Lee Constantine was defending the environment as a Republican long before his party thought it politically beneficial to finally take up the cause.

His record has been nearly impeccable through the years as an Altamonte city commissioner, a Florida legislator and, most recently, as a Seminole County commissioner.

So we were not surprised when Constantine led the charge to halt the hated River Cross project that threatened the eastern rural zone that Seminole voters decided to protect more than 15 years ago.

The project would have been a dagger in the county’s rural heart, and Constantine deserves the largest share of credit for making sure it didn’t happen.

For that leadership, and for his steadfast devotion to protecting the environment and managing growth, Seminole voters should give Constantine another four years in office.

Constantine is facing a challenge from Democrat Kim Buchheit, a land surveyor who is running on a platform that seems to largely track Constantine’s core beliefs. She’s a sharp business owner who has built a solid resume of environmental activism.

In an interview with the Sentinel Editorial Board, she lamented the poor development decisions Seminole has made but struggled to articulate exactly what those were. Constantine answered with several recent examples where he opposed projects he thought represented irresponsible growth.

She and Constantine also departed on the value of SunRail. While Buchheit did some of the survey work for SunRail, she now questions the commuter rail line’s value. We understand it hasn’t lived up to its potential, most recently because of the pandemic, but without SunRail portions of Central Florida are back to commuting in cars or relying on an inadequate bus system.

Constantine is a vocal advocate for the rail line, which he helped shepherd through the state Legislature. He understands public transportation isn’t a money maker, just like roads aren’t. It’s basic infrastructure that requires government support.

In another commission seat, Buchheit might be an opportunity for Seminole voters to trade up for a better steward of the land and a better manager of growth.

Not in District 3, where Constantine has demonstrated those qualities as he has in a variety of elected positions. Even today he serves as a board member for 1000 Friends of Florida, a respected organization that advocates for responsible growth management.

Buchheit’s the right candidate in the wrong race. Seminole County voters would be crazy to get rid of Constantine, their strongest voice for the environment. He should be reelected to the Seminole County Commission.

Election endorsements are the opinion of the Orlando Sentinel Editorial Board, which consists of Opinion Editor Mike Lafferty, Jennifer A. Marcial Ocasio, Jay Reddick, David Whitley and Editor-in-Chief Julie Anderson. Sentinel Columnist Scott Maxwell participates in interviews and deliberations. To watch the candidate interviews, go to www.OrlandoSentinel.com/interviews.

Orlando Sentinel Editorial Board Endorses Lee Constantine For Seminole County Commission, District 3

Seminole County voters approved a charter amendment in 2004 to “Establishes A Rural Area And Preempts Municipal Comprehensive Land Use Authority Within The Rural Area.”


“maintain a consistent policy for the Rural Area…one governing body to have final authority…”

The amendment establishes within the Home Rule Charter a rural boundary, defines rural lands and provides authority to amend the boundary and land use designations within the rural area to the Board of County Commissioners. This means that the Seminole County Board of County Commissioners has final decision making power on land use amendments on all lands within the rural area as established by this amendment whether located in unincorporated Seminole County or within any of the cities. The intent of the amendment is to maintain a consistent policy for the Rural Area by designating one governing body to have final authority on proposed land use changes and development within the rural area

An informative single page handout of the Home Rule Amendment issue is useful for printing and sharing. Home Rule Amendment Handout – 11″x17″ (PDF) [203KB]

Frequently Asked Questions are available to give you straight-forward answers to common questions about the Home Rule Charter Amendment.

To read more about the Rural Boundary in Seminole County, click here to visit the Seminole County Government website

By Brendan Ward
September 3, 2020

Orlando is home to some of the best counties in Florida for working from home, according to a new report. 

The National Association of Realtors evaluated more than 3,000 counties in the U.S. to see which were the best for working from home. Counties were evaluated on key metrics including: internet connectivity, percentage of workers in office-related jobs, home affordability, urbanization and population growth.

Seminole County ranked as the best work-from-home county in the region, coming in at No. 2 in Florida and No. 28 in the U.S. Roughly 8.6% of Seminole’s workers already worked from home. At least 80% also have desktop computers or laptops, a broadband internet connection and three or more broadband internet service providers, three key metrics. In addition, the county’s population grew by 6.9% from 2014-2019. 

Orlando Business Journal

By Martin Comas
August 18, 2020

In two closely watched GOP political battles that centered on protecting Seminole County’s rural boundary, commissioners Bob Dallari and Lee Constantine solidly fended off challengers backed by development interests in Tuesday’s Republican primary.

In the District 3 commission race, Constantine received 66% of the votes to defeat Longwood commissioner Ben Paris, who is vice president of the Seminole County Chamber of Commerce. Constantine, who is seeking his third term, will face Democrat Kim Buchheit in the general election.

“I think that this was about the soul of Seminole County,” Constantine said. “The people sent a clear message: They want to maintain and preserve the wonderful quality of life that we have here.”

Orlando Sentinel

By Martin Comas
August 15, 2020

The developer of the controversial River Cross development donated $50,000 during the final stretch ahead of Tuesday’s primary election to a political committee run by Republican strategists who have paid for attack ads against two county commissioners who have long opposed the massive housing project.

According to state campaign records, developer and lobbyist Chris Dorworth’s company, CED Strategies LLC, made the contribution on Aug. 4 to Greater Florida Foundation. That’s on top of $100,000 that CED Strategies gave to the same committee on July 9 for a total of $150,000.

Greater Florida Foundation is part of a family of political committees run by Republican strategists William Stafford Jones and Richard Coates that support candidates across the state. And in recent weeks, one of those Tallahasee-based PACs, Sunshine State Rising, paid for television ads slamming Republican commissioners Bob Dallari and Lee Constantine.

“This is just another example of Mr. Dorworth trying to control the narrative of these elections and thereby control the commission so he can use Seminole County as his own ATM machine,” Constantine said. “Fortunately, the citizens of Seminole County have seen beyond his dirty schemes and are going to reject them on Tuesday.”

Read the full article on Orlando Sentinel