The Honorary Mayor of Brandon has been a local tradition for 59 years. Even though local residents run for mayor, the real winners are the local charities that benefit from the running candidate’s fundraising efforts.
“The race for Honorary Mayor of Brandon began in 1959,” said Janine Nickerson, President of The Community Roundtable, which hosts the annual event.
All monies raised during the race are donated to Brandon area charities. Each dollar is considered one vote. The race begins on Friday, June 1 and ends at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, July 4, a total of 33 days.
“Each candidate holds fundraising events throughout the month of June in hopes of capturing the title,” said Nickerson. “Brandon non-profits are the only winners of this race. Our first Honorary Mayor, Nat Storms, a teacher at Brandon High School at the time, raised $500 to help our area non-profits.” Since then, candidates have created new record high totals. Michelle Hernandez holds the record for the largest amount raised by a female with over $55,000 and Chuck Burgess collected more than $100,500 with his bid for the title.
This year’s Honorary Mayor of Brandon candidates are Jaime Gukeisen and Melissa Haskins. “As people decide to run for Honorary Mayor, they gather a team to arrange fundraising activities and select up to three charities as their beneficiaries for their campaign,” Nickerson said. “It is all in fun.”
Gukeisen will be raising money for local charities Family Promise, North Brandon YMCA and Florida Big Dog Rescue. Follow Jaime Gukeisen on Facebook at Jaime for Honorary Mayor of Brandon to see a list of her upcoming charity events.
Haskins will be raising money for local charities Center Place Fine Arts, ECHO of Brandon and Kiwanis Club of Greater Brandon. Follow Haskins on Facebook at Haskins4Mayor to learn about all of her fun charity events.
“Once the money is counted, the new Honorary Mayor is announced just prior to the beginning of the Fourth of July Parade,” Nickerson said. “The new Mayor is an honored guest in the parade riding in a convertible with their name on the side of the car. In addition, their name is placed on the plaque with past Mayors for posterity.”
Nickerson and The Community Roundtable encourage other Brandon-area residents to run for the 2019 Honorary Mayor of Brandon race. “The deadline is May 1, 2019 so, contact the Community Roundtable for the 2019 application,” Nickerson said. “The objective is to make it fun and fair to all while contributing money to charities assisting less fortunate families in our community.”
If you would like to learn more about The Community Roundtable or if you are interested in running for the 2019 Honorary Mayor of Brandon, you can visit The Community Roundtable’s website at TheCommunityRoundtable.org or call Nickerson at 661-4350.