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Williamson Resigns From Santa Rosa Office Avoiding Election Law Violation

Santa Rosa County

   Jayer Williamson has resigned from the Santa Rosa County Board of Commissioners, effective immediately. The move, announced Thursday, was necessary to move ahead with his plans to run for State House of Representatives District 3, but came a bit earlier than anticipated.

Also, it leaves the county commission with just four members, pending the election or appointment of a replacement by Gov. Rick Scott.

Williamson had held the District 1 seat on the Santa Rosa County Commission since April 2014, himself appointed to the office by Gov. Scott following the death of his father Jim Williamson, the previous office-holder.

It was back in October that Williamson first revealed his plan to run for the state House of Representatives District 3, opting not to seek re-election to the county commission.

And, I’d known that I would have to resign to run, but I was under the impression that the resignation would take place the day after the general election,” Williamson said.

Williamson qualified for the house race Monday. His plan was to pretty-much finish out the remainder of his term on the county commission. But, in order to do so, Florida election law requires his resignation paperwork to have been submitted about two weeks ago.

“Since my oath of office runs six days past the election date in November, that resignation letter would be due 10 days before qualifying started, not the week of qualifying,” he said.

So missing that important timeline left Williamson with two options. One was to give up his bid for state House, which is says he considered. Secondly, he could give up his county commission seat immediately.

“It’s not the plan that I had,” said Williamson, acknowledging his disappointment. “I was looking forward to serving the last 4 months of my term, and it just didn’t work out that way. I’m a firm believer that God has a perfect plan and this was an oversight on my behalf and on my consultant’s behalf.”

Ultimately, Williamson took responsibility as the candidate, saying he thought the paperwork was due this week, “it was not, so I have to resign, unfortunately, immediately.”

Williamson says he’s now looking forward, although there were a few county projects in the works that he wanted to see through. In particular, he noted the special significance of a plan to improve Floridatown Park in Pace.

He says his grandfather W.L. Butler had initiated an improvement plan for the park when he was a member of the Board of Santa Rosa County Commissioners back in 1976.  At that time, he worked with former state representative Ed Fortune to give the park a little “TLC,” which he says it needs again.

Additionally, Williamson pointed to plans for a splash pad/water feature for kids at the recently renovated Benny Russell Park. He says he hopes his Santa Rosa County Commission District 1 replacement will take up the project. In the running for the office are Republicans Mark Cotton and Sam Parker, and Write-In Caleb Boudreaux.

In the August 30th primary, Williamson’s opponent in the race for House District 3 is Navarre Republican Jonathan Huston Walters, who qualified Thursday. Given that both are Republicans, and there are no other opponents, it will be a Universal Primary, open to all voters in the district.

Sandra Averhart has been News Director at WUWF since 1996. Her first job in broadcasting was with (then) Pensacola radio station WOWW107-FM, where she worked 11 years. Sandra, who is a native of Pensacola, earned her B.S. in Communication from Florida State University.