Archer chooses Penny to join city commission

A majority of Archer residents voted on July 27 to elect Kathy Penny as commissioner for Seat 5.

In total, 143 votes were cast in the Tuesday election. Penny received 84, Shaun Willis received 33 and Laurie Costello received 26 votes.

Penny, 57, was born and raised in Archer and is a graduate of Santa Fe College (SFC). She described herself as “still on cloud nine from winning” the election.

She attended Archer Elementary School, Newberry High School and went on to earn her business degree at SFC. For 20 years, Penny has worked in the business office at North Florida Regional Medical Center in Gainesville.

Penny said growing up in Archer has created fond memories of helping her family harvest watermelons, tobacco and peas, plus making homemade syrup from sugar cane with her father and uncle who, at 85, “still does peanuts,” Penny said.

Penny said she got interested in serving on the commission since attending meetings regularly every other Monday.

“I go to a lot of the city meetings,” Penny said.

Penny said she shares a sense of urgency to work with the commission to “get a sewer system going.”

“That’s one of my main objectives,” she said. “I want what is best for citizens.”

Penny also cited road improvements as a top priority. She said she thinks “all of the commissioners are already working together,” so she is ready to join them.

In the past, Penny said she has been a volunteer helping with city sponsored events.

“I volunteer and usually go take the pictures for them,” she said.

For 10 years, Penny has served with the Archer Cultural Progressive Organization (ACPO). The nonprofit organization’s mission is “to promote education and give cultural enrichment to the community by giving back and helping others reach success.”

Penny said Archer is growing and expressed optimism about the community’s next five years: “I know we’re going to have more businesses here such as restaurants and grocery stores.”

Penny said those businesses are needed to open up more job opportunities. This week the Greater Gainesville Chamber reported 18 job openings in Archer. 

Even before Penny gets sworned in and takes over the seat vacated by Wade Wheeler, she said she is doing her homework.

“It’s time to get on the ball,” she said. And with the waste water and sewer system issue, Penny said she has started researching and talking to people from other towns who are going through the same situation to see what they are doing.

Her favorite aspect of growing up and living in Archer is that it’s a peaceful community. 

“Archer is a quiet little town,” Penny said. “And I love the beauty and riding down the roads.”

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