TAVARES – One of the youngest candidates to be elected to the Lake County Commission has clinched the seat.

Josh Blake, 35, will fill the County Commission District 5 seat long held by Commissioner Welton Cadwell, who was defeated in the August primary after serving 24 years on the commission.

With 104 out of 107 precincts reporting, Blake defeated Democratic opponent Peter Tarby by 38,854 votes.

Blake said he was humbled by the win Tuesday night as he celebrated with family at IBBQ in Fruitland Park.

“I can’t take credit for it,” he said. “I had family out knocking on doors and waving signs.”

When he takes office, Blake said he looks forward to “being a voice and an advocate for the small business people in Lake County and the taxpayer,” he said.

“I think that Lake County has spoken and they want a smaller more efficient government and I look forward to finding ways to make that happen.”

Blake, a Lake County resident since 1987, earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of North Florida in Jacksonville. He is a board member of the United Way of Lake and Sumter Counties and an alumnus of Leadership Lake County class of 2011. He worked as a legislative aide to state Rep. Marlene O’Toole, The Villages, in the Florida House of Representatives for the past eight years.

Blake said he hopes the economy will continue to improve.

“I want to make the businesses that are already here more successful,” he said. “I want Lake County to be known as a pro-business pro-taxpayer county and an affordable place to live, work and raise a family.”

One issue at the forefront in the county is the school impact fee, which is $9,324 per single family home.

Blake said he wants to look at lowering the fee.

“I don’t want Lake County to have a reputation as one of the most expensive places in Central Florida for a working family to build a home,” he said. “I look forward to having that discussion with the County Commission.”

Blake aspires to diversify the economy in Lake County, taking the burden off of taxpayers;. And he wants to lower taxes.

Most importantly, Blake said he is looking forward to sitting down and talking with department heads.

“I look forward to sitting down and finding out where we can find efficiencies and how we can do things better,” he said. “I have a lot to learn and look forward to those meetings.”