99¢ for the first month
99¢ for the first month

Three-way race set for District #5 commissioner

David Adlerstein
The Apalach Times
The Apalach Times

The race for county commissioner for District #5 won’t be determined until the Nov. 3 general election.

Incumbent William Massey, 60, this year is running without party affiliation in a bid for a third term. In 2012 he was first elected as a Democrat, and in 2016 he was returned to office without opposition.

He will square off in November against Republican challenger Madeline Nevarez, 54, of Carrabelle, and Jessica Varnes Ward, 41, of Eastpoint, who is running without party affiliation.

As it stands now Ward has raised the most money, collecting $3,100, while Nevarez has generated $2,000 and Massey $880.

District #5 stretches from Otter Slide Road in Eastpoint on the west, where it butts up against District #1, all the way east to First Street in Carrabelle, where it meets District #2.

As of now, District #5 encompasses 726 registered Democrats, 710 Republicans, 258 people without party affiliation and 36 registered with minor parties.

The deadline to register for the general election is Oct. 5. Early voting runs from Oct. 19 to 31.


My name is William Massey and I am seeking re-election as county commissioner for District #5. First, I would like to thank everyone for your trust and support for the past two terms. Being a lifelong resident of Carrabelle, I know most of the voters in my district and understand the problems we face. I am always available to you, the voters, and will always answer your calls.

In the past eight years, we together, have accomplished a lot. I have worked to have roads paved in my district such as Mill Road and others, helped Eastpoint get their first Christmas lights, park benches have been installed along Hwy. 98 in Eastpoint, and a kiddie park has been built at the fire station in Eastpoint. I have continuously worked to have the Eastpoint Channel dredged and work is to start at any time. I have worked continuously to keep Weems Medical East open and staffed so that medical care is available.

I’ve helped the fire victims in Eastpoint get new trailers to live in. I try to stay on top of having ditches cleaned and rights-of-way mowed. I’ve had boat ramps rebuilt in my district.

I voted to support more jobs coming into the county. I have worked hard to help each and every person requesting my help in getting their problem solved. I have been and will always be available to each and every one of you.

I love Franklin County with all my heart, and I will continue to help Franklin County and the people in my district to the best of my ability. When I vote on items brought before the commission, I make sure it is what is best for Franklin County as well as the voters in my district.

I would appreciate your support in giving me four more years to continue to help you and Franklin County. I will do the best job I can for the voters in my district.

Thank you for your trust and for your vote.


I’d like to introduce myself, my name is Madeline Nevarez and I’m running for Franklin County Commissioner District #5.

I’d like to tell you about myself. I am a mother of five, grandmother of five, a wife, entrepreneur, strong willed and determined individual who is always ready to lend a helping hand. Our family had visited Carrabelle annually over the past few decades, and my husband and I are proud to call Franklin County home since 2005.

As an entrepreneur, I started my first business in 1988 in Tennessee; with it being a success I was able to expand and invest in other businesses over the years. I sold that business in 2003 when I decided to move my family to Franklin County. In 2013, my husband and I, along with three close friends, started a company in Decatur, Alabama that involves detention services and supplies. This business is now in the Top 10 for companies in this category on the East Coast.

Being an entrepreneur, I have gained experience and knowledge financially to run a successful business. I see Franklin County as a business; I know I can run it as such with your help and your continued support. Our local government should be bringing in businesses that will employ residents for the long term and should be making money for profit for the residents of Franklin County.

As your county commissioner, I will work effortlessly for the people. I will make myself available to you when you need me. I will do my best to return calls and emails by the day’s end. I am running for this position to help our community grow, and I will do everything I can to help Franklin County succeed and prosper.

My top priorities as your county commissioner are to focus on transparency, accountability, ethics, and to create a healthy economic development for the people. An urgent care facility that our community is in dire need of will be my top priority when I am elected for the people. I plan to negotiate with Sacred Heart to achieve a facility for our community. The county cannot continue to invest millions of dollars into Weems because it is unable to support itself, therefor draining our economy.

My second priority is to obtain grants to fund and build a community center which is vital for our community’s future. A community center will provide resources for everyone to utilize, such as vocational and trade courses, swimming pool and other amenities. I intend to reach out to Gulf Coast Community College to expand education courses in our area for our students and future adults to have a better opportunity to attend a local college, rather than them trying to find the financial means to travel to a campus.

Other priorities include developing relations with a variety of diverse businesses so that moving forward we can have long-term jobs that will provide opportunities of retirement for the people. Affordable housing such as an apartment complex or condominiums would allow residents to have a home life that they can afford. Honestly, we all know there isn’t much available except for short-term weekly rentals.

There is so much more that I want to do for the betterment of our beautiful community; I know it can’t all be done immediately but I want to do everything I possibly can to see our community grow, succeed and prosper. In the end, without you, I wouldn’t have the job to best represent you, a county commissioner who works for the people!

I truly appreciate all of the support and encouragement I have received since committing to run for office. I know that because of your support, I will be successful in the position. I hope that I have your support in electing me as your District #5 county commissioner. To reach me, email

Thank you so much for this opportunity.

With Best Regards, Madeline Nevarez


Hi, my name is Jessica Varnes Ward, and I am seeking the office of county commissioner in District #5 for Franklin County.

I am the daughter of Bruce and Lois Varnes, and the late Amelia Varnes, of Apalachicola. I am 41 years old and have been married to Jim Ward for 16 years. I have been a resident of Franklin County for 23 years, having moved here when I was 11 years old. I graduated from Apalachicola High School in 1997. I moved away to attend college, obtaining an associate of science degree in respiratory care from Santa Fe College in Gainesville, and finished my internship at Shands at the University of Florida. Upon graduation from college, Franklin County called me back, and I have been here ever since.

I love Franklin County and feel it is time for a change. I want to be an active voice and advocate for District #5, and ALL of Franklin County citizens as your county commissioner. I am a leader, not a follower, and I feel that this is a trait, along with many others any elected official should possess. Public comments mean something to me, and your voice should be heard. It would be an honor to be your voice.

If elected, I will ensure well-informed decisions are made because these decisions affect our well-being, livelihood, and the future of our beloved county. I aim to be an active listener to my constituents, and be responsive to their concerns and questions, be impartial, utilize effective communication, and most importantly, be honest, and have the utmost integrity.

Some changes I would like to see are:

• Accountability

• Bring responsible economic growth

• Better job opportunities

• Opportunities for our youth

If you have any questions and would like to contact me, I can be reached at 850-323-0325 or feel free to email me at

I sincerely appreciate your support and vote on Nov. 3, 2020. Thank you!