A Key West contractor who has served on the city's Planning Board for eight years announced his candidacy Thursday for the wide-open Utility Board seat.
Tim Root, a 25-year resident of Key West, said he will file paperwork with the city today to become a candidate for the seat of Lou Hernandez, who is retiring after the Oct. 1 general election.
"Over the last six months I've been asked by a few people in town about running," said Root. "With my construction background, all the construction coming out in the city, I think I can help in trying to keep the board efficiently running."
Root will face Cheryl Cates, the first candidate to sign up after Hernandez announced his retirement. Cates, the wife of Mayor Craig Cates, is making her first bid at public office.
"I was planning to run before Cheryl came on," said Root. "I'm running a very clean campaign, on my experience and my work background."
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.
Root worked on the Little White House and other downtown projects. In 1998, he helped build Hurricane Hole marina and was a part-owner for several years.
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.
Recently, Root was also appointed to the county's affordable housing task force by County Commissioner Danny Kolhage.
Root is married to Reta Root, manager of Sloppy Joe's for 26 years, and they have three daughters: ages 39, 37 and 16, and four grandchildren.
It 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.
"I did very well in Key West; I took every precinct from here to Big Pine but one," said Root.
The job pays a monthly salary of $1,575 for members and $1,875 a month for the chair, according to Keys Energy Services spokesman Julio Barroso. Board members receive health insurance coverage as long as they remain in office, but only for themselves. Dependents must pay 100 percent of costs for insurance.