Editor's Note: The Santa Rosa Press Gazette will feature Milton City Council candidates running in the Nov. 8 election. We continue this multi-part series with Margaret "Peggi" Smith, who faces incumbent Jimmy Messick for Seat 2 in Ward 1.
Tell us about yourself.
"I came to Northwest Florida because my Dad was the commodore of TRA WING 5 at NAS Whiting Field.
“I have a degree in healthcare and food service. I interned at West Florida Hospital and was then employed by the hospital. I later became the food service director for Santa Rosa Hospital and eventually opened my catering business in Downtown Milton.
“I am a charter board member for the Santa Rosa Arts & Culture Foundation as well as Main Street Milton. Other volunteer work includes board member and officer for the Blackwater Heritage Trail, Santa Rosa Farmers Market, Santa Rosa Historical Society and the Santa Rosa Republican Party."
Why did you decide to run for Milton City Council?
"For over 25 years, I have invested my time, talents and money in Milton. I was promised growth and positive change under the former mayor's reign. He never delivered because his focus only benefited a few. The corruption in Milton has to stop!
“Accountants, like my opponent, know how to make things look good on paper. It's time for the city council to stop making things look good to the citizens and start making things good for all citizens. The various land deals involving council members, to benefit themselves and their family members, has to stop! The citizens have a right to know all aspects of how the council is managing their money.
“Priority in spending is the key. Why are they assessing the citizens more money in taxes while they continue to spend and give away the taxpayer's money?"
If elected, what would you like to see accomplished?
"I will work to change the way the city governs. The city has an obligation to treat all citizens fairly. The divisive, vicious and destructive tactics that have been used in this election, as well as by the city for over 40 years against its citizens, has to stop!
“Citizens question why there haven't been big changes in Milton since they voted for Mayor Wesley Meiss. The answer is simple: With the exception of Councilman (Alan) Lowery, the current council members are supporters of Guy Thompson. The current council has been in conflict with Mayor Meiss.
“My opponent has been disrespectful and antagonistic to Mayor Meiss. Our mayor needs your help again with a council that will continue his positive changes for Milton. I will work with Mayor Meiss, Santa Rosa County and state representatives for a better Milton!
“Our citizens are struggling and we cannot continue to lose businesses and job growth to surrounding areas. Milton's reputation for being unfriendly to businesses has to stop! I know how to apply a ‘help, not hinder’ approach to business. We have investors waiting for the city council to change before they continue to invest. We can make this happen, but the citizens must vote for the new candidates!
“I will take a positive approach to uplift Milton and its citizens for the benefit of the entire community. I have the time and energy to work for the citizens and the investors. I am asking for your vote and I will put Milton first!"