Candidate, Santa Rosa County Commissioner, District 2

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is a questionnaire interview conducted by the Pensacola News Journal with the Escambia and Santa Rosa County election candidates for their respective races. All responses were submitted to the Pensacola News Journal by the candidate and are available to our readers to show the candidates’ position and priorities on the issues. Applicants were limited to 750 words. IF A CANDIDATE HAS NOT RETURNED A QUESTIONNAIRE BY THE DEADLINE, THEIR QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS WERE NOT PUBLISHED.

Candidate: Kerry Smith

Office you are looking for: County Commissioner of Santa Rosa District 2

Occupation: real estate agent

Education: AA degree from Pensacola Jr. College

Learn more about this race: Key piece of infrastructure in the four-way battle for the Santa Rosa District 2 Commission Headquarters

Why are you running for this office? I saw a gap within the BOCC regarding the development of Santa Rosa County. There is a need for county commissioners to listen to the needs and concerns of their constituents and stop paying more attention to developers. The BOCC continues to approve more and more developments without road competition in place. Most of SRC’s major thoroughfares already score D or worse and if there was road concurrency in place they would all be F. Road concurrency is what is needed to have a proper number of freeways when consideration of new developments in a given area. Without competition, not all approved developments are considered when new developments are proposed; therefore, the DOT (meaning the road is graded A to F-) rating of the road is never lowered until houses are built and occupied. When a new development is proposed, the arterial road may have a C- grade but in reality it is a D- or even worse an F.

What sets you apart from your opponents? I will never accept campaign donations from developers.

Previous experience of elective mandate / elective mandate: President of my Rotary Club.

What are your three most important priorities if you are elected or re-elected? 1. Road competition. 2. New Development Impact Fee. 3. Rewrite the land use planning code.

How would you implement Priority 1? Press to have the road concurrency added to the full plan. As one of the five, I would have to make this clear to two other members of council, but I would push for it to be on the agenda and I would continue to do so until it passed . This will be the measure that will make the expansion of the roadway THE priority.

How would you implement Priority 2? I’m confident I can garner the vote for this, but I’m the only candidate in the District 2 race who has proven to be a strong supporter of impact fees.

How would you implement Priority 3? Again, this will take the same amount of work and diligence as my first priority. These are not very popular with the construction/development sector, and will take persistence.

How will you address the growing infrastructure needs with the growth and development our community is experiencing? Without wasting too much of my word count allowance, refer to my top three priorities.

How will you work to promote civility among your colleagues and with the public, particularly when dealing with controversial or contentious issues? There is currently no division among the Santa Rosa BoCC as they all tend to vote in favor of poorly planned development in the county with very little conversation. However, there is a very controversial atmosphere when you include the public, and I think that is rightly so, as the current BoCC tends to put aside the desires of its constituents and focus more on the desires of its donors. It is necessary for board members to speak out at this time, otherwise the public will continue to raise their voices and disrupt meetings with outbursts and anger towards the BoCC. I’ve been in business for a while now and as a small business owner who has always dealt with the public, I believe I have the skills to make sense. There are a large number of citizens who believe that they are not being heard and that their ideas are falling on deaf ears. Although this is not entirely true, the perception is the reality.

What policy proposals do you have to increase the supply of affordable housing in our community? As a small Conservative government, I believe we can achieve this with limited government oversight and find a solution together with private enterprise. “If more government is the answer; that was a dumb question to begin with. -Ronald Reagan

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