District 5 PBC Commission democratic primary candidates weigh in on upcoming election

Dist. 5 PBC Commission primary candidates campaign

BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. - Term limits mean longtime Palm Beach County commission fixture Burt Aaronson is soon to leave.

He's reached the end of his eight year term limit.

Now  four candidates are running to succeed him.

Three of them will run in a democratic primary in two weeks.  

For 18 years, the right hand woman of  the current District 5 commissioner has been Mary Lou Berger.

Now she's running for her boss' seat and she says her experience sets her apart.

"It's crucial that you have a history on that board," Berger said.  "You need to be able to say wait a minute didn't we do that before can we go back and check on that."

Both of her opponents, Steven Meyer and Rick Neuhoff disagree.

"Just because she's worked there for 18 years. Just because you worked for a company for 18 years doesn't mean you're qualified to run the company," Meyer said.

"The fact of the matter is in the five debates she doesn't offer any new ideas at all," Neuhoff said.

Meyer and Neuhoff believe the August primary race comes down to beating her.

The three candidates have differing ideas on how to help Palm Beach County's economy.

One idea Neuhoff has is making tourists pay more in taxes.

"Don't you think that would take down what is one of the main drivers here economically," NewsChannel 5's Ryan Calhoun asked.

"Depends on how it is that it's done," Neuhoff responded. "If there is a small percentage added to bed tax for example."

Meyer says his experience as a lawyer will help him lure companies to bring jobs here.

"I'm good at negotiating deals, at dealing with people, at figuring out what people want and solving peoples problems," Meyer said.

Berger said she wants to help businesses expand.

"It's my idea to help existing businesses expand," she said. "I want new businesses to come to Palm Beach County and we can do that through incentives."

If there is one thing the three can agree on, it's public safety.

None of them want to see cuts made to the Palm Beach County Sheriff's budget.

Voters can head to the polls for the Democratic primary for the District 5 county commission seat on August 14.

The winner of the primary will face Republican Paul Tocker of Delray Beach in November.

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