Know Before You Vote | Bios

Join the Young Professionals of Palm Beach North for their quarterly Development Luncheon on Monday, October 5 as they connect virtually. The topic of this luncheon is Know Before You Vote – PBC Politics.

Learn more about our panelists below.

Moderator: Ben Durgan, Economic Council of Palm Beach County
A native of Palm Beach County, Ben Durgan was born in Boynton Beach, Florida and graduated high school in 2008.  Ben received an Athletic Scholarship to play baseball at Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, New Jersey.  He played two seasons as a pitcher and first baseman for the FDU Knights, earning All-NEC Honor Roll recognition his freshman year.
After two seasons with the Knights, Ben returned to Florida and enrolled at The Florida State University.  Ben graduated from Florida State University with Bachelor of Arts degrees in Political Science and International Affairs and a minor in Business Entrepreneurship. 

Interning at the State Capital prompted Ben to seek employment in his hometown, he began working as a Legislative Aide for Senator Joseph Abruzzo in the summer of 2014.  Ben went on to serve as the Chief of Staff for State Senator Bobby Powell Jr. from 2016 to 2018.  Ben is currently the Director of Government Affairs and Communications for the Economic Council of Palm Beach County. He is also proud to be a board member of Place of Hope’s Leadership Advisory Council, New Leaders Council Palm Beach, and Susan G. Komen Florida’s Legislative Advisory Board.  

Ilan Kaufer, Vice Mayor of Town of Jupiter: 
Vice Mayor Ilan Kaufer lives in Jupiter with his wife Stephanie, and their two children. Ilan was elected to the Jupiter Town Council in 2013 and was re-elected in 2016 and 2019. He is the youngest person ever elected to the Jupiter Council. He received a BA from the University of Virginia and a JD as well as a Master degree from the the University of Florida. 
 
Ilan has focused his time in office on public safety, environmental protection, government transparency, and efficient government services. Some of his initiatives that have been passed by the council include: live broadcast of Town meetings, increase in fire and paramedic staffing, solar-powered waste and recycling containers, creation of education and environmental advisory committees, construction of the Town’s first Veterans memorial, all while at the same time lowering the Town’s tax rate. He was also the first Council member to use social media to provide information to the public.
 
Ilan is a graduate of Leadership Florida’s Connect Program and Leadership Palm Beach County. Ilan is a member of the Florida Bar and Palm Beach County Bar Association and serves on the Board of Directors for the Palm Beach County League of Cities and the Jewish Community Center of the Palm Beaches. Professionally, Ilan works for Florida Power & Light, where he has served in multiple roles since 2009. 

Dave Kerner, Palm Beach County Mayor:
County Mayor Dave Kerner was elected to the Board of County Commissioners in November 2016. He is a Palm Beach County, District 3 native. Prior to his election to the Board of County Commissioners, he served two terms in Florida House of Representatives as the Ranking Member of the Judiciary Committee.

County Mayor Dave Kerner attended Suncoast Community High School, the University of Florida (Bachelor of Arts, Political Science & Criminology, 2006), and the University of Florida College of Law (Juris Doctor, Constitutional Law & Local Government, 2010). At the age of 19 he also attended the Police Academy at Santa Fe Community College, and became certified and sworn as a Police Officer.  

At the age of 20, County Mayor Dave Kerner was honored as the Police Officer of the Year for the City of Alachua, and also served as the Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge 62, and Union Representative. While serving as a Police Officer, he also served as a Field Training Officer.

County Mayor Kerner has emerged as a leader on issues related to law enforcement, the judiciary, criminal justice, and civil law. Since 2010, he has served as a civil trial attorney with a local firm in addition to his public service.

Wendy Sartory Link, Supervisor of Elections:
Wendy Sartory Link was appointed as Supervisor of Elections for Palm Beach County on January 18, 2019. Serving almost 1 million registered voters, Ms. Link is promoting the values that have been the key to her success: “Integrity, Accountability, and Service” in her quest for delivering fair, transparent, and secure elections for Palm Beach County.

Ms. Link is an active member of Urban & Large County Elections Registration Supervisors (ULCERS), Florida State Association of Supervisors of Elections, and Florida Certified Election Professionals, participating in education, training, and professional development related to her role as Supervisor of Elections. In addition, Ms. Link is a member of The American Bar Association, The Florida Bar, The State Bar of California, and Palm Beach County Bar Association and has more than 30 years of legal experience in private practice.

