LAUREL HILL — Clifton Hall, 65, is the City Council’s newest member, appointed Oct. 2 to a seat that was vacant more than 18 months. The job is new to him, but he has eyed business growth as one area the city should focus on.
"I would like to see some more businesses in the area," he said. "Plus, many of the streets are in need of repair."
The city of Laurel Hill currently has 13 licensed businesses, according to city clerk Anita Miller.
The city of Crestview has 908 businesses listed that have been approved and renewed for business licenses, according to Loretta Scardina, the Hub City’s assistant city clerk.
Although he has never held political office, Hall said he has always wanted to help the city. Mayor Joan Smith convinced him to run for the position.
Hall said he learned about the job through Smith, whom he knew through her late husband, Harvell, who had business dealings with his company, according to Hall.
Hall’s experience in construction and roadwork lies in the company that he operates with his wife, Monique. In addition, he is credited with building several subdivisions, schools and businesses in Crestview.
However, after nearly 30 years of business, Hall said he and his wife have plans to sell.
"It just got to be too much for me," Hall said, adding the decision came after the economy worsened and jobs became scarce.
Hall was born and raised on a farm in New Harmony in Walton County. He said he became familiar with many people in the area from his days at Paxton School, from which he graduated in 1965.
Hall served in the U.S. Navy, as a firefighter on Eglin Air Force Base, before he entered the construction business.
Hall and his wife moved to Laurel Hill shortly after they married in 2007. Hall has two grown sons and Monique has a 17-year-old daughter, respectively, from previous marriages.
Though Hall’s city council role might have suddenly arisen from a life outside politics, he said he always felt civic responsibility.
"My wife and I have attended several meetings in the past," Hall said. "From what I have seen over the years, I knew I wanted to help out in some way."