As election seasons kicks-off in Walton County, four candidates are vying for the title of County Commissioner, District 2 and the polls are open. The candidates are Sandy Jack Brown, Danny Glidewell, Cecilia Jones and Kenneth Pridgen. All candidates in this race are Republican and therefore the decision will be made in the primaries Aug. 26.
The Sun asked each candidate a series of questions regarding their bid in this election.
Why are you running for County Commissioner, District 2?
Brown: I will strive to improve the standard of living for the common citizens of Walton County through better management of county government.
Glidewell: I have been involved in public service most of my life and believe my experience in both county government and numerous civic and non-profit organizations gives me insight into what the problems are and how we can solve them.
Jones: I'm running because Walton County residents deserve an active, focused commissioner who will work to strengthen the economy by lowering taxes, creating jobs, and cutting unnecessary spending — and a commissioner who will fight to improve the basic services (such as road repairs and storm water management), that we are already paying for. I see too many people — individuals and small business owners — struggling, and county government is too often creating problems, not solutions. Walton County residents also deserve a commissioner who is independent and fair, treats all residents with respect, and who helps restore common sense and professionalism to the commission. I will do that.
Pridgen: The past few years have been an exciting period of growth for Walton County. In the most recent report by the Department of Labor, Walton County had the lowest unemployment rate of any county in Florida. We are seeing both benefits and challenges from this growth. Stormwater issues, keeping a high quality of life for our residents, and maintaining our County's infrastructure at a level that can handle this growth are issues we must address. I enjoy working with our residents and other Commissioners to find the solutions to our challenges.
What is the biggest issue facing the county and what is the solution?
Brown: This is a two-fold question. The two biggest issues in the South end of the county are parking and stormwater. In the North end, I think its jobs. There is not an immediate solution to any of these issues, but we have to starting working on them now.
Glidewell: Establishing fairness to all citizens in the operation of county government. We must treat each citizen equally and ensure that each citizen gets a “fair shake” when dealing with the government. We must also treat our employees with the same level of fairness. Every other issue confronting the county will improve if we improve in this area.
Jones: The biggest issue facing Walton County is the need to strengthen our economy for the next decade. This impacts our wallets, our quality of life, our property values, job prospects for our children and grandchildren, and the basic services our county can offer residents. I am the only candidate who has presented a comprehensive economic plan to improve our economic standing by lowering the tax burden, reducing government spending, and incentivizing the creation of new jobs outside of tourism.
Pridgen: Jobs have been the biggest issue. We want to keep Walton County’s economy going strong so the children in our County have the option to stay here to raise their families if they choose.
What makes you a stronger candidate than the others running?
Brown: The management skills that I have developed through 25 years of experience and my experience in stormwater management makes me a strong candidate. I am also certified in the state of Tennessee in Stormwater Management.
Glidewell: I am the only candidate in the race that has experience on the management side of country government. I also have been involved in public service for the last 30 years including managing the county fair, the teacher’s credit union, a charter school, churches and several youth sports. These efforts give me a wealth of knowledge about the entire county.
Jones: I have visited thousands of residents at their doorsteps, and they want a fiscally conservative commissioner who stands firm against the rising tide of big government in our county. I am the only candidate who has worked diligently to lower taxes and specifically to cut government waste. I am the only candidate who is clearly focused on the issues we care about: reducing taxes and creating new jobs. I am the only candidate with a thoughtful and detailed plan to strengthen the economy.
Pridgen: Experience as both a commissioner and a small businessman. During my time as a commissioner, I have had a policy to be available when needed. I believe my strength has been the ability to work well with the residents of Walton County, other commissioners, and state and federal officials to navigate through the changes we have faced.
If elected Commissioner, what would be your focus?
Brown: If elected I will try to bring back confidence and respect in county government. These people need to believe that their leaders can and will always acts in the best interests of the people of Walton County.
Glidewell: To bring high quality economic development to the entire county. This will require improvements in infrastructure from roads to broadband access and healthcare to water and sewer. Such development also requires the lowest possible taxes, less regulation and fair and impartial treatment of business when they deal with the commission. We must also begin to solve problems such as storm water retention instead of kicking them down the road.
Jones: If elected, my focus will be to pass my comprehensive economic plan, which will reduce taxes, create new and better jobs, cut regulations that are hurting ordinary citizens and small businesses, and improve basic services. It is essential to have a commissioner who will focus on these core areas and actively work to implement a positive vision for the future, and I will do that.
Pridgen: A high quality of living sets Walton County apart and we need to work to maintain it. We’ve already discussed jobs, so I would have to say the other components of this are finding solutions to our County’s stormwater issues, making necessary infrastructure improvements (especially those that make our busy roads and intersections safer), and improving recreational facilities.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Brown: I am a strong advocate of Term Limits. I have never worked for the county. None of my family works for the county. I am the only one in this race that can say this. I believe that we need more accountability in county government. I do not have the financial support of any special interest group.
Glidewell: Elected officials are servants of the citizens, not their dictators. If I am elected I will do my best to see that every citizen is treated fairly and that government works to help all of its citizens.
Jones: As a mother, a grandmother, as a public school teacher in Walton County for 35 years, and as a former commissioner, it would be a great honor to represent all Walton County residents once again. If you'd like more information about my economic plan or my views on other issues, please visit www.ElectCeciliaJones.com.
Pridgen: I would like to thank everyone who has come to me expressing their support during this campaign. We have great people in Walton County. If re-elected, I will continue the fight to keep Walton County moving forward.
For more information about primary elections, visit www.votewalton.com.