CRESTVIEW — Two candidates are challenging an incumbent for the District 4 Okaloosa County commissioner seat.
Now, they share their backgrounds and platforms with the News Bulletin.
DON AMUNDS (incumbent)
Personal: Wife, Joanna; two sons, Scott and Robbie. Worship at Navarre United Methodist Church; board member for Children in Crisis, Honorary Commander at the 33rd, Eglin Air Force Base; Air Force Enlisted Village, Horizons, Catholic Charities of Northwest Florida, All Sports Association, Emerald Coast Wildlife Refuge, American Heart Association, United Way, YMCA and Boys and Girls Club, Gum Creek Lodge in Baker.
Relevant experience: Certified county commissioner by the Florida Association of Counties including area of HR, budgeting, growth management and ethics. Worked in county law enforcement for 18 years, development and rental properties management.
Other education/experience: B.S. in Criminal Justice with a minor in Business Administration from Troy University; served as a paratrooper in the U.S. Army; and Emergency Management Certification classes.
Reason you seek this position:"I am service oriented and helping people is something I really enjoy. Being a commissioner allows me to help people in ways I could not otherwise do.
"I am fiscally conservative and I believe we need to have good quality of life and an affordable life. I have always voted no on new taxes and have worked to keep Okaloosa with one of the lowest millage rates and lowest debt ratios in the state.
"I am a problem solver and I want to be accessible. I believe in the common sense approach and working locally with the people of Okaloosa County.
Biggest issues: Infrastructure, storm water and job creation.
"We need to work on our major roadways, especially the P.J. Adams Parkway four lane, roads in the north end of the county that keep washing out during heavy rains and we need to work on ways to stabilize them from eroding and pave more roads.
"Storm water piping needs replacing under numerous subdivisions. We need to create jobs that diversify our area. We are very dependent on the military and tourism.
"I’ve worked to bring approximately 1,000 jobs into the area and we need to keep working to attract new industries to our area."
Personal: Wife, Krystle, a Shalimar Elementary School teacher. Two children, Alexia (4) and Robert (1). Shalimar United Methodist Church members.
Relevant experience: "I am an attorney focusing in the areas of real estate, construction, and probate law. Previously, I was a project manager for a large multi-state construction company.
"I also served as a city council member for Fort Walton Beach, and am a past member of the Okaloosa County (Economic Development Council)'s Business Leadership Council."
Other education/experience: Bachelor of Science in Building Construction from the University of Florida; Juris Doctor from the Florida State University College of Law.
Reason you seek this position: "I want to be the next District 4 county commissioner to restore accountability to the District 4 seat, and the serve the people of Okaloosa County with integrity and fair dealing.
"I will be a common sense advocate for the taxpayers, making sure their hard earned tax dollars are wisely invested in our community."
Biggest issues: "One of the primary issues facing Okaloosa County will be how the county uses BP dollars. My goal is to make sure those dollars are not squandered or wasted.
"Instead, I propose to use those funds to implement long term infrastructure solutions for roads, storm water drainage, and water quality.
"I believe that responsible spending should avoid any need to discuss tax increases."
Personal: The son of an Air Force sergeant, he has 7 siblings and attended Edwins Elementary, Bruner Middle School and Fort Walton Beach High School before attending the University of Florida on an ROTC scholarship.
Upon graduation, he served as a field artillery officer including a tour in Desert Storm, where he was awarded a Bronze Star.
Relevant experience: "I have experience in each of our key economic drivers: military, tourism and medical.
"I have led and motivated worldwide teams comprising more than 400 employees and managed overall profit and loss for business divisions exceeding $30 million in revenue."
Other education/experience: MBA, Rollins College; BA University of Florida; adjunct professor, Florida Institute of Technology.
Reason you seek this position: "I am seeking this office to apply my experience to the county I grew up in and love.
Biggest issues:"Stormwater: If we don't have clean water, efficient runoff and backed up sewage, we don't have a community; we have a slum.
"When I see sewage back up in our neighbors’ yards, it's time for good policy, not politics, to get involved and solve problems. I bring a problem-solving mindset and capability to the board, and look forward to using those skills for all residents and visitors to Okaloosa County.
"We need to work closely with our state delegation. Under Rick Scott, the budget has grown by $9 billion since 2010: I think we can find $50 million to address sewer, storm water and critical road needs."