Candidate Spotlight – Bob Harvey for Mayor of Cocoa

Every candidate is given the opportunity to answer our candidate questionnaire. Below are the answers to the question this candidate chose to answer as submitted.

Robert “Bob” Harvey is running for for Canaveral Port Authority, District #4.

Political Party: Nonpartisan

Education: Masters of Business Administration, Masters of Aviation Studies, Bachelors of Aviation Science, USAF Fighter Weapon’s School, USAF Senior Defense Fellowship, University of Illinois

Office Running For: Mayor of the City of Cocoa, Florida


Current Employment: Airline Pilot, Commissioner Port Canaveral, Townhome project developer, Published Author

Where are you from: Born in California, raised in Oregon, 33 years of military service

Are you a Veteran? If so, which branch and rank? US Army, 6 years, and US Air Force, 27 additional years, retired Colonel, combat experience.

Why are you running:

I am running for Mayor because my heart is in serving my city. My wife, Connie and I love Cocoa. (You may have seen us often walking around our city picking up trash.) I live here and want Cocoa to be the best city in all of Florida. I want Cocoa to be the place others look at and says “hey, that looks nice. We should try to be like Cocoa!” I want you to be happy living, working and visiting in Cocoa and I promise to work toward that goal for all of you. 

I have a lifetime of service and will be proud to continue to serve as Mayor. As a career military officer, business executive, airline pilot, published author, developer, and Port Commissioner, I have the experience, abilities and commitment to work with a diverse team in support of and to focus on our community. I have a strong reputation for fairness and doing the right thing and I am running to dedicate my service to our city.

What are your top three priorities if you are elected:

1. LEAD the city into the future. The city needs a strong leader to get the City out of the pandemic shutdown loss of employment and businesses and back to a growing, vibrant city. I am running against two “past” mayors – I represent the future and I have the leadership skills necessary to lead there. City employees have a lot of talent and experience as well as great ideas. I will be a leader who will listen to them, learn what they believe is important and HELP them improve the city. I will support and empower the professional staff so they have strategic direction, departmental leadership and resources to do their jobs well. 

Success takes a team. I can lead that team. We also need strong leadership in the selection of a new city manager to fill that current vacancy, as well as in selecting the next chief of Cocoa PD. Both of these positions are critical to our future. The police department needs our support. I will work WITH the members of the police department asking them how to improve their department, asking them how to help them help the city. I will also seek citizen involvement and discussions on how to make our police department “better” in their eyes. We all live here and we must work together to make it a peaceful, law-abiding, safe city. It takes leadership. First and foremost, I will lead. 

2. While I bring the military value of Service to Community to the office of Mayor, the city still belongs to the citizens. I strongly believe that elected officials should make decisions with input from the residents, property owners, and business owners and that all decisions should be open and transparent. I will personally treat citizens with dignity, respect, and fairness and I will insist on the same respectful treatment of our citizens from others. I will seek citizen involvement, participation and guidance on the direction of the city. I will increase responsiveness to the citizens. I believe it is their city and I will encourage and facilitate staff and city employee understanding of how to be more helpful to our citizens and encourage their input to our government. I will act in the best interest of the city and its citizens. In all that the city does, I will increase and encourage transparency. 

3. I will work especially hard to make Cocoa a more desirable and beautiful city to live in. As I have for more than three years now in a neighborhood called Broadmoor Acres, I will help the citizens turn vacant or rundown houses into owner-occupied homes the owners and neighbors will be proud of. These efforts have helped reduce the crime rate in this neighborhood by 40% in three years! We have a successful model in Broadmoor Acres. We have turned almost two dozen run down or empty buildings and lots into owner occupied houses including having built the first two new construction homes in more than 60 years. We are helping the residents improve THEIR neighborhood. I firmly believe we can use this model for success in other parts of the city. We must also put more effort into and strengthen our Code Enforcement policies to encourage – and where possible, require – landlords, homeowners, and business owners to clean up and keep their properties in a good state of repair, lawns mowed, etc. We can make a significant improvement to our city when we work together. 

My wife and I have engaged in enhancement efforts throughout the City at all levels, from investments in redevelopment projects for improved housing stock, organized clean up and beautification projects, down to routinely walking through the Village picking up litter. We don’t pick up litter because I am running for Mayor. I am running for mayor because we pick up litter. We love Cocoa and want it to be a nice place to live. I will work diligently to remove old buildings, now empty power poles, get derelict boats out of our lagoon and protect our waterfront and public spaces. I will ask citizens to help – many want to and are eager. We simply need to allow them to help – embrace them and partner with them. Finally, I will lead Cocoa’s effort to balance protection of our natural environment, including our precious lagoon, with other needs of the communities as I represent the entire city.

What do you think is the number 1 problem in your district related to the office you are running for:

There is some fairly significant division in our city. I want to work to bring our citizens closer together. I will focus on encouraging citizen involvement and participation, and listening to the citizens. This will help us all understand we are in this together. Sink or swim, we are all residents, property owners and business owners in the City of Cocoa and, like a family, we need to get together on the larger issues. Compromise is important but more important is working together in a respectful manner. Communication and honesty with each other are the key.

