation, Wellington was not immune to the immediate challenges. I acted to help lead our Village response, as well as coordinating our western community’s regional response in my role as Chairperson of the Western Communities Council. Throughout the pandemic, I’ve worked with state and county leaders, health experts and Village Staff to ensure Wellington responded with testing sites and vaccines for those who wanted one. Our Village enacted an emergency rental assistance fund to assist Village residents in need and we partnered with Wellington organizations and Feeding South Florida to provide over 45,000 meals to residents with food insufficiency. I’m proud of the way our Village and community came together to support one another and lead by example. Simply, Wellington’s COVID-19 response has been second-to-none from Day 1.

  • How can the Village Council support local businesses, including the Mall at Wellington Green?  

The Village of Wellington is home to many small businesses that make our community a great place for commerce. My approach has been to not obstruct local businesses, but help them thrive with low taxes and less red tape, so they can succeed. I have voted to hold the millage rate at what will be a 15-year average of 2.47 mills, one of the lowest in Palm Beach County. In addition, I worked with my colleagues on the Council and with Village Senior Staff to streamline and reorganize all Village ordinances to make them easier to understand for businesses and residents, resulting in making it simpler to do business in our Village.  Regarding the Mall at Wellington Green, I voted for and supported their plan to bring a movie theater onsite and will continue to support their efforts to diversify their retail and programing options for visitors and shoppers. 

  • How can the Village of Wellington prioritize diversity?

I have placed an increased emphasis on diversity, equity and inclusion in each decision I make in our Village. To ensure a diversity of opinions in decisions, nearly 50% of the appointments I have made to Village Advisory Boards are minorities. In addition. I have prioritized Village Youth programs that work to instill leadership and provide job training opportunities for our youth, regardless of gender, ethnicity or socio-economic status.    

  • What safety issues are you concerned about in Wellington? 

The truth is, Wellington is one of Florida’s safest municipalities and crime is down 56% since 2015. Our biggest challenge though is traffic safety. I have worked closely with our Palm Beach County Sheriff’s deputies on two anti-DUI initiatives that work to bring attention to this issue and as a result reduce traffic fatalities. 

  • Are you in favor of the proposed pool project, building two resort style pools (estimated as an over 12-million-dollar project)?  Why or why not?   

I am always in favor of quality services and top-notch Village facilities for our residents, families and children to enjoy. These amenities are at the foundation of what makes Wellington a great hometown; allowing facilities to fall into disrepair is not an option. Regarding the Wellington public pool complex, specifically, I myself used that facility as a kid nearly 35 years ago, and my children do so today. The Village will conduct a complete economic cost analysis and feasibility study on the options available to us regarding the proposed pool project and I look forward to its findings later this year. No matter what option we ultimately choose, Wellington must have an available, first-class, public aquatics complex. 

  • What role should the Village Council play in supporting the equestrian side of Wellington?

The Equestrian Preserve is uniquely Wellington and we should continue to protect it. On the Village Council, I have voted to expand the Wellington Equestrian Preserve as well as  support  the various diverse equestrian venues that rely on the Preserve.  We cannot ever forget that it is the ‘Equestrian Experience’ that distinguishes Wellington from almost every other community in the entirety of South Florida.

What’s the best thing about living in Wellington, according to you?

Wellington is the premier place to raise a family in Palm Beach County. We have unmatched parks, recreation and community centers, A-rated public schools, low taxes and safe neighborhoods. I’m incredibly honored to be able to serve the Village I grew up in and love the family friendly community we have all created in Wellington. It is truly a “Great Hometown”. 

How can you help to address the issue of affordable housing, as rent and mortgage rates continue to rise?

Housing affordability is a problem we are seeing across Palm Beach County and the Nation. In Wellington, I have supported and will continue to fund both the grant programs we created to assist homeowners with remodeling assistance, etc. so they can increase their home equity and maintain their financial nest egg as they age in-place, and rental assistance programs that support local families in need. 

What major issues need to be addressed in our education system?  

Our Village works closely with our Wellington public schools. I championed and was successful in increasing the funding of the Keely Spinelli Grants to $400,000/year. These funds go directly to support the lowest performing students in reading and mathematics at Wellington’s public schools ensuring they improve their academic performance and in-turn that all of our public schools remain A-rated, which has directly helped keep property values rising and made Wellington an attractive place for new families. Property values have increased each and every year that I have been on the Village Council. In addition, I served on the Principal Selection Committee for Wellington High School and Wellington Landings Middle School to help find the right leadership to steward the future success of these two core Wellington public schools. 

What advantages do you have over your opponent?

Experience matters and I have a proven record of accomplishments that ensure government is working to support our families, businesses and community. I have longstanding relationships with county leaders, state officials and our regional sister cities, all of which has benefited Wellington when it comes to funding, services and crisis responses to hurricanes and the Covid-19 pandemic. Wellington is the 5th largest municipality in Palm Beach County with hundreds of employees and a total budget in excess of $100,000,000; Wellington is not a small business, but a major municipality whose leaders must be experienced, serious, steady, strong and, most of all, free of naiveté and political platitudes.  I am experienced and am committed to keeping the momentum this Council has created for Wellington’s bright future. That’s why our police, firefighters and nearly every major organization and elected leader has endorsed me for re-election. I would be honored to continue working for Wellington. 

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For more information, visit https://www.mcgovernforwellington.com/