Jim Gray Looks Towards Future, Reflects On Accomplishments

    The Orlando City Commissioner recently announced that he would be seeking re-election in 2018.

    By Jacob Engels

    While many people expected Orlando City Commissioner Jim Gray to not seek re-election in 2018, he announced weeks ago that he indeed would.

    Gray has lead the Lake Nona area seat through some massive growth and we sat down with him last week to discuss what another term with Commissioner Jim Gray would look like.

    Priorities for the New Term?

    • Continue to make District 1 the best place in Orlando to live, work and play. That is accomplished by working with Landowners, Neighbors, and the City Staff to ensure we have adequate infrastructure and building design standards to accommodate the expected growth in our area.
    • In 2016, we added 8 additional Orlando police officers to the area. As more residents and businesses move to our area, I will make sure we have adequate police and fire/rescue resources to keep our neighborhoods safe.
    • Make best efforts to maintain fiscal discipline and be a good custodian of taxpayer’s money.
    • Continue to be responsive to the requests of residents. City government is sometimes hard to navigate; I, along with my staff, will continue to be available to address issues and concerns.

    Biggest Accomplishments?

    • Guided the southeast part of the City through 5 years of unprecedented growth. 1 out of every 3 building permits in the City originate in my District.
    • Encourage responsible growth of new residential and retail developments by involving neighbors in the planning and approval process and by insisting on superior building design.
    • Park Impact Fee – Sponsored a new City Ordinance that allocates a portion of each new building permit fee (residential or commercial) to be placed in a Fund used to build new parks in the District. Prior to this, the City had no dedicated funding source for Parks.
    • Construction of three regional parks – Construction to begin this summer on two new regional parks plus a third to be added in 2018.
    • Resolution of the 1,300 acre East Airfield Planned Development (adjacent to North lake Park community) which had been in dispute for almost 10 years.
    • Welcomed Nemours Hospital, the VA Hospital, USTA and KPMG as large corporate employers to our community.
    • Continued to be available to residents throughout the District and support their needs by coordinating with City departments and service providers.

    Future of Lake Nona In 5 Years?

    I expect Lake Nona to continue to grow, economic conditions permitting. It’s a very desirable place to live with new homes at various price points, state of the art schools, a large employment center in the Medical City and the adjacent sports cluster anchored by the USTA, Orlando City Soccer, and the Golf Shack.

    New retail shops and restaurants are enhancing the lifestyle and providing residents with local amenities not previously available.

    In addition, we share a world class International airport that provides leisure and business travelers direct flights to 81 US cities and 53 International destinations.

    National Political Landscape?

    I get more frustrated and confused by our leaders in Washington every day. Perhaps it’s because at the local level, there’s a general understanding that our citizens have many more similarities than differences.

    While we recognize these differences, local leaders typically find ways to set those aside for the common good of all residents. Unfortunately, Washington appears to be doing the exact opposite.


    Jacob Engels is an Orlando based journalist whose work has been featured and republished in news outlets around the globe including Politico, InfoWars, MSNBC, Orlando Sentinel, New York Times, Daily Mail UK, Associated Press, People Magazine, ABC, and Fox News to name a few. Mr. Engels focuses on stories that other news outlets neglect or willingly hide to curry favor among the political and business special interests in the state of Florida.