A South Waltoner prefiles to run for County Commission

DEBORAH WHEELER 267-4555 | @WaltonSunDeb dwheeler@waltonsun.com
Richard Bryan brings the field up to four running for the District 1 seat.

Richard Bryan, who lives in the far-eastern tip of South Walton on North Wall Street, has pre-filed to run for the District 1 seat on the Walton County Board of County Commissioners, a seat currently held by Bill Chapman.

Bryan is the fourth person to pre-file to run for the District 1 seat. Chapman, who lives in the Freeport area, has filed to run to keep his seat, as well Freeport's Bill Fletcher and David Kramer.

Bryan feels there needs to be some diversity on the board and he can bring that as the voice of a conservationist.

"One thing that gets passed over time and again are our bodies of water and their well being," said Bryan. "They are a valuable resource, yet we have problems with them. They need to take care of them and protect them."

Bryan said he was looking for someone younger than himself to run who has his concerns, but everyone kept telling him that he should run.

"I am 71 now, and will be 72 when I take office," he says.

Bryan has lived in South Walton for 35 years.

He attended grad school at Virginia Commonwealth University and taught school as his first job out of college. He has also post graduate work under his belt.

Working as a motel manager for 10 years in Panama City, Bryan is retired from real estate and residential contracting. He now does volunteer work at Camp Helen State Park, is on the board of directors of Inlet Beach Water System, volunteers for the Lake Watch program at Lake Powell, is a community alliance founder, and is on the coastal dune lakes advisory board. He is a Florida master naturalist and a certified water inspector.

In addition to water, Bryan said other issues he sees are problems with traffic, infrastructure, bridges, and storm water, all of which he says are long overdue.

"I am also very concerned about District 1's unpaved roads and open ditches going into the river and Bay. Things need to be done," he said.

As for incorporation for South Walton, Bryan said he won't make a decision until "it's ripe."

"A great deal of revenue comes out of South Walton," he said. "As far as I see now I feel they are trying to protect themselves by talking incorporation."

Bryan is married, a father to three grown children, and grandfather to seven. His children attended Walton County schools, as do four of his grandchildren.

Bryan said he thought about running for a seat on the school board but felt there are things to be done on the County Commission, and "I had people encouraging me," he said.

In closing, Bryan said, "The main thing is leadership, growth and storm-water management."

Bryan is running as a non partisan.