Mark MacLean: leading from the ground up

Southside attorney and community leader Mark MacLean is running for the Florida House of Representatives. The District 12 Republican is a ninth-generation Floridian, raised in the Sans Souci neighborhood, and a graduate of Englewood High School, the University of North Florida and Mercer University’s Walter F. George School of Law.12747518_1070823936294197_3189697008737946794_o

Lake Ray, who currently represents District 12, is not seeking another term because of term limits.

Since 1994, Mark MacLean has run his own business as a sole practitioner, helping other small business owners and individuals with contracts, probate, estate planning and real estate matters. Mark MacLean has also served as an adjunct professor at Keiser University and the Florida Coastal School of Law, as well as presenting estate planning seminars for the U.S. Department of Labor. In addition, Mark MacLean served as chair of Hendricks Avenue Elementary School Advisory Council and as a member of the Julia Landon College Preparatory Middle School and Douglas Anderson School of the Arts advisory councils. Mark MacLean also served as president of the Greater Hogan Area Neighborhood Association and the San Marco Preservation Society. Additionally, Mark MacLean served as Vice-Chair of the City of Jacksonville’s Southeast Citizens Planning and Advisory Committee, and is a member of the Board of Directors of Friends of Hendricks, Inc.

“Running for State Representative is genuinely an outgrowth of what I’ve been doing for the past 20 years,” Mark MacLean said. “Over the last two decades, I’ve served, with my neighbors and parents of my kids’ classmates, to improve the lives of families on the Southside and in Arlington. In my experience, I have found that many of the challenges we deal with on the local level are caused by state mandates that are sent down by Tallahassee officials – an authoritative, top-down approach to government. We need a ground-up approach to solving problems, empowering local decision making and limiting the power and spending of state government.

Mark MacLean: The Law from the Ground Up

As a professional real estate, business and probate attorney, Mark MacLean has helped property owners, small business people and retirees navigate the law, giving him unique insights on how the legislature’s actions affect ordinary people. “I know firsthand how laws impact everyday citizens because I live it day in, day out,” Mark MacLean said, “and I’ve seen the unintended consequences of entrenched politicians. I can show you how a retiree who simply forgets to mail some paperwork gets treated the same way, under Florida law, as someone engaged in homestead exemption fraud. I can show you how small business owners get trapped in bureaucratic red-tape between different state agencies. Those problems are a direct result of top-down law making and career politicians who are out of touch with the average citizen.  When you look at a lot of these laws and mandates, you can tell they were crafted by so-called experts or special interest groups, rather than the people on the ground,” he continued, “and as a result, the people on the ground – the voters, the taxpayers – feel powerless. I’ve seen the frustration on my neighbors’ faces when they hear from school administrators: ‘Our hands are tied. This is what the legislature has mandated,’ or they find out that the Florida legislature, often lobbied to do so by the special interests who would benefit, has acquiesced to a power grab by the federal government in overriding state or local laws. If I am chosen by the voters to represent them in Tallahassee, I’ll evaluate every bill and every regulation, first, on how it impacts the average citizen, student, parent, business and neighborhood, not the well-connected special interests.”

Mark MacLean Family

Mark MacLean met his wife, Alicia, at a Jacksonville Suns game. They have been married for 18 years and have two girls, ages 16 and 10, and an eight-year-old son. Alicia is a clinical specialist for Medtronic, a medical device company, and is active in her church and enjoys leading women’s bible studies. She is a cancer survivor, and Mark MacLean said that Alicia’s battle, in addition to Mark caring for his aging parents, one of whom died after struggling with Parkinson’s Disease, reinforced the values he learned during childhood, about what is most important in life. “It’s not about money,” he said. “It’s not about power – it’s about relationships and doing what is right for your family, your kids, your neighbors and your community.”

Mark MacLean Growing up

Mark MacLean spent his formative years working in his Dad’s grocery store on Talleyrand Avenue. His grandfather founded MacLean’s Grocery and Luncheonette on Ocean Street, catering mostly to shipyard and tugboat workers. The store later moved to the corner of Duval and Talleyrand. That’s where Mark MacLean spent his younger years, waiting tables and cooking lunch for tugboat crews, welders and other shipyard employees. He also stocked shelves and helped his Dad butcher and wrap meat.

“Both my parents were raised during the depression,” Mark MacLean recalled, “so Dad was always preaching hard work and frugality, planning ahead, minimizing risk.” Those values saved Mark MacLean from possible financial ruin in 2007, when the world real estate market collapsed and the great recession started.

“As a real estate attorney, I had people all around me in 2005-2006 making money hand over fist,” he recalled, “and I certainly was tempted to borrow a lot of money and flip properties, or to focus all my professional resources in the real estate practice area. But I just kept hearing my Dad’s words: ‘Slow-and steady. Don’t overextend yourself. Be careful. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.’ That wisdom paid off a few months later,” he continued, “when some law firms who focused exclusively on real estate went out of business, and some of my acquaintances who wanted me to flip properties with them faced financial ruin.”

Mark MacLean: Governing the right way

Mark MacLean added that he believes Florida’s leaders could benefit from the wisdom of his father’s generation – the same principles he has practiced throughout his own business career: fiscal restraint and a commitment to saving for the future.

“When I was growing up, I can remember how there was always a great concern for building up the State of Florida’s Rainy Day Fund –,” Mark Maclean said, “money put aside for the future. Why don’t we seem to have that same concern anymore? Maybe it’s because the Rainy Day Fund doesn’t have a lobbyist.”

Mark MacLean sees that as a big problem in Tallahassee: the overall influence of lobbyists, PAC money, special interests, and career politicians who are term limited, grasping in search of another public office.

“I’m not saying that all lobbyists and PACs and career politicians are bad,” he explained. “Many do good work. It’s just that things are out of balance – so what I’m saying is that when those things get too much attention, then the important things – our kids, our neighborhoods, our schools, small businesses – often just get the leftovers.”

“It’s a top-down view of governing that is the complete opposite of what we need,” he added.” I believe the citizens are sick and tired of the Tallahassee-knows-best, one-size-fits-all approach to government. We should be leading from the ground up: empowering local decision makers, reducing unnecessary regulations and over-burdensome taxes and un-harnessing small business owners to create jobs. We should give parents control over what their children are taught in our schools, give teachers in the classroom the freedom to teach, without national or federally supported curriculum standards imposed on them, and we should keep a lid on government spending while setting aside money for the future.”

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