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Jack Van Sickle to Run For Lake Wales Mayor


Published: Friday, February 15, 2013 at 6:28 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, February 15, 2013 at 6:28 a.m.

LAKE WALES | Jack Van Sickle said his heart is back in public service, literally.

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Jack Van Sickle

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He had suffered heart problems all during his four-term term as Lake Wales city commissioner, but now he's feeling better and ready to serve again.

Van Sickle said he had suffered heart problems all during his four-term term as Lake Wales city commissioner, but now he's feeling better and ready to serve again.

When qualifying opened Monday, he turned in papers as a candidate for Seat 1, the city's new, at-large mayor seat.

He said he already had a petition signed by 25 people, so he's ready to go.

"I'm healthy so I want to do it," he said.

City Clerk Clara VanBlargan said Tuesday she verified all of his signatures at the Supervisor of Elections Office in Bartow.

Van Sickle, 65, said that during his last year of a four-year term as city commissioner, he had two cardiac catheterization procedures and three stents placed in his heart, but didn't miss a single commission meeting.

From December 2011 to January 2012, he was in the hospital for kidney stones and a quintuple heart bypass.

Four days after the heart surgery, he was back attending City Commission meetings.

Van Sickle said he has the experience and skills to build consensus on city issues, especially .

He said he wants to keep the community safe, fiscally sound, well maintained, educated and culturally enriched.

He also said his priorities are having a north-end fire station, assessing city administration to make sure departments are properly staffed and to set spending priorities based on the city's resident surveys.

Van Sickle moved to Lake Wales in 2004. He is retired from 37 years with the Defense Threat Reduction Agency under the Department of Defense.

He said he and his wife, Brenda — a retired special education teacher — have been married for 31 years.

They have four children and eight grandchildren.

Van Sickle has an associates degree in computer information from Wrights State College, now Wrights State University, in Augsburg, Germany.

He was appointed to Seat 4 of the City Commission in 2007, because he ran unopposed. He served as vice-mayor from 2008 to 2009.

He then ran for and won the mayor seat in 2009 and 2010, when the city charter said the mayor had to be a sitting commissioner.

He was defeated for re-election to Seat 4 in 2011 by Betty Wojcik. Her term won't end until 2015.

Van Sickle still serves on the city's planning and zoning board.

In addition to the City Commission, he has previously served on the Lake Ashton Home Owners Association, Central Florida Metropolitan Planning Organization, Polk County Transportation Planning Organization, Polk County Transit Authority, Central Polk Parkway Committee, the city's General Employee Pension Board and the city's Finance Committee.

Phil Attinger covers the Babson Park, Dundee, Frostproof and Lake Wales areas and may be reached at 863-401-6981 or phil.attinger@newschief.com.

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