Merritt Matheson, Vice Mayor
Term: September 2020 to September 2022
I am a proud life-long resident of Martin County and a multi-generational Florida native. My parents relocated to Martin County from Miami, following in the footsteps of my great-uncle Bill Matheson, who had settled in Palm City in the 1950s. I was born at Martin Memorial Hospital and raised in Palm City. I was privileged with an upbringing that allowed me to enjoy the aspects of this community that make it special: natural beauty, good schools, quiet neighborhoods and close-knit communities.
My first great love was the sea. I have been an avid fisherman for as long as I can remember. As a young teenager, I also began scuba diving and surfing. Growing up along the South Fork of the St. Lucie River, I’ve witnessed first-hand the devastation caused by the discharges from Lake Okeechobee. My love of nature was not isolated to aquatic ecosystems. I spent many days exploring, camping, fishing and hunting in the wild hammocks, savannas, creeks and wetlands of western Martin County and beyond.
I attended the University of Colorado Boulder where I studied Environmental Biology. During the same time period, I earned my USCG Captain’s License. After college, I settled in Maui, Hawaii, where I worked as a charter fishing boat captain. It was during this time that I discovered I have LHON, a rare hereditary condition that degenerates my optic nerve. There is no treatment for the condition. Within a year, I became legally blind.
I moved to the City of Stuart in 2010 with my wife, Chelsey, whose own family ties to Martin County stretch back more than 100 years. Since returning to Florida, I have worked for West Marine in Stuart as the Fishing Manager. I have also purchased and managed investment properties. Though my disability prevents me from continuing to run charter fishing boats, I am still able to do some work as a saltwater fishing guide for friends and clients who own their own boats. My wife and I are now raising two wonderful daughters. Bryn Matheson, our youngest, was born three days after i was elected to serve as Stuart City Commissioner.
Though I left Martin County in my early twenties to gain an education and explore the world, I was drawn back here when I knew it was time to settle down and raise a family. My roots here are deep. I am grateful to the generations before me who worked hard to preserve the small-town charm of Stuart, and I am ready to make my own contribution to ensure that my children are able to enjoy and appreciate it the way I did.
I was Sworn in as Stuart City Commissioner in September 2018.