January 23, 2022

Councilman Douglas Benefield, CPA, Announces Candidacy

Orange Park, FL –– Municipal Super Tuesday will offer voters in four Clay County townships important choices during springtime elections on April 11, 2023.

In Orange Park, one of those choices will be whether to retain Doug Benefield III in Seat 1. He was appointed in August 2022, following the resignation of Councilman Eddie Henley.

Benefield, an Orange Park CPA, has a long history in the town. Doug’s father, Navy Captain Tommie Douglas Benefield Jr., was an Aircraft Carrier Fighter Pilot aboard the USS Nimitz. Captain Benefield purchased the property known by Orange Park locals as the “Old Huntley House” located on the corner of Plainfield and Winfred. Doug began first grade and graduated from St. Johns Country Day School in Orange Park. He meet his wife of 12 years, Cary, when they were in the 7th grade at St. Johns Country Day. Now, 37, the couple have two children and enjoy camping and spending time as a family.

Investing in our youth is a tradition in Doug’s family. Cary is the Pre- primary Director at the Episcopal School of Jacksonville’s St. Mark’s campus. Cary’s mother, Mary Helen Cauthen, is the former Headmaster at St. Johns Country Day Lower School where Cary’s sister, McCall, is a teacher.

Besides a fondness for his hometown, Doug brings a wealth of experience and knowledge that he believes will benefit residents and taxpayers in the town. Doug was employed by BDO, one of the world’s largest accounting firms, where he specialized in corporate audits. Today, he manages his own CPA firm in Orange Park on Kingsley Avenue. Before being appointed to the council, the CPA answered the call to volunteer on the Town of Orange Park’s Budget and Finance Committee and the Police Pension Board.

“Orange Park has always been a real gem in the State of Florida and this is a critical time in our town’s history.” said Benefield. “We need to join together as a town to keep our taxes from rising so that our residents, especially our elderly, will not be priced out of the homes they have lived in throughout their lives. We need to keep our roads, streets, parks and river safe for families of all incomes to enjoy. We can do all this, and more, while we keep that hometown feel if we guard against unrestrained spending.”

Benefield said if he is elected by Orange Park voters, he also wants to continue the plans he set in motion during his brief time on the council. One of those plans include neighborhood “budget friendly control devices” on various cut-throughs such as Plainfield, River Road, Holly Point, Bellair and Debarry. He believes the devices will encourage non-resident motorists to slow down on these streets and could encourage non-residential traffic to avoid the various streets altogether when passing through the town.

“Areas where kids play, neighbors walk and squirrels dash for acorns are not intended as a high speed transportation corridor.” said Benefield.

Long-time Orange Park resident, Owene Courtney, was Doug’s seventh- grade history teacher. Her husband, Will Courtney, grew up on Holly Point Road where his parents have lived since 1950. Owene and Will raised their children in Orange Park and have witnessed the town’s growth.

“We have known Doug and his family for many, many years. I taught Doug in the seventh-grade, and he was a great friend of my sons.” said Courtney. “He is just the kind of young person we need to take Orange Park to the next level. He is bright, calm and wise.”

Benefield’s experience as a professional CPA, combined with his passion for the community, have inspired his future goals for Orange Park.

“Growing up in our beautiful little town instilled in me a sense of family, of unity with friends and neighbors, pride in a job well-done, and a desire to give back to our community.” Doug assured. “If you vote for me, I will work daily to ensure that every child and adult in our town has the same opportunities that I did while growing up in Orange Park.”

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