Barry Seeks Re-Election To Escambia County Commission District-5
In part two of our look at the Escambia County Commission District-5 race, WUWF’s Dave Dunwoody sat down with incumbent Steven Barry.
Barry ran his first winning race four years ago, when he was elected with 70 percent of the vote. He says running as an incumbent this time around is considerably different.
“The biggest difference [is] the managing of the responsibility that I currently have while auditioning for another opportunity for that job,” said Barry.
Among the high points in Barry’s first term on the Commission has been working through partnerships with government agencies and local non-profits. As he completes his first term, he says the position of county commissioner has been what he had envisioned.
“You’ve really got an opportunity to do a lot of good on a daily basis to impact the people, the community, [and] the area that you really care about,” Barry says. “I was still a little surprised by the length of time to complete some projects and some processes. When they say the wheels of government turn slow, they turn very, very, very slow.”
District-5, says Barry, appears to be shaping up to have two different areas the next four years. Those include major infrastructure projects in the southern end of the district.
“We’ve got the four-laning of Nine Mile Road from Highway 29 all the way west to Beulah Road through the southern border and really the commercial heart of District-5 and Escambia County – at least north of the [Pensacola] city limits,” says Barry. “Highway 29 is going to be six-laned from I-10 all the way north through Nine 1/2 Mile Road.”
In the northern end, Barry is targeting what he calls “intangible value” in the quality of residents’ lives there.
“We’ve worked hard in the north end the first few years with enhancing some of the community centers and bringing some additional value to the assets the people already own,” Barry says. “Maybe if they have somewhere to go and walk, have a gazebo to have a picnic, or what have you.”
Steven Barry and his wife are new parents – their daughter was born last October. He was asked if becoming a father changed his outlook as an elected official. He says it has solidified what he had already thought.
“The notion that your local government is your government that’s going to serve, you knew that,” says Barry. “But now, you see the folks at Publix, you see them with your little girl in your hands. I want [daughter] Sloane to know that people recognize that her father was a county commissioner [and] they think I was a good public servant.”
There will be no campaigning until November for Commissioner Steven Barry. The District-5 race is universal, with Barry and fellow Republican Danny Smillie the lone candidates. Tuesday’s primary – for them -- will be winner take all.