Florida Rep. Jayer Williamson is donating his April legislative salary to the Santa Rosa Kids' House, in what he says is an effort to give back to a struggling community during the coronavirus pandemic.


Williamson, R-Pace, told the News Journal on Tuesday that he'd be cutting a check for $2,500, about $100 more than his monthly take-home salary, to the Milton-based nonprofit.


His annual salary as a member of the Florida House of Representatives is $29,697.


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“The Santa Rosa Kids’ House is a nonprofit that I have been involved with pretty much since their existence, and they help with child abuse cases in Santa Rosa County. It’s actually Child Abuse Awareness Month, and so that’s what led me to choosing that charity,” Williamson said. “With everything else at a halt in society, they actually see an increase in child abuse in times like this.”


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Williamson is the latest local official to donate his public earnings to those in need during the coronavirus pandemic, which has devastated the economy and caused millions of people to be laid off across the country.


Last month, Pensacola Mayor Grover Robinson announced he was donating his $100,000 annual salary to the city's sanitation department and Pensacola Energy to help people who will have trouble paying bills because of the economic impact of the COVID-19 outbreak.


The Santa Rosa Kids' House has had to reschedule several of its important springtime fundraisers due to the pandemic, including the Norm Crowder Kids' Fest, the annual Easter egg hunt and the Cat Country 98.7 Spring Jam 2020 on Navarre Beach, which will now take place Oct. 11.


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Williamson said he would like to donate more in the future, and encouraged other local lawmakers who are financially able to give back to help their constituents during the time of economic uncertainty.


“I just felt like it was the right thing to do, considering my salary as a representative is paid for by the people that I represent, and so many of them are struggling to file for unemployment or losing their jobs,” Williamson said. “The more and more I thought about it, I just didn’t feel right taking that salary this month because it’s paid for by so many people that I represent.”


Annie Blanks can be reached at ablanks@pnj.com or 850-435-8632.