District 1 County Commissioner
One of the world’s greatest boxers, arguably the greatest heavyweight champion, Muhammad Ali once said, “Service to others is the rent you pay for room here on Earth.” It is a principle echoed by many and embodied by District 1 County Commissioner Rita Pritchett.
When the affects of the 2008 economic recession poured into the space shuttle era ending in 2011, Titusville’s economy struggled more than other Brevard County cities. Pritchett’s community went through some financially challenging times. She watched her children move out of state due to space center layoffs to support their family. Taking two of her and her husband Daniel’s grandchildren. Rita saw the impact of the housing market crash and the exit of the launches in the community and wanted to bring about change for the better, not just for her family, but also to others in the Brevard County area.
Pritchett got involved in city government and successfully served as Titusville City Council for two terms. Born in Clearwater, Florida, Brevard County has been Pritchett’s home since 1960. Pritchett graduated from Titusville High School then attended Brevard Community College, now Eastern Florida State College.
She then transferred to the University of Central Florida where she earned her Bachelor’s of Business Administration and a Master’s in Accounting. Pritchett is a Florida Licensed Certified Public Accountant and has served as the Women’s Pastor and Financial Director at her local church, New Life Christian Fellowship, for 30 years.
Leaders Leading Leaders
For many successful women, it was the influence of other successful women who mentored them along their journey to collaborate, create, and thrive. But not in Commissioner’s Pritchett case. She highlighted two men who have had helped her soar into new horizons.
“My Pastor Dr. Larry Linkous and his wife Sandra have been a great influence in my life for over 36 years,” Pritcett said. “They have been the pastors of New Life Christian Fellowship in Titusville for over 30 years and church has grown to over 1000 families in the north Brevard Area.”
“I have been greatly influenced by their faith and resilience over the years. They have encouraged me to never quit and to keep priorities a priority,” she added. “Building great structures is noble, but greater than that is building people.”
One of my favorite quotes Pastor Linkous shared that I have taken to heart is, “He who loses his emotions loses.”
Secondly, Robin Fisher, former chairman of Brevard County Board of County Commissioners, has also been an influential mentor in Pritchett life. “He was always able to get a lot of economic growth and get things shaking and moving,” Pritchett said. She worked alongside Fisher in efforts to bring economic development North Brevard Economic Development Zone (NBEDZ) for District 1. The Zone focuses on four critical components in planning and implementation for economic growth, high wage business attraction and retention, redevelopment of commercial/industrial sites, development of pad ready/spec building sites, small business attraction, creation, retention, and expansion. Northern Brevard has seen some changes for the better in job opportunities and business expansion through businesses such as One Web, Blue Origin, Lockheed Martin, and the Brix Project with the Playalinda Brewery Company.
In continued service toward health and wellness, city beatification and livelihood, and economic development, Pritchett served as a liaison to the Brevard County Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, Economic Development Commission, Parrish Medical Center, and is currently a member of the Brevard Nature Alliance. She was honored to receive the Space Coast Daily 2015 Humanitarian Award and the Image Award from St. James AME 2015. Pritchett marks her proudest moment in District 1 voting in support of the creation of NBEDZ. One Web is the world’s first facility for high volume satellite manufacturing. The plan is to put more than 600 satellites into orbit to provide low-cost global Internet access. “NBEDZ is helping to bring many jobs and economic growth to District 1 and other parts of our county as well,” Pritchett said.
Since 2006, Pritchett has been an Eastern Florida State Instructor in Accounting and Tax and hopes to continue teaching. When asked what advice she would give to young people hoping to work in local government, Pritchett said, “Just realize everything in your life is going to lead to your future. Don’t despise small beginnings, because it’s preparing you for your future.”