A three-time Wakulla County commissioner and retired orthopedic surgeon, Howard Kessler is running for a seat on the Tallahassee City Commission.
Kessler joins a host of candidates seeking the District 5 seat being vacated by Gil Ziffer. Other candidates are FAMU graduate and businessman Henry Adelusi Jr., communications executive Bob Lotane, and IT consultant and community activist Dianne Williams-Cox.
Kessler has lived in Florida for over 30 years. His education includes a B.S. degree in chemistry, an M. A. degree in education and an M. D. degree. While he practiced orthopedic surgery for 30 years, he was also chief of orthopedics at Sarasota Memorial Hospital and chief of surgery at Doctors Hospital of Sarasota. He was commissioned a major in the U.S. Army Reserves.
Kessler is married to Anne Van Meter. As much as they have enjoyed Wakulla County, they are more involved in organizations based in Tallahassee. He also sits on several boards at FSU and in Tallahassee. Anne and Howard became involved in politics after witnessing the destruction of local wetlands in Wakulla County.
“I’ve always been a strong voice for protecting our environment and for keeping our water and air clean,” Kessler said. “I’ve worked hard in opposing the polluting and hazardous fracking industry in Wakulla County and Florida,d.”
During his time in Wakulla County he served 12 years as a county commissioner. Now retired, he has volunteered at orthopedic clinics in Tallahassee for over 15 years, serving the needy and children with special orthopedic needs.
Kessler has been involved politically at the national, state and local levels serving on the National Association of Counties Environmental, Energy, and Land Use Steering Committee, the Florida Association of Counties Growth and Environmental Steering Committee and the Health and Human Resources Committee, as vice chairman of the Capital Region Planning Transportation Agency. He also served as chairman of the board of the Wilderness Coast Public Libraries.
“Currently I am on the boards of the Wakulla Springs Alliance, the FSU Coastal Marine Laboratory, the FSU Deans Advisory Board of the School of Fine Arts, the FSU Theater Patrons Association and the Apalachee Audubon Society,” he said.
Kessler's in support of a $15 an hour minimum wage.
“I think it’s time that we have someone of good ethics and work. Kessler has shown his love and concern for Tallahassee though he lived in Wakulla. That says a lot about his character, ” said Tallahassee resident Shantel Smith.
If elected to the Tallahassee City Commission he hopes to work to restore the trust of the citizens by promoting open and accountable government, reducing crime and protecting and enhancing the overall quality of life.
The primary to determine which two candidates will advance to the general election in November takes place Aug. 28.