She is a graduate of Leadership Palm Beach County (Class of 1998) and currently serves on the Florida Council of 100, the Boards of the Economic Council of Palm Beach County, and The Weiss School. She is a member of the District Board of Trustees for Palm Beach State College, a Trustee of the Chamber of Commerce of the Palm Beaches, and a member of the CityPlace CDD, Executive Women, and International Women’s Forum.

Ms. Link graduated from the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill with a B.S. in Administration of Justice and Political Science in 1986, and from Duke University School of Law with a J.D. in 1989. She has three incredible sons and lives in North Palm Beach, Florida.

Bobby Powell, Senator District 30:
The Honorable Bobby Powell Jr., AICP, was elected to his second term in the Florida Senate in 2018, following two terms in the state House of Representatives. He is an urban planner and project manager at Urban Design Kilday Studios in West Palm Beach, where he helps design and create development projects. Senator Powell graduated magna cum laude from Florida A & M University with a degree in Public Relations in 2003, and in 2006, earned a master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning from Florida State University. Born and raised in the City of Riviera Beach, he is the highestranking elected official in Palm Beach County. His exemplary work in the Legislature has won him lots of accolades, including those from the Florida Association of Counties, the Board of County Commissioners and the Florida League of Cities. He is also a member of the Nominating Council for the state Public Service Commission, which regulates utility companies throughout the state. Senator Powell also serves as Chair of the Florida Legislative Black Caucus. Senator Powell has a reputation for always ‘being there’ for his constituents and prides himself on leading a life of service.

Chelsea Reed, City Council:

Palm Beach Gardens Councilmember, Chelsea Reed, is an award-winning community leader who was elected in to her first term this year. She was honored as ‘Volunteer of the Year 2018-2019’ by the Palm Beach North Chamber of Commerce, served as Vice-Chair of the County’s Citizens Advisory Committee to the Palm Beach Transportation Planning Agency and was an appointed member of Palm Beach Gardens Planning, Zoning and Appeals Board. Chelsea has been involved in business development for over 25 years, as a local healthcare business owner, as well as in her work with several nonprofit entities. She is a graduate of Leadership Palm Beach County Class of 2020, founded and chairs the Sustainability Subcommittee of the Palm Beach North Chamber and is a member of the Women in Business Council, Governmental Affairs Committee, Forum Club, Benjamin School Alumni Council and Advisory Board for Resource Depot. She has raised funds and awareness in nonprofit healthcare, housing, local parks, women’s rights and has been integral in building schools and pushing sustainable best practices in business, and healthy nutrition initiatives for children.

 

Chelsea attended The Benjamin School, received her bachelor’s degree from Florida Atlantic University, and holds a Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Leadership & Management from the University of Florida. Chelsea loves everything about the lifestyle in her native state of Florida and her hometown of Palm Beach Gardens. In her free time, she is a marathon, trail and ultra-relay runner, water sport athlete and adventure traveler with her husband of 26 years, Michael, their two sons.

Rick Roth, State Representative:
State Representative Rick Roth is a lifetime Floridian, longtime business owner and proven job creator.

Born and raised in Palm Beach County, Rick is a third-generation farmer and small business owner who has spent his life leading by example. Rick joined his father in the family business in 1976, after graduating from Emory University with a B.S. degree in Mathematics. He became President and principal owner of the Roth family business in 1986. Today,  his successful  farming and packinghouse businesses employ over 160 workers in Palm Beach County.

Rick and his wife Jeanie have three adult children and three grandchildren. In 2016, Rick was elected to the Florida House of Representatives as the representative for district 85, and reelected in 2018. His district encompasses parts of northeastern Palm Beach County.
 
Rick is committed to balanced solutions that protect our unique environment while nurturing a sustainable, business-friendly environment. Rick has also focused on helping our children. He passed legislation to help foster children in our Foster Care system through adoption in 2020.
 
He served on the following committees in 2020:

  1. Agriculture and Natural Resources Appropriations Sub Committee Vice Chair
  2. Agriculture and Natural Resources Sub Committee
  3. Children, Families, and Seniors Sub Committee Vice Chair
  4. State Affairs Committee
  5. Workforce Development & Tourism Subcommittee