Palm Beach Co. commissioner donates leftover campaign cash

Local politicians often collect a substantial amount of money when they are running for office, but what happens to those contributions after they win?

One Palm Beach County commissioner says she is using her leftover campaign contributions to help struggling families, especially in the Glades.

Commissioner Melissa McKinlay says she set up a special scholarship at Palm Beach State College to benefit struggling mothers.

“I see a lot of struggling single moms, and I think the best way to be a successful single mom is to get a good education to get a good job with that education,” said McKinlay.

Jackie Garcia, a single mother of three children under the age of 6, is a recipient of the scholarship the commissioner established.

“I wanted to show my kids you can do something with your life,” said Garcia.

“I gave the guidelines,” said McKinlay. “I didn’t have any say in who they ultimately selected, but I was very specific when I awarded the contribution that it had to be a single mom in one of the Glades communities.”

Garcia, who left high school and got a GED so she could raise her kids, has added business classes to her daily routine of caring for her children and working at her job.

“I got to show my kids, do something, don’t give up, keep going and keep trying,” said Garcia.

That is the exact attitude this politician wants to help inspire in others.

“Trying to balance life, motherhood and work and then you throw in the expense of going to take classes at the local state college, it’s a challenge, and to be able to alleviate that for someone is very honorable,” said McKinlay.

Garcia said she will graduate next year and hopes to get a job in the Glades.