The Escambia County Commission, District 1 primary race has two candidates trying for the seat. One is the commission’s current chairman, Wilson Robertson, who’s hoping for a swan song. The other is newcomer Jesse Casey, who hopes to inject some new energy into the county commission.
Both Robertson and Casey are Republicans. Whichever candidate wins the Aug. 14 primary, will go on to face Bobby Spencer, no party affiliation, in November.
The board’s current chairman, Wilson Robertson, has spent a good deal of time on the Escambia County Commission—serving in two different districts.
Now he’d like to spend a bit more time on the board. He’s hoping for another round in the District 1 seat.
“And have eight years like I did in District 5,” Robertson said.
The long-time commissioner wants to serve another term in order to finish up business the board is currently tending to. He said there’s still work to be done regarding the sportsplex and the Saufley Field Landfill.
“I want to finish a lot of things we have not got finished,” he said. “Four years, you can’t get everything done that you want to get done.”
One reason Robertson is looking to stick around is because he wants to be involved when fines related to the BP oil spill start coming in to the county. The commission will have a voice in how the money is spent.
“That’s a prime reason I want another term,” he said, “because of all this BP money coming in.”
Another reason the commission is seeking reelection is because he feels the body needs to retain his experience. Robertson noted that the commission is already losing two seasoned members in Kevin White and Marie Young, and he doesn’t think it can afford to lose another.
“We’re not set up to have three brand new commissioners at one time,” Robertson said, adding that the idea is resonating with constituents— “I spoke to a Rotary Club today out at Perdido Key and they thoroughly understood.”
If Robertson wins District 1 again, it will cap off his political career.
“This will be my last term,” Robertson said of his hoped-for next stint on the commission. “Sixteen years of county commission will be enough.”
He’s a general contractor. Never been a politician before.
“Up to about two and a half years ago I had zero political ambition to do anything,” said Jesse Casey.
Casey is aiming for the Escambia County Commission, District 1 seat. Having lived in the district since he was 4-years-old, he considers himself familiar with the area.
“That’s the only district I’ve ever lived in,” the candidate said.
If he’s successful in his bid for the commission seat, Casey plans to approach issues from the perspective of his constituents.
“Some of our elected people in office forget who works for who,” he said.
The candidate takes a keen interest in assuring the area has a thriving environment for business. He said he’s personally experienced the lack of such an environment in the area.
“I’ve had to go out of town and live out of a suitcase to make money,” Casey said. “You can go to Mobile and make more money than you can here. That’s always been the case and that shouldn’t be right.”
The candidate said that bringing business opportunities into the area will have an overall positive impact on Escambia County, and will be one of his areas of focus.
“If you do that you create a stronger community,” Casey said. “The community’s going to grow.”