League of Women Voters of Okaloosa and Walton Counties
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City of Fort Walton Beach2019 Fort Walton Beach Municipal Election


Five candidates are vying for the four open City Council seats in Fort Walton Beach. Diane Keller, who died last September, previously held one of those seats. John Holguin is completing her current term, which expires March 31. The 2019 candidates include incumbent Mike Holmes, along with Ryan Hartman, Nathan Kelley, Kirby Locklear and former Councilmember MG Moran.

Candidate responses to the League survey are listed below in alphabetical order. Links are provided to campaign websites, Facebook pages and the statements provided to the Supervisor of Elections, if applicable.

Fort Walton Beach residents must vote for four of these candidates. Use the quick links below to quickly navigate to the candidates so you can compare responses.

Hartman, Holmes, Kelley
Locklear, Moran
Fort Walton Beach City Council Candidates
  Ryan Hartman
Ryan Hartman
Facebook page
Mike Holmes
Mike Holmes
Nathan Kelley
Nathan Kelley
Candidate’s Statement

What do you see as the top issues affecting the City of Fort Walton Beach in the next two years?

The top issues that will affect Fort Walton Beach are rerouting of highway 98 “around the mound” and the downtown master plan. These projects will mean major traffic changes and inconveniences for a long period of time. However, they will also bring a whole new downtown for residents and visitors alike. If executed correctly, the potential to transform downtown Fort Walton into a true “walking” entertainment, dinning, and shopping area would be a wonderful benefit to our area.

In regards to the rerouting of highway 98 alternative routes must be explored and implemented. According to a recent study highway 98 received a “D” rating in reference to traffic speed, density, and other factors, especially during peak travel periods. You don’t have to live here very long to know the negative impact these traffic jams have to local business and pedestrian life in and around the downtown area.
First - The replacement of Brooks Bridge and connecting roads will create a opportunity to capitalize on higher government finances and resources to plan for the traffic in downtown FWB.  The decisions made in regard to the bridge and connecting roads will be affecting business and residents for many generations. We have a once in a lifetime opportunity to work with experts to help determine the best options for many issues that the replacement bridge will present. We have established a good relationship with all involved and we need to capitalize on the opportunity.  Second - The decision and direction made in reference to the current CRA and possible expansion area(which may include the industrial park) will dictate the type of business growth and infrastructure we want in our city. Careful planning and research will enable us to help guarantee the type of growth best suited for our city. Ensuring the 1/2 sales tax is spent as voters intended.  We need to establish a committee of citizens to vet each project that city staff presents, then it should be passed on to City Council for final approval. 

Why do you want to serve as a Fort Walton Beach City Council member, and why are you the best choice?

I wish to serve as a council member to be the voice of the people of Fort Walton Beach. I want to make sure that they are heard. With a lot of major, generation impacting plans coming to the council over the next several years the community, in my opinion, should be an integral part in the decision making process. I want to ensure that the small-town feel stays apart of Fort Walton Beach as our city moves into the future. I have lived in the FWB area all my life. I have raised 3 daughters and my wish is that they will want to someday make  FWB their home.  I know that safety, affordability and quality of place is a huge factor in determining your home and want to be part of creating than. My dad started a successful auto repair business  in FWB in 1958. Greg, my younger brother and myself manage the business today. My 87 year old dad is at the shop everyday from 8-5. I am willing to give back to the city my time and knowledge for exchange of the great things the city has given to the residents and myself. I have demonstrated that I can make the tough decision which may not always be the most popular choice, but is for the betterment of the majority of the citizens. FWB is headed in a positive direction and I want to make sure we continue that path. It is important to stay involved in our community, City Council is simply another way of serving.  I stay very involved with several volunteer boards and pay close attention to the direction we are going. 

If elected/re-elected, what is your top priority for your term?

As a councilman I want to promote new business in the downtown area, commerce and technology park, and Fort Walton Beach as a whole. I would like to see new and current companies revitalize old, aging structures and construct new facilities in strategic locations.

I would also make sure that the added revenue from the recent tax increase used to improve the equipment used by our fire and police departments, city workers, and our city parks.

