WALTON COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — Mike Barker (R) is running for the district three seat on the Walton County commissioners against Teddy Stewart (R).
Who is Mike Barker?
Barker is a Walton County native. He graduate Walton High School in 1979.
He worked for the Walton County Sheriff’s Office when he was 20 and eventually became a deputy sheriff. He then became the county’s first emergency management director.
While emergency management director, he implemented a 911 system in the county as well as readdress the county to run on a logical addressing system, and took the county through numerous hurricanes and floods.
He then went into business in real estate and retail in South Walton. He then went back to work with the Walton County PD, WCSO. Barker retired from the WCSO as a major.
He was on the Walton County planning commission for the past two years.
Why are you running?
Barker said a lot of people had asked him to run and he felt that his past experience serving Walton County qualified him to be a county commissioner. He said there were some tings in the county that he wanted to change and that the people needed someone to talk with about their needs and execute them.
What are you top three priorities?
- Managing economic development.
- Addressing septic services throughout the county, especially around the Bay.
- Diversifying the economy while controlling the development.
How will you balance economic development, environmental preservation and population growth?
Barker said there needs to be more mobility in South Walton and move development more north into Walton County. He said “managed development” means sticking to the county’s building codes.
What are you thoughts on the Confederate flag and monument in DeFuniak Springs?
Barker said that it was already voted on and you can’t go against a vote of the residents of the county.
He said the important thing is the education about what the Confederacy was and means to our children in the future.
He added that the non-binding vote could continue to put moving it every two years or so and could cost the county a lot of money if politics change.
He added that a better time to discuss the decision of whether or not to move it would be when tensions in the nation are lower.
What are your thoughts on a mandatory mask mandate?
Barker said he and his family choose to wear a mask to keep themselves and others safe, but a mandatory mask mandate would not be enforceable. He also said the government can’t just do nothing; that it should be the government’s responsibility to give recommendations to wear a mask and reduce the spread.
He added that individuals need to take responsibility for the safety of themselves and others.
“I’ve run my candidacy based on my qualifications for the job,” Barker said.