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Myers joins Pensacola mayor's race

City of Pensacola

Add another candidate to Pensacola’s mayor race, who is a familiar face in city government.

“I feel like if I’m not in the race, this race most likely will not be about issues; and it should be about issues,” said City Councilwoman Sherri Myers, who was elected to the council in 2010 to represent District 2.

There are, she says, many issues near and dear to the city.

“Affordable housing, rising utility rates, gas prices, climate change, the need to improve infrastructure,” Myers said. “However, I do believe that the most important issue is the form of government we have.”

The strong mayor format passed through a change in the city charter in 2009. Under it, Myers is term-limited. She contends strong mayor governments in Florida and few, far between, and impractical.

“Out of the many cities, 25,000 to 100,000 population, only three have the form of government that we have, Myers said. “And that concerns me that we do not have a balance of power in this city.”

Currently, the Charter Review Commission is conducting its scheduled revisit, to see if any changes are merited going forward. The report is scheduled to be issued around mid-June. Myers is calling for a return to manager-council.

“We have a very weak city council — I‘m in my 12th year so I know how weak it is. It doesn’t have to be, but I don’t think the council has the knowledge or expertise to assert the kind of power the council could have,” Myers said.

Elsewhere, city growth is another issue that Myers says will play a major role in the campaign, using her own District 2 as an example.

“All of these struggling strip malls with just acres and acres of asphalt, what a great opportunity to build affordable housing,” she said. “In areas of the city where people actually would not need transportation. But if they do, they actually would have good bus service.”

As mentioned, Myers has been on the council since 2010. She was asked why she hasn’t considered a run for the city’s chief executive job before now. One reason she says was her support for Grover Robinson in the 2018 race.

“I thought he would do a good job, coming from the [Escambia County Commission]. He knows a lot about government,” Myers said. “I just didn’t feel it was necessary or the right time for me. But now that I’m term-limited out, I feel that I can do this.”

As far as her support for the outgoing mayor — Robinson is not seeking a second term — that was then, this is now.

“I have been very disappointed in Grover Robinson; he as not addressed any of the issues for the north end of the city that he said he would address when he ran for mayor,” Myers said. “What we need is a mayor that keeps promises, and gets the big picture of where we need to be, and have a strategic plan for it.”

Pensacola's mayor and city council are non-partisan offices. But Myers has no problem with foregoing any party labels.

“I don’t consider myself a Democrat or a Republican. I consider myself Non-Party Affiliated [and] a fiscal conservative,” she said. “But strong on civil liberties and civil rights.”

Sherri Myers joins five others in seeking the mayor’s chair: former city council member Jewel Cannada-Wynn; James Hilburn, Timothy Horton, D.C. Reeves, and Stephen Sharp.