Former Marathon City Councilman Don Vasil has jumped into the race for the County Commission District 4 seat.
Vasil, who lost his bid for a second two-year term on the Marathon council last November, filed Wednesday to run with no party affiliation for the seat currently held by Mario Di Gennaro.
"I'm running because people are tired of back-room politics, which permeates the system in our country on the national and local level," Vasil said. "I believe strongly that I made a significant difference while in office in Marathon, and want to do the same thing for the citizens of Monroe County."
Vasil said his last election loss doesn't concern him.
"I voted my conscience and took a stand on every issue, and I still stand by every vote. If that cost me an election, then so be it."
Vasil focused on budget concerns while in office in Marathon, helping to craft reductions in city expenses -- but voting against the final budgets two years in a row because he didn't feel they cut deep enough. He said his top priority would continue to be fiscal responsibility on the County Commission.
"I'm going to do what I did in Marathon," Vasil said. "My priority is reducing government spending, which can only be helped by securing grant money for our wastewater systems."
Vasil, who along with his wife has been in the Keys for 10 years, spent over 20 years in the private sector managing corporate budgets and staff before spending another 15 years as a small business owner.
In 2006, Vasil also filed to run for the District 4 seat but pulled out before qualifying for the ballot. Vasil said he would seek the 500 signatures to qualify by the deadline the week of June 14.
Also running for the seat are Di Gennaro and former County Commissioner David Rice on the Republican ticket, and Islamorada businessman and former village councilman Mike Forster with no party affiliation. District 4 encompasses parts of Marathon and Islamorada.
Vasil said he would look to do more of "the same thing for the county that I accomplished for the citizens of Marathon: reduced spending, responsible budgets, transparent government, and eliminating service provider overlap -- such as sharing meeting space rather than building more structures.
"I always supported open government, such as when I voted for the whistle blower ordinance against opposition, and I was instrumental in seeing that Marathon's city spending was reduced every year I was in office while improving services and protecting staff jobs."
Di Gennaro and Rice will face each other in the Aug. 24 Republican primary. The winner of that will square off against Forster and Vasil on Nov. 2.