Firsthand Experience Don Horton for Village Council

Senior Inspector, Building Official, Director of Code Enforcement, and Business Owner. These are the titles Don Horton has held in the Keys community since 1977. These are the titles that give Don firsthand experience to be effective on Village Council, but they’re not the only titles that qualify him as a caring Keys resident. Nor do they explain why Don fell in love with the Keys in the first place.

Nearly 50 years ago, Don Horton vacationed in the Keys from Texas. “As soon as I crossed over  Jewfish Creek Bridge, I was in love,” Don says. “The environment, the fishing, the people– I instantly connected.” Coming from an oil refinery town, Don felt a literal breath of fresh air as well as an emotional one. The Keys felt right; they felt like home, which many Keys transplants can relate to. What tipped the scale, however, was the front-page news.

“The Key Noter headline read ‘Lobster Traps Molested,’” Don recounts with a chuckle. “When I returned to Texas, I showed my father-in-law the newspaper as the explanation for wanting to move his daughter and grandkids to the Keys. Let’s just say our hometown’s headline was much more sinister that day.”

His father-in-law gave his blessing, and Don moved his family to Plantation Key. His oldest daughter started at Plantation Key School the first year it opened. Today, there are four generations of Hortons in the Keys– a testament to how quickly the Keys become part of a family and vice versa.

Don owned a construction company until 1990, when he decided to work for the county as a Senior Inspector & Plan Examiner, eventually rising to Building Services Director. In 2000, he became the Building Official and Director of Code Enforcement for the Village of Islamorada, where he served for 5 years. His firsthand experience working with the county and Village building departments then evolved into opening his own consulting and property management company.

“My entire career in the Keys has revolved around building departments and building codes, from both sides of the counter,” Don explains. “I realized I could, or rather, needed to use my experience to help the community, especially during this transitional time.”

Don explains that the town is about to face many struggles regarding outdated and expiring policies, strategies, and systems, including the Building Permit Allocation System (BPAS), Comprehensive Plan, and Land Development Regulations.

“Our strategic plan is expired, our charter has not been reviewed for many years, and our workforce is suffering because there is no effective strategy in place for affordable housing,” Don says. “If we don’t remedy this immediately, it’s going to create a perfect storm that hurts our community on many levels.”


That is why Don feels compelled to run for Village Council. With his experience and even firsthand-involvement in some of these original policies, he can bypass the learning curve that so many candidates must navigate when they’re first elected. “The thing is,” Don says, “many of us know what needs to be done, but I actually know how to do it. ”

Don currently serves on the Mariners Council, Contractors Examining Board, County Board of Adjustment and Appeals, Upper Key Rotary Board, and is the incoming President of the Key Largo Rotary Club and current Vice Chair of the Affordable Housing Committee. He has also served on several pertinent committees, including the Manager Selection Committee, two terms on both the LPA and Charter Review Committee, the Chair of the Affordable Housing Committee, and a Council-appointed Chair for the Ad-Hoc Committee assigned to evaluate issues with the Village Planning Department.

To learn more about Don Horton’s firsthand experience, visit

Paid for by the Campaign to elect Donald (Don) Horton, Islamorada Village Council Seat 4


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