By Michelle Colesanti

The Community Roundtable of Brandon has held its annual Honorary Mayor’s race since 1959. That first year, Nat Storms took the top honor after raising $500. This year three local gentlemen contenders are running for the coveted title and hope to raise a lot of money to benefit their chosen local charities.

According to Community Roundtable President Janine Nickerson, “Candidates begin raising money on June 1 and stop at 8 a.m. on July 4. The funds are tallied and the new mayor is announced. A convertible waits to transport the new mayor through the Fourth of July Parade.”

Last year, Michelle Hernandez set a new record for females raising over $55,500 for local non-profits. The 2016 Brandon Mayor’s Race will be a contest among Craig Beckinger, Chuck Burgess, and George Shea. The candidates look forward to a lot of community support at all of their events.

Craig Beckinger

Beckinger, founder of An ABC Event, Inc., is campaigning for The Outreach Clinic, ECHO of Brandon, The Greater Brandon Community Foundation and the Trey Curry Foundation.

“My goal is to help bring dreams to life one donation at a time. I have selected these non profits, which cover a wide variety of needy people in the Greater Brandon Community. My dream is to have all of the people in Brandon that need help to be able to receive help. This is the beginning of change.”

His upcoming events include a Kickoff Party on Wednesday, June 1; Hawaiian Luau on Saturday, June 4; Drag Queen Bingo, Thursday, June 9; ABC Event Planning Ribbon Cutting on Thursday, June 16; Purse Bash on Tuesday, June 21; Bunco at The Bridges on Thursday, June 23; Clay Shoot on Saturday, June 25; Bridal Show on Sunday, June 26 and Pinot’s Pallette on Monday, June 27.

For more information, visit Craig For Honorary Mayor of Brandon on Facebook or email

Chuck Burgess

Burgess is the executive director at Brandon Sports & Aquatics Center (BSAC) in Brandon. He is campaigning to raise funds for BSAC, the Brandon Rotary Club Charity Fund and also for the Bill Carey Brandon Boys and Girls Club.

According to Burgess, “My main goals are to bring more awareness, exposure and resources to the missions and causes of my selected charities. Also, I want to connect with other people and organizations to better learn their needs and challenges while always striving to make Brandon an even better community.”

His upcoming events include a Wine & Cheese Soiree, Friday, June 3; a Community Kick Ball Tournament on Saturday, June 4; Family Laser Tag, Sunday, June 5; Honorary Mayor Movie Night; Clay Shoot, Saturday, June 11; Underground Dance Party, Friday, June 17; Golf Tournament, Saturday, June 18, and a Run/Barbecue/Concert, Saturday, June 25.

For more information on Burgess’ upcoming events, visit his Burgess4Brandon Facebook page or email

George Shea

Shea is a Realtor with Signature Realty. His charities include the Newsome Band Boosters, Campo YMCA and Seeds of Hope.

“My goals as Honorary Mayor are to raise as much money as possible for my charities. Everyone can make a difference by the selfless act of giving. I want to give amazing opportunities to individuals who don’t have all the resources to obtain them on their own,” Shea said.

Shea’s Race Kick-Off is planned for Friday, June 3 at a location to be determined. He will have plenty of choice events through the month of June. Events include Softball Tournament, Saturday, June 4; Wine Tasting Event, Thursday, June 9; Coach Bingo, Thursday, June 16; Family Carnival/Food Truck Rally, Saturday, June 18; Battle of the Bands, Friday, June 24 at World of Beer; Bunco Night, Thursday, June 30, and Casino Night, Friday, July 1.

For more information on his events, visit George Shea for Honorary  Mayor of Brandon on Facebook or email

The Community Roundtable will bring awareness to the race hosting an additional After Hours event with the Brandon Chamber of Commerce on Thursday, May 26 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. For more information, visit

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Michelle Colesanti
Michelle has been with the Osprey Observer for almost nine years, and her current position is Assignment Editor. She resides in Bloomingdale with her husband Phil, two sons, Philip and Matthew, and Tigger the cat.