Tim Root acknowledged that 38 percent of the Keys Energy budget is for salaries and benefits packages, but he also noted that Key West's crews have traveled to troubled spots, such as the East Coast after Hurricane Sandy, because of their talents.
"When there's a problem or a hurricane, our people are so good at what they do that they send people to disaster areas," Root said at a recent candidates forum. "It's a very risky business out there."
This is Root's second run for public office. In 2011, he tried to take Mosquito Control District Commissioner Steve Smith's spot but lost in a tight primary race.
Root, 58, is originally from Lancaster, Pa. He attended community college but traded school at age 17 for a trade union job building the shipyards in Philadelphia.
His first job in Key West was as project manager for developer Pritam Singh's historic structures venture.
A general contractor since 1980, Root is currently working as chief estimating officer for Mingo Co. construction.
Root served on the Historic Architectural Review Commission in the early 2000s and was later appointed by City Commissioner Mark Rossi to the Planning Board, a volunteer, unpaid post.
He is married to Reta Root, manager of Sloppy Joe's for 26 years, and they have three daughters.