Another enhancement I would work on is to expand the borders of the city by annexing in additional neighborhoods. By doing this we can improve the quality of life to more people in our area as well as empower more citizens to be involved in the great city of Fort Walton Beach.
Being in the auto repair and towing business , I have a special place in my heart for the police and fire departments. I know the importance in the services they provide. I have seen when the FWB police and FWB fire departments were the top departments in Northwest Florida. I have seen when they did not quite fill that spot. I will strive to make sure that both of those departments can always claim that title. All the FWB employees had exhibited the utmost professionalism and knowledge. Many of them are friends and I will strive to continue to make FWB a great place for them to work. All elected officials top priority should be to listen to the people.  I come with no agenda other than continuing to see our city move in a positive, forward direction.

What are your qualifications for office?

With several years of leadership, management, and customer service skills, I am well qualified to be a councilmember. I learned and honed my leadership skills in the U.S. Air Force, as an element leader in basic training and class leader in tech school and Airman Leadership School. I was an emergency department shift leader for four years, responsible for coordinating a 12-member medical care team, as well as other ancillary services. I was selected for a joint deployment as a combat medic attached to an Army combat sustainment unit, responsible for the care and wellbeing of an entire platoon both in-garrison and while deployed. I earned several awards and recognitions, including the US Army Achievement Medal, Air Force Good Conduct Medal and the Air Force Combat Action Medal. After discharge from the Air Force, I worked in a busy Fort Walton Beach medical office, using my management and customer service skills to ensure efficient operations. I performed hands-on patient care, managed electronic health records, scheduled appointments, obtained authorizations and interacted with multiple other specialties to make sure all aspects of patient medical and personal needs were met. I also communicated with and advocated for the patient to their insurance providers, medical equipment services and family members—to take care of all the patient’s needs, not just treat their condition.

I will apply all my skills to serve all of the residents, neighbors and friends of Fort Walton Beach.
I have previously served on the city council. I have extensive experience and knowledge of city government. I have served on more advisory boards and committees( government,private and religious )  than I can name here. I have been part of the successful day to day operation of the family business. I understand the government functions and budgets. I have demonstrated that I research issues so I make make a informed decision even if not favorable.   I understand that a city has to have a well balanced mix of business and resident. I have demonstrated that I will support the majority vote on issues even i I was not part of the majority.  I am thankful  of the quality of place that FWB has provided my family and myself.

With 12 years of employment in city government, from Sewer Technician to Public Works Director.  I will bring a fresh set of eyes to our infrastructure needs.  I am currently responsible for an $8,000,000 budget and each year the job gets done and money is placed in reserves.

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Fort Walton Beach City Council Candidates
  Kirby Locklear
Kirby Locklear
Facebook page
Candidate’s Statement
MG Moran
MG Moran
Candidate’s Statement
What do you see as the top issues affecting the City of Fort Walton Beach in the next two years? Without a doubt, the top two issues facing our city in the next two years are the Brooks Bridge replacement and the associated “Around the Mound” re-routing of Hwy 98. Once both projects are completed, our downtown landscape will be transformed. Positive Impacts on our families will be better flowing traffic in the peak months and a place where families can gather and stroll, to enjoy a festive street atmosphere. Even the increase in livable units will make downtown a place to live, work and play. Businesses will thrive because the expanded downtown district will be ripe for redevelopment. An important selling point for businesses to relocate, will be a vibrant community for their employees and their families to enjoy. But, an issue of concern to many is the lack parking downtown. My job will be to actively ensure we make the right decisions and to enable our city staff to implement those decisions to continue moving in the right direction.

But Fort Walton Beach is not all about downtown. We have eleven distinct neighborhoods, each with its own unique character and issues important to them. Crossing all boundaries will be infrastructure. Infrastructure maintenance and growth where necessary is critical to our families and businesses.
I see the next several years in the City of Fort Walton Beach as being very exciting, there are going to be a lot of changes taking place and having a proper plan or vision is going to be essential.  So, I would say that is one of the top issues, getting the master plans done for the downtown landing, the highway 98 realignment and the Commerce and Technology park.  With these plans in place all decisions can be related to moving forward and not duplicating work or doing work that will have to be redone, such as storm water, drainage, or other infrastructure.
Why do you want to serve as a Fort Walton Beach City Council member, and why are you the best choice? First let me tell you a little about myself. I am married to Mary Ann, and we have four grown children with eight grandchildren. All but two live in the Fort Walton Beach area.

