Michelle Oyola McGovern, a veteran of former U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson’s office, has formally announced her run for the District 6 seat on the Palm Beach County Commission.
McGovern filed for the seat Thursday afternoon and followed that up with a release announcing her bid. She joins a field containing Sara Baxter, Sylvia L. Sharps and state Rep. Matt Willhite.
“I am running because I love this district, I know it well, and I believe that my experience in community advocacy, understanding of policy issues, and record of getting things done, makes me the right choice for County Commission District 6,” McGovern said in a statement announcing her candidacy.
“I’m running to focus on the issues that are important to our district — COVID-19 recovery, creating jobs, workforce and affordable housing and managing our quality of life. I have a proven record of leadership and will be an advocate that always stands up for our families, neighborhoods and community.”
As Florida Politics reported, McGovern had been eyeing the seat in an effort to succeed outgoing Commissioner Melissa McKinlay, who is term-limited in 2022. While Willhite enters the race with some high-profile support, McGovern nabbed McKinlay’s endorsement upon entering the contest.
“Tonight was amazing,” McKinlay wrote on Twitter Thursday evening of McGovern’s kickoff announcement. “I got to endorse one of my best friends as she announced her candidacy for (Palm Beach County) Commission District 6!”
Several other well-known lawmakers are backing McGovern’s bid. State Sen. Tina Polsky, former state Sen. Kevin Rader and Palm Beach County Tax Collector Anne Gannon are all endorsing McGovern. West Palm Beach Mayor Keith James, Palm Beach Gardens Mayor Rachelle Litt and Greenacres Mayor Joel Flores are among current and former local politicians also behind McGovern.
McGovern has nearly two decades experience in various roles with former U.S. Sen. Nelson. She served more than a decade as Nelson’s regional director in West Palm Beach before working as his state director. Following Nelson’s 2018 defeat, she transitioned into a role as director of government and community relations at Baptist Health South Florida.