Meet your Seat 2 challenger candidate: Debra Tendrich

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Tell us a little bit about yourself. How long you have lived in Delray, where you live, your profession, your family. 

I am an entrepreneur, small business owner, motivational speaker, health and nutrition activist, philanthropist, community leader and former Ms. Florida Woman of Achievement.  

I am a single mother with an amazing 10-year old daughter named Amira. I am also a proud mom to 4 rescue cats ranging in ages from 5 months to 5 years old.  Both my home and business are in Delray and my daughter attends school in Delray.

After losing 70 pounds and reversing my daughters medical conditions with just food,  I founded a local nonprofit organization called Eat Better Live Better whose mission is to prevent, reverse and reduce childhood obesity and other dietary related illnesses by providing nutrition education and healthy foods to kids, families and communities. EBLB has served approximately 7,000 kids and families county wide and about 700 locally here in Delray Beach.

Why are you running for office and what experiences qualify you to be a commissioner?

I have been an active community leader and served on numerous local boards and committees that impact the lives of our residents.  As a small business owner, I understand the challenges small business owners face on a daily basis.

Prior to my current business, I did business development for a dental office and helped grow the practice from 500 patients to well over 15,000 and spearheaded their expansion to 3 locations. I handled HR, marketing, management, patient acquisition, community relations along with treatment planning and budget management. I created a safe and positive work environment that the patients and the staff loved.

I want to bring my experience, fresh ideas and knowledge of our community to the city commission to help make Delray Beach an even better place to live, work and play.

What are the top three issues you want to address in the city if elected or re-elected?

I want to make sure all our neighborhoods participate in our city’s success.

I will champion the redevelopment of the West Atlantic Avenue corridor and the Congress Avenue corridor.

I will work with the school district to help make all Delray Beach schools “A” rated schools.

Delray is known as the “Village by the Sea” but it is also a popular city. How would you balance “keeping the charm” with the need to grow the tax base as the city attracts more people?

Growth is inevitable. However, I support smart growth and am committed to maintaining our “small town” charm and quality of life.  Delray Beach does not need to be another Ft. Lauderdale. We need to redevelop West Atlantic to bring in more businesses and make it walkable from 95 to the beach. Delray must also must do better building more workforce housing.  The people who work in our city should be able to afford to live in our city.

City Hall has had a lot of turnover with city staff. Why do you think that is and how would you work to re-establish stability?

The lack of a unified vision for our city by our current commission has led to extensive turnover at the highest levels of city government. That has led to additional turnover of staff.  The commission needs to get on the same page and work together to develop a unified vision that the City of Delray Beach deserves. I will enforce transparency, respect the staff as the experts they are, have an open-door policy, ensure that all feedback (positive and negative) is addressed appropriately and give credit where credit is due.

How do you approach the relationship you will have as a commissioner with city staff?

The city commission is responsible for giving direction to the city manager.  The city manager is responsible for directing city staff and the day to day operations of the city, not the commission. I look forward to building a trusting relationship between myself and the staff, show staff appreciation and acknowledge their expertise. I look forward to working together in the years to come.