Born in North Carolina into the Lumbee Tribe, I grew up in Baltimore and became active in my American Indian culture. My culture emphasizes community service. That love for my native culture and service defines a large part of who I am.

I attended the Air Force Academy, and my love of flying first brought me to Fort Walton Beach in 1980. As I matured as a USAF Officer and assumed ever increasing leadership roles, I returned to the area in 1992. After retirement I continued serving the military as a defense contractor.

My commitment to community service is reflected in activities I lead and participate in: Thunderbird Honor Guard; Thunderbird Intertribal Council; Fort Walton Beach Historical Structures and Sites Board; Okaloosa Emergency Operations Center Red Cross; disaster relief worker for the United Methodist Committee on Relief; Adult Sunday School Teacher and Church Lay Leader.

Telling my story summarizes why I am running, and why I am the best choice to serve on the City Council.

• Twenty-two years USAF leadership training and experience. Tested and proven under pressure. Led special operations aircrew in sometimes hostile environments.
• Civic Leader. Led successful volunteer group teams that contributed to the betterment of our city
• Believes in Service Before Self: my decisions will be based on this guiding principle
I want to serve as a Council Member because I love this city.  I want this city to be a place our kids and grandkids can be proud to call home, find good paying jobs and raise their families in.  I want it to be a place where all generations can have a place to be active and engaged, whether thru water activities, our recreation department or our parks.  I want this city to grow, but not to the exclusion of our residents.  I firmly believe we can grow and retain or improve the services to our residents.  I am not one to sit back and complain, I have always been taught, if you see something that needs to be done, do it.  I believe I am the best choice because of my 35 years in the construction industry, having served on the Local Planning Agency, the City Council, Fort Walton Beach’s Legislative Lobbying Team, League of Cities Legislative committee on economic growth, the West Florida Regional Planning Council,  the citizens police academy, attended Gulf Power’s Economic Symposiums, attended the Institute for Municipal Elected Officials and having served my church as a Deacon and Elder.
If elected, what is your top priority for your term? Instead of a single-minded purpose, my decisions will be based on three simple principles, with the acronym F.B.I.:

F - Family - Fort Walton Beach is already a great place to raise a family. Together, we can ensure that Fort Walton Beach continues to have the best public safety by providing the resources needed by our Police and Fire Departments. I also want to make certain that all Fort Walton Beach residents have equal access to the parks and recreation facilities.

B - Business – Let’s help Fort Walton Beach thrive by encouraging new business growth and development. A place to start is implementing the Fort Walton Beach Commerce and Technology Park Master Plan. By welcoming new businesses that create better paying jobs, our Industrial Park can reach its full potential.

I - Infrastructure - Proper infrastructure is fundamental to our community and city government. A well-functioning economy relies heavily on day-to-day maintenance of our roads. My focus will be on adequate drainage solutions and road maintenance. I will seek effective and efficient solutions to keep our infrastructure moving in the right direction.
My top priority has been and will always be the quality of life for the residents of Fort Walton Beach.  Our residents receive outstanding service and they should receive it and if elected, they will receive it.  All decisions I make will have that first in my mind.
What are your qualifications for office? As you read, I have spent my most of my life here. It is here, where Mary Ann and I raised our children; it is here, where I play with my grandchildren; it is here, where I plan to spend the rest of my life. I care deeply about my family and their future; and I care about my home, Fort Walton Beach and its future.

From my father, I learned, in order to live a full life… you need to live outside of one’s self. So, service to others has always been a guiding principle. From serving my country as an USAF officer; to serving my faith; to serving others in times of disaster; to serving the community I love.

In preparing to run, I asked myself three questions:

• Can I make a difference?
• Do I have the skill sets to make a difference?
• Will my friends and family support my campaign?

The answer was YES.

• I believe a concerned Fort Walton Beach citizen, educated with the issues, can make a profound impact. I am willing and able to tackle the challenges facing our city.
• My forty years of experience as a USAF Officer and volunteer leader has prepared me for the job of Councilmember. I know how to set goals and accomplish them as a team; and we citizens are the team.
• Finally, I have the support of my Wife and Family to fully commit myself to our City and the citizens of FWB can count on mine!
This question refers to question #2 so I will not repeat my qualifications, but rest assured, I will use my college education, work experience, service experience and city experience to do the best job I can do, and make this city people are proud to call home.

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