By: Sharon Aron Baron
Candidate Marlon Bolton’s mission once elected as a city commissioner is for residents living in the eastern portion of the city to have the same level of services that those west side enjoy.
The western portion of Tamarac is home to the aquatic, recreational center, dog park, and the Tamarac Sports Complex; however, little is physically located east of University Drive.
Bolton, who is running for city commission district 1, said he would like to see the eastern portion of Tamarac have beautification projects and a community bus system implemented for youth and senior citizens. Unlike the Tamarac Community Bus Service, which doesn’t go east past 441 or near schools, this service would be explicitly used for pick up and drop off to extracurricular activities, doctor’s offices, and the supermarket.
Bolton would also like to revise the zoning and code enforcement to make the code more friendly toward business owners and a push for a reduction in annual fees for business licenses.
The most crucial thing Bolton would like to see implemented would be a Youth Empowerment and Homework Center.
Modeled after The Driven Project that he created in Broward County for some of Fort Lauderdale’s poorest neighborhoods, Bolton said that once elected; he would love to see the center which will focus on athletics, academics, and aftercare implemented.
Endorsed by County Commissioner Dale Holness, The Driven Project program is now in its third year in Broward County. He said that they find out what the kids have been struggling with, how they want to do better in school, and get them involved in sports.
“I see kids in some instances without guidance, and that’s why I want to do the homework center. We have everything on the west side – hardly anything on the east side, so how do they get to the other side when there’s not necessarily a bus system there?”
The current sitting city commissioner for District 1 is Pam Bushnell, who is up for reelection on November 8. Bolton said he has knocked on doors asking residents who their commissioner is, and no one seems to know. He said that a commissioner should be for the people and not just show up at events for pictures.
“Let’s face it, our commissioner has been in office for eight years, and I can almost guarantee you that the community does not know what she looks like. I can almost guarantee you that most people don’t know her name because she has never been opposed.”
Bolton said he has been fundraising and reaching out to a few people who have donated to his campaign.
“Some people flat out don’t want to donate because there’s a sitting commissioner, and they probably don’t want to ruffle any feathers.”
He said he is still determined and doesn’t believe he will win on money alone.
“I think I’ll win on relationships and really engaging people.”
Bolton said that the city is rapidly changing, and some changes were put in place that he didn’t agree with, and only as an elected official can he now make a difference.
“One of the things I’m not too pleased about is Commercial Boulevard being so jammed with traffic from the new developments,” said Bolton. “I don’t think the city did due diligence with a traffic study. This is really going to affect how people commute, how people get out of Tamarac, whether the bus system is on time or delayed. It’s going to affect a lot of things.”
He also believes that the needs of the residents in the Mainlands were not taken into consideration when they built all-ages communities around them.
“I don’t mind change or development, but they should first look at the needs of the community.”
Marlon Bolton, 31, grew up in Manchester, Jamaica, and in 2005 graduated from Northern Caribbean University where he holds a bachelor’s degree in communications.
When he moved to South Florida, he received erroneous information that his degree would not be recognized in the United States. That’s when he enrolled in Miami Dade College, earning an associate’s degree in mass communications and a bachelor’s degree in public safety. But it wasn’t until later he heard that his first degree was actually from an accredited university.
This year, he enrolled at St Thomas University to study organizational leadership and soon will be enrolling in law school.
Being a student is just part of his life. Bolton’s full-time passion is being the pastor at the 120-member congregation of Praise Experience World Outreach Church in North Lauderdale.
“I used to sing – well, I still sing, so I started as a worship leader at a neighboring church World Harvest Community Church in Sunrise, and while there doing events, I just heard the audible voice of the Lord that I needed to become a pastor,” he said.
Before settling on a location for his non-denominational church, he investigated which community would be a good fit.
“I just started going around and looking at the needs of the community, seeing what people needed, and we just pitched our church right in North Lauderdale.”
In 2013, Bolton married his wife Carla, a paralegal. They both met at her church, where he was attending an event.
“Once I saw her, I knew she was the one.”
They have a son Matthew who is two years old. Carla has lived in Tamarac for 18 years, and her mother still lives nearby. Currently, they are both renting a home, but want to buy soon.
“Serving the community has always been my passion – even though it may sound cliché, serving people is my main focus.”
Find out more about Marlon Bolton here www.ElectMarlonBolton.com