If anyone wanted to know who District 4’s county commissioner, Jennifer Thompson, would put in office to succeed her, it would be Susan Makowski. “I’ve been with Thompson for seven years. I know why something was approved, and I know why it wasn’t approved,” Susan firmly claims. Standing by Thompson’s side for both of her terms as commissioner, she too has built relationships with the community and its developers.
The gold nugget to Susan’s life story began in 2002. Heading into her second year of graduate school, Makowski was diagnosed with breast cancer and became a patient of the American Cancer Society. Recalling her thoughts, she says,“I went through the treatment, lost my hair, went through six months of chemo.” Even though she was hit with this challenge, she refused to quit grad school and used that as encouragement to keep going and fight. Her strong spirit kept her well, and she ended up beating cancer.
A year after her diagnosis and treatment, Susan had her eyes set on owning a home in Northlake Park. After she settled down, it was not long before Relay for Life came knocking on her door. The YMCA near her hosted the Relay for Life events, and they were interested in making her their “survivor chair.” She accepted the offer wholeheartedly.
At the time, she was working a sales job and spent much of her time traveling for work. However, that job was not fulfilling enough for her, so she ended up leaving her job and went to work for the local cancer society. She wanted to return the favor they had done for her in her time of need. It was there that she met Jennifer Thompson. Thompson was a volunteer at the society. The two quickly became peas in a pod. “I told her I was running for office, and I needed her to come help,” says Thompson. So, her good friend left her post at the cancer society and geared all her energy toward Jennifer’s campaign. Two years later, the ladies landed themselves in office. Politics was never Susan’s cup of tea, and she never saw herself being an aide to a county commissioner, however, when she saw the positive impact they were making on the community, her perspective changed.
There are a few projects that Thompson has under her belt that she would like to see continued once her time as commissioner expires. Currently, there is a community park that is in the works for building on Moss Park Road. If everything goes through, the park will have two or three ball fields along with a few playgrounds. There also is the Back to Nature Wildlife Refuge that was funded $3.5 million for expansion and renovation from Thompson and her team. She would like to see that the funding stays with them.
Additionally, there is a situation with Split Oak Forest that concerns Thompson. Split Oak Forest is a wildlife conservation area that is home to a variety of mammals and reptiles such as bats, otters, freshwater turtles and alligators. Different kinds of fish and birds also call the forest home. The problem Thompson is fighting against is Osceola County’s proposal to extend a parkway that would interfere with the forest. Thompson needs to make sure the board at Central Florida Expressway stays aware of the damage on the ecosystem that would result from putting roads through Split Oaks.
There is no other person than Makowski that Thompson trusts to take her place, to handle the business and keep things running smoothly. A lot of growth has picked up on this side of town within the last seven years, and Susan already knows her way through the ropes. “I can’t image anybody finishing the stuff we started as a team together than her – I’ve known Sue for about a decade,” states Jennifer.
The other qualifying candidates for the 2018 election as District 4’s county commissioner are Kevin Ballinger, Maribel Gomez Cordero, Gina Perez-Calhoun, and Nicolette Springer.