Melony Bell – Florida House of Representatives, District 56

Meet Melony Bell:

Get to know me before the election!

I am Melony Bell, the current State Representative for District 56 in Florida. I am running for re-election this November for the same seat. I am a Republican, a Business owner, and a dedicated civil servant. I have lived in the area for 42 years during which I completed a degree in Business Proeffsion and Leadership at Southeastern University, raised children, and owned/managed Bell Apiaries. Over the years, I have been very active in our District’s communities, serving as Polk county commissioner (2010-2018) and Fort Meade City commissioner/Mayor (14 Years). I also had the pleasure of serving as an executive board member for the Career Academies of Polk County, a board member at the Baycare Hosptial Bartow, a board member for the Bartow Economic Development Committee, a board member at the Women’s Club, a member of HELP Fort Meade, and a member of the Fort Meade high school student advisory committee.

My top priorities for the next legislative session, if elected:

This past session, I filed HB 1207 at the request of the PolkCounty School Board, with the hope that it would help improve the conditions of the VAM testing. For the 2019-2020 school year, the VAM-only scores were released by the department at noon on August 8, with most school’s first day of school being the following Monday, August 12. At that time, teachers were in their schools setting up their classrooms, preparing for the school year, and had been planning their curriculum for weeks, if not months. Receiving the VAM-only data from the state this late requires teachers who must be moved due to the VAM to pack up their classrooms and move to either another classroom or another school, depending on the status of the school based on the differentiated accountability model. My primary goal in that legislation was that, while the VAM testing is in the current statute, school districts and their teachers will have a more timely notice of scores to be able to plan accordingly for their year. Unfortunately, HB 1207 died on its second reading and was not passed this year. I want to make filing it again one of my top priorities if I am elected. I am also concerned with the issues the agriculture community has been facing in my district. District 56 is very agriculturally based and our farmers have been very important throughout the pandemic. I think the food shortages during the height of the grocery store hysteria really emphasized the importance of our farmers and all the work they do to provide us with quality food, quickly. Last session, I filed HB 191 Young Farmer and Ranchers. This bill would have created a Florida Young Farmers & Ranchers Matching Grant Program within DACS to help our farmers and ranchers succeed as they are starting out in their businesses. Unfortunately, this bill never made it on an agenda to be heard in the house, so it would be a priority for me to file it again. I also want to prioritize my appropriations projects. I filed many projects to bring funding back to district 56 and Polk county to protect our natural resources, improve our infrastructure, and promote a lively community space in Polk County by protecting and improving our parks. Many were vetoed in light of the urgent need for COVID funding, so I want to make sure to get these issues back on the agenda next year and hopefully be able to carry out some of these projects!

Biographical Information
City of Residence: Fort Meade
Occupation: Business Owner
Spouse: Robbie Bell of Bartow, Florida
Child(ren): Ashley Barnett, Whitnie Bell
Education: South Florida Community College, AS; Southeastern University, BS, Business and Professional Leadership
Born: October 29, 1961, Winter Haven, FL
Religious Affiliation: Protestant
Recreational Interest: gardening, spending time with family, travel

Legislative Service
Elected to the Florida House of Representatives in 2018
Highlights
Owner of Bell Apiaries

Current Committee Assignments
Business & Professions Subcommittee
Health Quality Subcommittee
Local Administration Subcommittee
PreK-12 Innovation Subcommittee

Member of the Florida House of Representatives
Melony Mincey Bell is currently a member of the Florida House of Representatives, representing the 56th District which covers the entirety of DeSoto and Hardee Counties, as well as part of Polk County. Bell has served as commissioner for the Polk County Board of County Commissioners, as the mayor of Fort Meade, Florida and as a Fort Meade city commissioner.

Previous office: Polk County Commissioner (2010 – 2018)
Contact –
Mailing address: 1301 The Capitol, 402 South Monroe Street, Tallahassee, FL 32399-1300
Phone: (850) 717-5056 (Office)