Editor's Note: Voters of municipal elections on March 12 will decide several positions in Crestview and Laurel Hill city governments.
To help readers make informed decisions at the polls, the News Bulletin will publish profiles of each candidate running for office in each edition of the newspaper through March 2. Today, we profile the two candidates running for mayor of Laurel Hill.
Each candidate was asked to answer the same questions and received the same amount of space to respond. Candidates appear alphabetically.
Personal: Lifelong north Okaloosa County resident. Grew up just south of Laurel Hill in the Campton community and moved within Laurel Hill city limits in November 2005.
Married to his high school sweetheart, Debra Adams, for 18 years. Two children, Dylan, 8, and Aidan, 4. Employed by the USDA/Farm Service Agency as a program technician, serves as Laurel Hill's council vice chairperson and is a member of Laurel Hill School's School Advisory Council.
Appointed to Laurel Hill City Council in June 2008, began four-year term in April 2009. I have served as council vice chairperson several times and overseen the completion of the Florida Recreation Development Assistance Program grant project for Gene Clary Park. Responsibilities included planning for upgrades to Gene Clary Park that were feasible based on allocated funds and selecting vendors through the bid process.
Other education/experience: Associate of Arts in Physical Education;Associate of Science in Drafting and Design Technology. Employed as program technician with the USDA/Farm Service Agency, where my responsibilities include overseeing programs implemented by the USDA Farm Bill.Prior to my employment with the USDA/FSA, I worked as a planner at EJM Aerospace Services for six years.
Reason you seek this position: This is a tough question and maybe the standard answer shouldn't be "because I feel like I am the best person for the job." But why would anyone subject themselves or their family to the public scrutiny that comes from holding a public office?
I think I can make a difference.
The citizens and employees of the city deserve to be treated with dignity and respect and I intend to make this a priority. I will treat all citizens equally and approach all issues with an open mind. It's time to bring honesty and integrity back to the office of mayor.
Biggest issue this position faces and how you plan to address it: The city recently began a process to explore dissolving the city charter. With this process, the citizens should be given the opportunity to decide if they choose to continue as a city or if they will be better served as part of Okaloosa County.
As mayor, I want to make sure the citizens are well informed of all aspects of this decision. If the citizens choose to dissolve the city, I want to be their voice in negotiations with Okaloosa County.
However, if the citizens choose to stay a city, I will work with the new council in continuing to pass financially responsible budgets so that we may remain a city with the least amount of tax burden upon our citizens.
Personal: Married to Theresa Blizzard (Weaver) for 32 years. Three sons: Michael, 27; Justin, 23; and Josiah, 15. Resident of Laurel Hill since 1992.
Served as a security policeman in the United States Air Force and retired from Eglin A.F.B. in 1994. Employed as a corrections officer with the Walton County Department of Corrections, where he also serves as a field training officer. Politically conservative and a strong supporter of the U.S. Constitution.
Relevant experience:I initially served as a city council member in Laurel Hill in 1996, filling a vacant position. I was then elected to the office of mayor and served two terms, 1997-1999 and 1999-2001. I have experience in city government and the budgetary matters.
Other education/experience:I am a certified corrections officer in the state of Florida, I attended the Corrections Academy in 2005 at Santa Rosa Correctional Institution. I also have 32 credit hours of college.
Reason you seek this position: I am seeking the office of mayor because I want to see the city of Laurel Hill remain a city.
There has been some interest expressed in dissolving our city and I think it would be a travesty to allow this to happen. Laurel Hill has a rich history and can have a brilliant future.
Yes, we have budgetary problems, which must be addressed, but I believe we can find solutions to our problems if the mayor, city council and the citizens all work together.
Biggest issue this position faces and how you plan to address it: Our streets are in a deplorable condition but they did not get that way overnight.
It will take time to resolve this issue, but I think it is not an insurmountable problem. We will continue to seek grants to improve the roadways as well as try to work with Okaloosa County to seek a solution. With the gas tax money we receive each year, we can address this problem a little at a time.
The dissolution of the city will not result in the immediate paving of our streets.
Contact News Bulletin Staff Writer Brian Hughes at 850-682-6524 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @cnbBrian.