Winners & Losers 12/29/16
Will Mayor Ashton Hayward seek a third term? Depending on which poll you like, his popularity remains high, or it has begun to wane. Key supporters have told Inweekly that Hayward’s done and ready to move on to other things. Others can’t see him giving up the limelight. Escambia County Commissioner Grover Robinson and City Council President Brian Spencer have told supporters they will run for mayor regardless if Hayward gives it another go, but Hayward’s’ name on the ballot will give them pause to think. Of course, the mayor doesn’t have to tell anyone his decision until the June 2018 filing deadline.
On Jan. 1, Dr. Martha Saunders takes over as president of the University of West Florida. Over the past three years, she has served as UWF’s Chief Academic Officer and Vice President for the Division of Academic Affairs, as well as the Chief Operating Officer with oversight over all aspects of the university. This isn’t Saunders first rodeo for leading a university. She served as chancellor at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater from 2005 to 2007 and President of the University of Southern Mississippi from 2007 to 2012. We look forward to seeing the course she sets for UWF.
The Texas native knocked off one of his goals when he won the Florida House District 2 race. The former Southern Methodist University Student Body President and Executive Director of the Dallas GOP is part of the youngest Northwest Florida Legislative Delegation in the area’s history. White has traveled the state and gotten to know Florida House leaders. He received the committee assignments in health care and energy that he sought. His biggest challenge will be to fight for RESTORE dollars for Escambia and Santa Rosa counties while working up the House chain of command.
The new Emerald Coastkeeper brings a scientific and business background and passion for the environment to her role. She has taken on the mission of responding to citizen reports of pollution and adverse environmental impacts. Murphy has reported permit violations and held developers and the City of Pensacola and Escambia County governments accountable for protecting our watershed. She has championed the restoration of Carpenter Creek that city officials have long neglected and ignored. Murphy also reported several code violations regarding Mayor Hayward’s Government Street Stormwater Project. We expect more such vigilance from her in 2017.