How will you involve your constituents in your decision making:

My wife and I have been active in the City of Cocoa since the day we moved here. Sometimes, our involvement has been accepted and appreciated. Other times, I have witnessed a reluctance to listen to citizens. I intend to encourage a great deal more participation and involvement from citizens. In order to get that, the City MUST listen and allow participation. Past lack of enthusiasm for and acceptance of citizen input has been disappointing. I will encourage citizen involvement via any means they would offer including attending our city council meetings, emailing me directly, calling, offering constructive ideas on social media and any other way citizens desire to be heard. It is about all of us. Cocoa belongs to all of us. 

Do you plan to run for a higher office:

NO. Even though I have been encouraged to run for higher office, I prefer to remain in Cocoa. Very Importantly: I did NOT run for the Mayor of Cocoa two years ago to fulfill the last two years of the previous mayor’s term when he resigned to run for higher office because I was already in another elected office. I did not resign my current elected position at Port Canaveral because I do not believe in leaving in the middle of an elected term. I promised my full term at the Port, and I am meeting that promise. I am very disappointed in the previous mayor for having left in the middle of his term and equally disappointed in the situation the city now finds itself in with respect to the current mayor. I will NOT put the city in that position. I have had multiple offers for higher office, some very recent but I am not interested. My passion is for Cocoa. I love where I live and I want it to be a great place for all of us. 

How will you address infrastructure in your district:

As I mentioned, leadership during the economic recovery will be critical to our success. I have the skill set to lead. I plan to form citizen involvement groups, encourage input and advice, and use best practices to move the city forward. I will aggressively pursue efforts to reduce abandoned buildings, empty lots, run down business, and remove trash around the city. I will also insure the City more aggressively shares information on government and private programs to help revitalize infrastructure.

How will you address crime in your district?

As I have done in Broadmoor Acres, I will work with citizens and police. As a team, we have already proven techniques for reducing crime. We don’t need to reinvent the wheel. We need to build a better relationship between our citizens and police and get our citizens to a level of comfort where they feel they can make a difference in reducing crime through their participation. We also need our civic leaders to help in their respective areas. They are leaders and are respected. I will show them the respect they have earned and ask for their support and help. We must work together. Their input is critical to success. 

How will you address affordable housing?

Again, as I have in Broadmoor Acres, we can clean up lots and restore neighborhoods, one home at a time. We can use existing homes, repaired and brought into compliance, as affordable housing. We have succeeded in Broadmoor because it is neighbors helping neighbors. We are not waiting for a government to give us something. We are doing it. It works, and I will grow that program city wide.

How will you address environmental concerns in your district?:

In keeping with my overall philosophy, I will involve the citizens in City decisions. A large majority of us are all concerned about the environment and we will continue our efforts. My wife and I have, for years now, participated in the Zoo’s Oyster raising effort. As a Port Commissioner, we supported / funded the environmental study on the impact of causeways on the Banana and Indian Rivers, and as a developer we are taking every step possible to protect the environment both during our construction and for the residents after completion of the project. I will continue pursuing all efforts I can to protect our environment. I live here. I want it to survive and improve. 

Why are you a better choice than your opponents:

I have strong leadership skills and experience. My opponents are past mayors. We are where we are after their time in office. I represent the future. I have more energy and passion for our city. I have been working to better Cocoa since I moved here, elected or not. I believe in Cocoa and the people and I will make a difference. 

What is your past political experience:

I am currently an elected Canaveral Port Authority Commissioner. I beat an incumbent who was running for reelection.

I also lead a successful county level campaign as part of a congressional campaign in South Carolina in 2010. We turned the county from 14 points down during the previous election into a 10 point win, boosting our candidate to the U.S. Congress.

Opponents and the media research public records, police reports, credit information and do other background checks in an effort to discover tax liens, lawsuits, arrest records and other unfortunate things. Are there any issues your opponent could use against you that you wish to disclose:

I have served my nation for 33 years in the military and four more as Port Commissioner. My background has been thoroughly checked not just by the FBI and U.S. Air Force but also by my political opponents. Politics are ugly. I have been threatened and lied about but there is nothing, NOTHING, in my background that any opponent can honestly use to disparage me or my family. I have an exemplary record of service, honesty and integrity. 

Are there any other comments you’d like to make?

I have demonstrated success. I have proven I am a good leader. I will make Cocoa life better.
There are currently three of us in this race. We each have a public record in our elected positions. Compare them. I am the best candidate.
Running a city successfully takes a good team. Our team has been through some difficult and challenging times. We have experienced some dramatic turnover. I will work first to understand why and to help stabilize the workforce with good people willing to work and make positive improvements to our city. Our next mayor must work well with our new city manager and our new police chief. I am the candidate who can best do both of those jobs AND lead the city staff to success.

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Our race is non-partisan and there is no primary so our vote is not until November 3rd. Please look for a website for “Harvey for Mayor” near the end of June.