Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Profiling the Candidates; Bryan Stresses the Need for Fiscal Responsibility He's the Only Democrat Running for a County Commission Seat

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Profiling the Candidates; Bryan Stresses the Need for Fiscal Responsibility He's the Only Democrat Running for a County Commission Seat

Article excerpt

Byline: mark pettus

Ken Bryan says he's spent all of his life giving back -- repaying his country for the freedom and the opportunity he's had to better himself.

Bryan took advantage of that opportunity in a career with the Justice Department, where he started as a janitor. Three decades later he found himself appointed deputy director of the Executive Office of the White House, where his responsibilities included making sure the president got paid.

One of Bryan's favorite vacations from the high-pressure atmosphere of Washington, D.C., was to hop on his Harley and ride to Daytona Beach for Bike Week, a trip that took him through St. Johns County. On his last vacation before retiring in 2003, Bryan took a side trip through a St. Augustine neighborhood near the Intracoastal Waterway and found the spot where he wanted to spend the rest of his life. He bought the land before returning to Washington and built his dream home on it, complete with a huge air-conditioned garage for his collection of restored hot-rods.

Bryan's love of restoring old cars led him to open a custom upholstery shop on Florida 207. His shop was near an asphalt plant. Bryan said he discovered his car was often covered in black particles and the air filled with smoke from the plant, causing him respiratory problems.

He studied research that said emissions from asphalt plants could not only cause respiratory problems, but alsocould increase suicide rates, which worried him because the plant was near both an elementary school and St. Joseph Academy High School. He led protests and petition drives to remove the plant, and asked help from the county. He says the culmination of those protests was a conversation with County Commissioner Karen Stern, where Bryan told her if she wasn't going to do anything, he was going to run against her for the District 2 seat.

"I'm a man of my word," Bryan, a Democrat, said.

Although environmental issues are an important part of Bryan's platform, he stresses that a lack of fiscal responsibility is the key problem facing the county today. …

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