Escambia County Pensacola

Fresh young faces seeking local and state offices

November 15, 2017

The number of young professionals seeking political office continues to grow, and more names are being mentioned. Rep. Frank White, who is seeking the Attorney General post, and Rep, Jayer Williamson, who has been promoted to vice chair of the House Government Accountability Committee, have inspired others to seek office in 2018.

Kendrick Doidge, Robert Bender, and Chris Phillips are the young faces running for Escambia County District 4 seat. OnBikes Pensacola co-founder Walker Wilson is running for the District 3 Escambia County School Board seat. Rebekah Bydlak and Alex Andrade are running for House District 1 and District 2 seats respectively. Attorney Megan Fry, a shareholder of Clark Partington, is another name being mentioned as a possible candidate for House District 2.

No one has filed for the Pensacola City Council seats. District 2 (Sherri Myers), District 4 (Larry Johnson) and District 6 (Brian Spencer) are up for re-election in 2018. Several young professionals are discussing seeking the council seats. Joe Vinson, who considered running against Johnson in 2014, might jump into the race this time.

More names will surface in December and January.

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  • Rich November 15, 2017 at 1:26 pm

    That’s funny that they voted themselves lifetime insurance. I’m a recently retired city employee the day I walked out the door family coverage for two people is $854 each payday. The city pays zero of this health insurance all these big pensions that council spoke about City employees getting pretty much are cut to next to nothing just to pay for health insurance. I knew I was going to have to pay it I’m not complaining about having to pay it but how the council blasted pensions then turn around increase their pay and give themselves lifetime benefit and a pension. Hypocrites

  • CJ Lewis November 15, 2017 at 11:15 am

    Yes, even District 4’s beloved pot-bellied pig “Buttercup” could beat Johnson. There were a couple of candidates that considered running for the District 4 seat last time around. One with whom I spoke decided to not get involved worried that Johnson’s opposition research effort would slime her family over their financial challenges. In March 2016, Johnson told me that there was a lot of support for him to run for mayor in 2018 so we’ll see what he does. When someone calculates council attendance records, Johnson will probably be the highest hourly paid council member. In 2016, he wanted to more than double the salary paid to councilmembers who hold few meetings that Johnson does not feel he is obligated to attend. Johnson spearheaded the effort to get rid of the citizens’ board that by law set the salaries of council members. Once that was done, the council then voted itself a 53% pay raise. They have also voted themselves lifetime state pensions. My Councilman P.C. Wu once said he deserved a pension because he had to pay for his own gas to drive to council meetings. Earlier this year, the council voted to give themselves lifetime health care benefits. Rarely has any group of elected officials given itself so much to do so little. If he shows up at all, Johnson habitually shows up late and vanishes early once saying he had to leave for a dinner date, Johnson having planned a dinner date the same night as a council meeting. Johnson has twice very publically said that he does not want to stay on the council and will not run if a “working mother” runs for his seat. An alternative I plan to raise with whomever is elected Council President is that the Council vote to adopt non-gerrymandered election district boundaries for use during the 2018 election. In 2011, that Council voted to racially gerrymandered the election districts. As a result, as intended, none of the city’s seven election districts has a majority of African-American voters. If the Council were to vote to use non-gerrymandered election district boundaries starting in 2018, Wu moves over to District 3, Terhaar moves over to District 4 and Johnson cannot run for reelection because Terhaar would be his Council member. The Council would in November 2018 appoint a District 1 councilmember to serve for two years. There is no dispute that the election district boundaries are gerrymandered. In fact, one councilmember once tried to justify the dirty deed to me saying that it had to be done because they did not want to have to represent the type of people who live in a specific neighborhood that was excluded from their district by using the gerrymandered districting plan. In 2011, both the city and the county’s elected officials hand-picked their voters, the city doing so in violation of the City Charter and the Voting Rights Act. Everyone has been told – the League of Women Voters, the NAACP, the ACLU and Movement for Change – and no one seems to care suggesting that perhaps it might also be time to switch to all at-large elections perhaps with five total elected officials in the city and the top vote getter elected as mayor.

  • Rich November 15, 2017 at 8:48 am

    Anyone should be able to beat Johnson, Hope someone runs