Broxson criticizes water utility endorsements

Doug Broxson has been phoning members of the Holley-Navarre Water System board to express concerns over their plan to endorse a candidate for the Northwest Florida Senate seat he is seeking.

Broxson, the Republican state representative for Santa Rosa and northern Okaloosa counties, told the Navarre Press he objects to appearing for an interview before the not-for-profit utility’s board -which his opponent, State Rep. Mike Hill of Pensacola, did earlier this month.

“It is my position that as a sitting state representative who has requested state funding for Holley-Navarre Water System in the past, and who may request funding again in the future, it would be inappropriate to petition them for their public endorsement,” Broxson said in an email response to the Navarre Press.

Hill and Broxson are running for the state senate seat being vacated by Greg Evers, who is running for the U.S. House of Representatives slot held by soon-to-retire U.S. Rep. Jeff Miller.

This is the first time that the utility has considered making endorsements, and some on its seven-member volunteer board aren’t very enthusiastic about the idea.

“It has sort of taken on a life of its own,” said Daryl Lynchard, a board member who is the panel’s past president. He told a reporter that there’s a committee organizing the interviews. But Lynchard isn’t part of that group and he isn’t sure who is.

At the board’s  Tuesday night meeting, HNWS tabled the idea of endorsing candidates for the Primary Election.

Politically passionate

Calkins is among those supporting the endorsement effort. “I think it’s important for us to have a voice in the community. We have about 14,000 customers, and there’s a responsibility there,” said Calkins, who owns VIP Beach Services LLC, a Navarre Beach company that rents umbrellas and other gear.

He told a reporter that Broxson’s phone calls to board members are viewed as unwelcome interference and have  “ticked off” some.

But Lynchard said Broxson’s call to him was  “not threatening in any way. He expressed his concern about what an endorsement might mean down the road.”

Hill said he sees no possible conflicts of interest in accepting the utility board’s endorsement, if it comes:  “No more so than in receiving an endorsement from any other organization where a legislator might later have to vote on an issue that affects them.”

Further, Hill said that Broxson’s phone calls to Holley-Navarre Water board members objecting to their endorsement plans  “were completely inappropriate.”

Broxson and Hill will face off in the Republican primary on Aug. 30. That will decide their senate race because there isn’t a Democrat running.

Read the full article in the Aug. 18 issue of Navarre Press. Click HERE to subscribe for as little as $38 per year.

Rep. Doug Broxson (R-Gulf Breeze)

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