OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. – Osceola County voters will get the chance to pick the next sheriff in the general election.
The current sheriff, Russ Gibson, lost the Democratic primary election in August. He was first elected Osceola County sheriff in November 2016 and took office in 2017.
A Democrat and an independent are now running to lead the more than 800 men and women in the Osceola County Sheriff’s Department and serve the community with a population of more than 300,000.
Get to know a little more about each candidate before casting your ballot.
Here’s what you need to know:
Marco Lopez (D)
Sgt. Marco Lopez is very familiar with the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office after spending more than 16 years with the agency, according to his campaign website. Gibson fired Lopez last year after he filed to run against Gibson in this year’s primary. Now, after defeating Gibson in the primary, it is Lopez’s hope that the people of Osceola County will choose him to be the agency’s next leader. If they do, the U.S. Navy veteran says transparency and accountability will be at the heart of his administration. Lopez said his other priorities as sheriff would include the establishment of a citizens advisory board and a citizens review board, improved cultural diversity training and the development of youth outreach programs that promote community policing. Click here to learn more about Lopez and his vision for Osceola County.
Luis “Tony” Fernández (NPA)
Known as “Tony,” Luis Fernández was born in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico. His law enforcement career first started in 1995 as a special agent of Puerto Rico State Police. In 2005, he joined the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office as a deputy sheriff. During his 14 years with the agency, he served as a patrol deputy, criminal investigation detective, field training officer and firearms instructor. Now retired and living on a small farmstead in west Osceola County, Fernández has seven children through a blended family with his wife, Carmen. Their family also includes four grandchildren and two dogs. Fernández says as the next sheriff, he would bring meaningful, positive change and equality of justice to the office. He says he’s running without a party affiliation because he wants to be a sheriff for all people, regardless of political affiliation, race, religion, gender, age and sexual orientation. You can read more about his campaign here.
Election Day is Nov. 3.