FORT PIERCE — Alex Tommie was only 25 when he was selected to run a youth sports organization in Fort Pierce, his hometown.
He recalled that not many people thought he would succeed as leader of the Buccaneers, but a decade later he’s still in charge of the non-profit that he said has grown throughout his decade of leadership.
“When I got elected, people said I wouldn’t last more than one year. I’ve lasted 10,” said Tommie, who oversees the basketball and football programs as commissioner. He is also a longtime coach.
Tommie, whose Seminole family roots in the area go back generations, has his sights set on another commissioner position: the District 5 seat on the St. Lucie County Board of County Commissioners. Tommie announced his candidacy on a Facebook video May 4.
“I’ve always had the passion of working with the people inside a community,” he said.
Tommie works for Sylvia’s Flower Patch II, a floral business owned by the Tommie family in Fort Pierce. Regardless of the race’s outcome, Tommie said he plans to continue to serve the Buccaneers. Tommie said the program has grown from about 80 kids when he first started to about 200. The program’s football teams are known as the Seminoles.
Tommie, 34, said he is well suited to serve in an elected role for county government having previously worked in the Tribe’s government. He was a special assistant to Hollywood Councilman Chris Osceola and managed day-to-day operations at the Chupco’s Landing Reservation in Fort Pierce.
“I have the experience. I worked with Chris hand-in-hand over lots of policy issues that went through Council. It gave me the experience what it takes to run the government,” Tommie said.
Tommie also pointed to his role in the construction of Chupco’s Landing Community Center. The 18,000-square-foot facility features offices, a conference room, gymnasium and outdoor pools. Tommie was a key figure in the project. He organized and led a series of community meetings with officials, builders and residents throughout the process.
“I was the point person getting the community members together,” he said.
Tommie served as the emcee for the center’s grand opening Sept. 25, 2014. The event drew dignitaries from the Tribe as well as elected officials from Fort Pierce, Port St. Lucie and the county.
Tommie no longer works for the Tribe but he still lives in Chupco’s Landing, which is in the county’s District 4 and within a brief walk to the borders of Districts 1 and 5. Tommie said he recently found an apartment to move to in District 5, which is the district where he grew up.
District 5 covers the largest land area in St. Lucie’s five districts and includes northern, western and southern sections of the county.
As a candidate, Tommie said his top issues are creating jobs, protecting the county’s natural resources and forging better cooperation within the commission on both sides of the aisle as well as improving relations between the commission and community.
“The community has lost trust in some of our elected officials,” he said.
Tommie stressed that working with small businesses to foster job growth is a primary focus.
“The city of Fort Pierce has been going through such a hardship in jobs. We have one of the highest unemployment rates anywhere in the entire state of Florida,” he said during his candidacy announcement.
Tommie describes himself as a “moderate Democrat.” His opponents on the Democrat side in the race for District 5 include incumbent Kim Johnson and Cathy Townsend. A primary is scheduled for Aug. 30.