Former Palm Beach Post sportswriter announces run for State House
The first female reporter permitted in the Miami Dolphins, FSU, and FAMU locker rooms has announced her candidacy for Florida House District 91.
Besides football, the former Palm Beach Post sportswriter covered auto racing, baseball, and tennis but admitted that tennis was her “baby.” Her former PR work includes campaigns for Chris Evert’s Pro-Celebrity Tennis Classic, Pope John Paul II High School, and several other tennis tournaments and sporting events. In the 80s and 90s, she worked for the Women’s Tennis Association, traveling the world and handling PR for Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova, Billie Jean King, and Steffi Graf.
Peggy Gossett Seidman, seasoned journalist, wife, mom, Highland Beach City Commissioner, Republican, and candidate for State House, District 91, believes in setting aside differences and finding common ground. The longtime South Palm Beach County resident and Detroit, Michigan native, started coming to Highland Beach with her family in the 70s. For the past thirty-one years, she has called Highland Beach home and raised her three kids there.
Peggy’s professional background and experience enabled her to identify, research, and solve water conservation and quality issues even before becoming a city commissioner. “I was our neighborhood advocate in our HOA and saw a lot of this coming in our community. South Palm Beach County is just about built out, and it needs management. If you took my town of Highland Beach as a microcosm of the South County, including Boca, it’s built out. It needs management, and it must balance the needs of the people for housing and services with environmental and other concerns. I’ve worked on all of this now for several years.”
When Peggy first ran for Highland Beach City Council in 2018, she won by a considerable margin. Employing her reporter’s instincts, she investigated the most significant issues facing the town. “We brought in a new town manager in 2018 because we did not have solid management,” she says. “My commissioners and I fired the building department and brought in a fabulous guy who just won a Building Official of the County Award for Palm Beach County for getting on top of the condo recertification. We built up our whole building department by modernizing and computerizing it. Highland Beach and Boca Raton were the only two to put in recertification rules right away, within two months of the Surfside Condo collapse,” she notes.
After dealing with recertification rules, she turned her attention to the fire department. “The fire department has been my big cause,” Peggy explains. “As a reporter, I knew something was wrong, so I started looking into it. We have an ambulance contract with Delray Beach, which we’re now winding down. When I started researching it, I found numerous financial flaws and true-ups that hadn’t been properly assessed and proven. With the cooperation of my fellow commissioners, who helped with the research and communication and assisted the town manager, we ended our contract with Delray Beach, and we’re building our fire department. We have a plan and a fire chief coming on board. We’re adding to our fire station. When we brought it to a referendum last spring, 89% of our citizens voted for it. It will save Highland Beach $2 million per year. The only thing we don’t have is a Dalmation.”
Last week, she traveled to Tallahassee to accept $1.6 million in funding from the state to address A1A flooding and crosswalk lighting, in addition to Highland Beach’s new firehouse.
Peggy acknowledges that it took a serious amount of work over two years to achieve the goal. “We got a new commission on board two years ago, and they jumped on with me,” she explains. “I’m the longest-serving commissioner there, and they agreed we had to look at it. And we did. That’s been a big asset. Our backup for our firehouse is Boca Raton; we are working with them hand in hand. It’s like we’re a mini-community together. So we’re really in a good place.”
Next, she investigated the sewer lines after the Highland Beach town manager asked about them. Sure enough, they found seven underground leaks. “Now we have our own water plant, which is brilliant,” Peggy notes. “Our police department is self-sufficient, and soon our fire department will be, too. We’ll just be a solid little community. We’re working on other things, but I’m going to take that sort of effort to the district because it needs someone who can get in and ask the right questions. And it takes a reporter in some ways to ask the right questions and get the facts.”
Peggy hopes to take her knowledge and experience with Tallahassee and appropriations to Boca Raton. “It’s the little jewel of the South County,” she says. “Let’s get it fixed up and sorted. I can do it without even thinking. I know the Capitol, I know how to run through the halls, where to find the people, who to talk to. Our representative and our senators have been unbelievable. They’ve come to Highland Beach and have seen the issues. I can do that for Boca. You have to know how to do it. It’s almost like a maze. You have to know the Capitol. You have to know where to find people. You can’t learn that in a year or a day.”
Aside from her work on the city commission, Peggy has served on the League of Cities county and state boards for five years to engage legislators on issues. She has recruited several agencies to assist Highland Beach and worked with FDOT, FPL, and FWC Army Corps. She maintains solid personal contacts with elected officials in both parties at the federal and state levels due to her background in journalism, which is an asset. Since no journalist has been elected to the House, Peggy hopes to add that to her list of firsts!
Connect with Peggy’s campaign on Facebook.
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