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Gormley takes on Lockley for District #3 commissioner

David Adlerstein
dadlerstein@starfl.com
The Apalach Times

Apalachicola’s District 3 county commission race, to be decided in November, poses a contrast between the two candidates.

The incumbent, Democrat Noah Lockley, Jr., 69, has held the seat for 16 years, his age, race and party affiliation all in keeping with the middle-aged Black Democrats who have occupied the seat ever since it was created in the 1980s, along with the four other county commission districts, in keeping with a federal judge’s court order.

His challenger, Brett Philip Gormley, 41, is a newcomer to politics, and he’s running without party affiliation. If elected, he would be the youngest person to hold that commission seat, and the first white man.

Lockley, the commission chairman, has raised a little more than $200 for his campaign, while Gormley has $1,200 in his campaign coffers.

The district includes everyone who lives within the city limits of Apalachicola, with the exception of those who live on the southeast side of U.S. 98, from Water Street west to 25th Avenue.

Its 1,456 registered voters comprise 833 Democrats, 239 Republicans, and 145 others who are either members of a small party or without any party affiliation.

In terms of race, 912, or 63 percent, of the district’s voters are white, while 506, or about 35 percent, are Black. Another 1 percent, or 14 voters, are Hispanic, and the remaining 2 percent unclassified by race.

Among the Democrats, there are slightly more Black males than there are white males, 205 to 176, while there are nearly an identical number of Black females as there are white females, 276.

Among the Republicans, all but four are white, and they are split equally between male and female.

Fully half the district’s voters are over the age of 55, and fewer than one-third of the others are under age 40.

To take part in the Nov. 3 general election, you must be registered to vote by Oct. 5. Early voting runs from 0ct 19 to 31.

BRETT GORMLEY

To the residents of District 3,

My name is Brett Gormley. I am running for Franklin County Commission District 3. I guess I would call myself the “none of the above candidate.”

About me

I grew up and went to school in Franklin County. I'm the son of a US Navy diver. My mom Beverly Ryan and sister Angela all grew up in the county. My son Logan is 7 years old and attends Franklin County Schools.

I have a lineage that goes back five generations in Franklin County. I'm a chef and was a restaurateur in Franklin County for years. I've been on local and national TV programs all demonstrating my skills as a chef and showcasing what our community has to offer. I've been involved with logistics and business oversight for my restaurant and others.

Franklin County, our home has incredible waterways, unspoiled beaches, pristine wilderness and is a vacation mecca to people from all over the country.

But there's another side of Franklin County. Poverty, homelessness, unemployment, teen pregnancy, methamphetamines. A bay once worked by over 400 oystermen down to just a handful. No anchor employer except the jail and the school system.

Franklin County has all the tools it needs to make it prosper. We just need someone to use them. My opponent has had eight years to fix this and is running for four more. At times like this, you need to ask yourself. Am I better off now than I was four years ago?

Five generations of my family in this county and we have a heritage. A heritage we share with many others. It’s my job, if elected, to protect our heritage and move forward towards prosperity.

Jobs

Right now, there are many of my friends and neighbors who once worked the bay out of work or in other low-paying jobs. They don’t have the resources like big oyster farming companies. My opponent voted yes to close the bay to oystering for five years. My idea, if elected, is to work towards a Franklin County Oyster Cooperative. A farm that all our oystermen will have a piece of, at little or no expense, with the possibility of state and federal grants. (I want to put Apalachicola oysters back on the map and put my neighbors back to work!)

In the future I want to work towards never again relying on one industry to feed the community. I want to utilize our airport to bring jobs and industry, a trade school in cooperation with our school district. Something similar to the Haney Center in Panama with job training in all fields, from automotive, construction, aviation, cosmetology etc. Maybe then we could lure an anchor employer to our county, to tap into our newly trained workforce.

What troubles me most is the number of Franklin County year-round residents with no jobs or minimum wage careers. The only ticket to success for young families in Franklin County is to leave. There has to be a better way!

Seniors

These are the people that helped build our county and they shouldn’t feel forgotten or left behind. (I will do all I can to help seniors!)

Our African American community

I've worked closely with groups on the Hill with my time and effort.

The African American community has always been the backbone of Franklin County and they should receive their fair share of grants, county services and assets. They should get the respect they deserve, especially when it comes to keeping their community clean and safe. They should have their voice heard locally and at the county level. If elected, I want to form a citizens committee on the Hill with residents to address all their concerns within the district.

Accessibility

I am not a politician and I have no party affiliation. (NPA) I'm not running for the Democrats or the Republicans. I'm running for all the folks in District #3 and Franklin County. I will be accessible. Call, text or email me and I will return your call and try my best to resolve any and all issues.

Closing

I see beauty and promise in our county. I welcome our new residents and tourists. But I also see problems.

If elected, I want to do everything in my power to create jobs, help our seniors and stop the floodgate of our children and grandchildren from leaving the county. All while maintaining our rural quality of life.

Honesty, accessibility and integrity for all the people of my district and the county. May I have your vote this November?

Brett Gormley for Commissioner District 3

NOAH LOCKLEY

Hello District #3 and Franklin County

To the people who know me and others who don’t, my name is Noah Lockley. I have been married to Georgia Ann Lockley for 51 years, and we have five children, Raymond, who is deceased; Jeff “Bunjo,’” Gabriel, LaTrina and Belinda. It is my honor, and privilege, to have served you for the past 16 years, as your representative of District #3.

I believe that work that I have done speaks for me. I voted to keep taxes down and to keep the hospital open, which employs about 80 to 100 people. I supported paving roads in all districts. I am available always to talk with people who live anywhere in the county about the issues, I voted to get the Armory fixed and for Olan “Buddy” Ward Park on Highway 98 and for boat ramps. I have voted for improvements at the airport, on St. George Island, Carrabelle, Lanark Village, Alligator Point and St. Vincent Island,

I also voted to improve all the baseball fields in the county, and I was in favor of the Apalachicola and Eastpoint channels to be dredged. The Eastpoint Channel will get dredged first and then Apalachicola Channel will get done,

I will continue to listen and remember I work for the people. I would like to continue being your commissioner for District #3.

Thank you and God bless you.