Santa Rosa County voters in less than a month will cast ballots for candidates seeking a variety of elected offices. In some cases, the candidate that receives the most votes during the primary will win the office. So, the importance of the Aug. 26 primary election cannot be overstated.
Navarre Press for the last five months has been asking candidates for County Commission District 4 and School Board District 3 a variety of questions and has shared their responses on our Eye on Government Page. You will find responses from school board candidates to a question about middle school athletics in this issue on Page 5A.
Seven candidates are vying for the District 4 commission seat with six of them appearing on the Republican primary ballot: Karen Aloy, James Broxson, Ruth Esser, Yvonne Harper, Andrea McDermott and Rob Williamson. The winner of the primary will face Libertarian party candidate Etta Lawlor in November general election.
Four candidates are seeking election to the school board representing District 3: Carol Boston, Debbie Gunnoe and Fuchsia Ann Spann and Jim Taylor. The current District 3 representative, Diane Coleman, chose not to seek relection.
So, while we have chosen to focus on races for candidates in the Navarre area, it is important to note that commissioners and school board candidates run countywide. In other words, ballots at Navarre area polling locations will also include candidates for County Commission District 2 and School Board District 1.
The commission race features two current county commissioners, Bob Cole, who represents District 2 and Jim Melvin, who represents District 4. Due to redistricting, Melvin was forced to run for election in District 2. He could not seek reelection for District 4. The winner between Cole and Melvin will face Independent candidate Wallis Mahute in November.
Santa Rosa County School Board District 1 representative Diane Scott is being challenged by Sandra Nicely, who entered the race on the final qualifying day.
How can you get up-to-speed on these races, as well as learn even more about candidates for County Commission District 4 and School Board District 3? Attend the Navarre Beach Area Chamber of Commerce Candidate’s Forum Aug. 4 and 5 at Holley-Navarre Middle School.
According to Chamber CEO Tony Alexander, District 4 commission candidates will take center stage Aug. 4. The commission candidates from District 2 and all school board candidates (Districts 2 and 3) will be featured Aug 5. The forum is scheduled to run 6 to 8 p.m. both evenings.
If you plan to attend, remember this is a candidate’s forum, not a debate. It is a structured question and answer session. Each candidate will be given an opportunity to provide opening and closing statements and will be asked to respond to a number of questions that were solicited from the chamber’s membership and the community. Questions will not be taken at the forum and those in attendance will not have an opportunity to ask questions during the event.
So, we’ve done our best to ask candidates the questions that we think are important to our community as a whole and have published their responses in the paper. Our annual Voter’s Guide will be included in our Aug. 14 issue, so that is yet another resource to help you sort through where candidates stand on important topics. However, we are all different. We have different interests and concerns, and maybe we didn’t ask your “burning question.”
So, now it’s your turn. Do everything you can to learn about the candidates. Many of them are “out and about” going door-to-door seeking votes. All county commission and school board candidates are expected to participate in the chamber’s candidate’s forum, and we are sure they will be happy to spend a few extra minutes after the event to answer questions that you may have for them.
Finally, once you have done research, get to your polling place and vote. And while you are at it, call your friends and family members and make sure that they are casting their ballots too. Don’t let Aug. 26 come and go without letting your voice be heard. We are reminded of what our friends at local chambers of commerce are saying, “No Vote, No Voice.”