Election 2020: No Surprises in State Races
Voters in the Florida Panhandle joined their downstate neighbors to make their pick for president, Congress, and state and local government.
Republican Michelle Salzman is the new state representative from House District-1, garnering 65% of the vote over Democrat Franscine Mathis. Salzman said the key was defeating incumbent Mike Hill in the August GOP primary.
“I went into it with everybody telling me that I won and congratulations, that I was going to be the future representative,” Salzman said. “But, I didn’t take that for granted because I really want to try to represent all the people in the community – not just the people that are like my mindset.”
When she gets to Tallahassee next year, Salzman says she’ll undergo the same experiences that all freshmen lawmakers encounter.
“My main focus will be appropriations, trying to bring money back, and building relationships with [the Department of Transportation] and trying to get some of these state roads done a little bit better,” said Salzman. “I’m not really happy with how thing are rolling in that aspect. I’m looking forward to building those relationships and learning more about that.”
Over in the state Senate, Doug Broxson cruised to a second term, with 65% of the vote over challenger Karen Butler. Issue number one for the 2021 edition of the Legislature, he says, is the budget and whether or not Congress passes a stimulus bill.
“Because certainly, without a stimulus from Washington, we’ll have to go into our rainy day fund and our trust funds, to be able to balance the budget,” Broxson said. “Just to meet the needs for transportation, education, law enforcement, prisons. It’s going to be a real tight year – we know that. We’ve already been told by leadership not to expect any member projects.”
Broxson’s plate of local legislative issues is also full, beginning with education.
“We’re just going to have to continue to beef up educational options; take care of our brick-and-mortar schools,” said Broxson. “Make sure that these people that are falling through the cracks that they have a way that we can redeem them so they can be productive citizens. We still have way too many young people that are not graduating.”
Elsewhere, former Pensacola police chief Chip Simmons defeated another former Pensacola police chief, David Alexander, to become the next Escambia County sheriff. Simmons, a Republican, with 63% to succeed David Morgan, who decided not to seek a fourth term.