Long-time South Walton Realtor David Kramer says he is tired of Walton County being north Walton and south Walton, and he wants to take that thinking away.
In a step in that direction, Kramer has pre-filed to run for the District 1 seat on the Walton County Board of County Commissioners.
"No other county is like this. I would like to slowly but surely take that thinking away. I'm about one Walton County, not two. Take the mental images away of a north Walton and a south Walton, and the contentiousness between groups in the county," he said.
However, that point of view does not necessarily mean he would be against South Walton incorporating as a city.
"I would not want to call it SoWal or South Walton, though. I would want it to called a new name," he said. "We would still be part of the county."
Kramer said it's not a matter of taking something away, but of education and taking pride in the whole county, not just parts, is what should be our calling.
"Bringing attention to the separation only feeds the conception that there are differences," he said. "We are one big and beautiful county with one tax base, one school system, one public works department, one planning commission, one code enforcement board, one county commission elected at large, and one people. Sure, there is a geography that can be used to demark and divide us on a map, but it's only a map and it should not exist in our hearts. It will take some time to rebrand us as the Walton County Beaches. They are the same beaches without the word 'south' thrown in the mix. I love and take pride in our cities, communities, rivers, forests, creeks, hills, and our rich heritage and history. But Rome was not built in a day. It will take time to undo the things that can and do pull us apart. We are less when we are divided."
Kramer said he was asked by people from all over the county to run and he sent out around 100 emails asking for opinions and for the most part got positive response from 85 percent.
"I'm running for the future of Walton County," he said. "There is currently a polarized atmosphere, and the current commission is not focused on the future but as it has always operated. I would like to see the county more proactive instead of reactive, and look towards the future and plan."
Kramer has lived and worked as a Realtor in South Walton for more than 30 years. He is owner and broker at Isle of View Realty on 30A. He said he has served on Code Enforcement since its inception and most recently on the Planning Commission appointed by District 4 Commissioner Sara Comander. He has been active in the community by serving on several boards and councils and with the Land Development Code.
Kramer listed his address as Virgo Street on his filing documents, which is located in District 5, instead of the district seat he is running for. He told The Sun the Virgo Street address is his campaign headquarters but he lives in District 1.
The Walton County Property Appraiser site lists the Virgo Street address as belonging to Kramer since 1991, and he homesteaded it, meaning he stated it is his full-time residence.
District 1 serves the communities of Alaqua, Bruce, Bunker, Choctaw, Fluffy Landing, Freeport, and Rock Hill, all communities north of the Bay, except for Point Washington.
"I own homes in three of the five districts, and I stay where I want. I live in District 1 or District 5 when I choose to. I am a county resident. It's a non issue to me," he said.
Supervisor of Elections Bobby Beasley agrees that it is not an issue at time of filing, but if Kramer were to win, at the time of swearing in, he would be required to live full time in the district he represents, which would mean giving up his homestead on the Santa Rosa Beach property, said Beasley.
Kramer said if he is elected, he will then live in District 1 full time.
Meanwhile, Kramer asks that if there is anyone interested in becoming an active citizen of Walton County to call or email him and share their political views and desires with him.
"Tell me what you want in someone who runs for office. I'd like to hear from you," he said.
Email Kramer at email@example.com, or call his office at 267-3464.