Tri-City Ledger -

By Gretchen McPherson
Ledger Staff 

Boutwell resigns; running for mayor

Century councilman steps down to run for mayor, leaving three council seats on ballot


June 11, 2020

Century area voters will see places to vote for three council seats and mayor on the ballot after Escambia County (Fla.) Supervisor of Elections David Stafford announced Monday that Councilman Ben Boutwell resigned from his council seat 3. Boutwell's term will not expire until 2022.

Council seats 1 and 2, held by council members Ann Brooks and Luis Gomez, Jr., are also on the ballot, as well as mayor.

The town's charter states that the existing council is responsible for filling the vacancy until a successor is elected. Qualifying is currently underway for anyone who wants to run for one of three council seats or mayor and candidates must qualify no later that 12 noon Friday, June 12.

Candidates can qualify at the Supervisor of Elections office in Pensacola during regular business hours, until qualifying closes at 12 noon on June 12.

"I had to resign my position to run for mayor," said Boutwell. "I sent my letter to David Stafford and to the Department of State, and to the governor's office effective immediately."

Boutwell said he got all the qualifications done to run for mayor and he is already campaigning, using social media, like Facebook.

"I started going door to door Tuesday, putting out signs and talking with people, getting their input and their ideas," said Boutwell. "I've got some good vibes on it."

The candidate says he feels the town has got a lot that needs to be accomplished that he cannot do sitting on the council, which prompted him to resign and run for mayor.

Boutwell says that at the top of his list is the town's infrastructure.

"That would be a huge priority right now," he said. "We've got some water wells that need to be taken care of. We are doing that now, but it is going to be a slow process. It has to be take care of."

Boutwell referred to the sewer and water for the town as major resources that are necessary for everyday life.

"We don't need to be down to one well," said Boutwell. "Because if it goes, we don't have potable water. We can't be close to that happening anymore. We've got to make sure the system is inspected and maintained, not wait until something breaks. We need to keep an eye on it every day. That's the heartbeat of our town."

Boutwell said he sees how important the infrastructure is, especially with the COVID-19 pandemic going on. He said the little things are most important right now in his opinion.

A native of Century, Boutwell's father worked for Gulf Power. Boutwell graduated in 1981 from Century High School and went to Jeff Davis Community College (now Coastal Alabama Community College), where he played baseball. He then went to Troy State University and afterward joined the U.S. Air Force. He retired with more than 20 years of service and worked as a Department Of Defense civilian with the Air Force for 10 years.

Boutwell retired and now coaches baseball at his alma mater, Coastal Alabama Community College. He also sits on the Community Action Board (CAB) in Pensacola, working with the Community Action Program. The program covers seven to nine counties in Northwest Florida, working through Headstart and other programs, such as weatherization for those with limited or no resources.

"We've got 70 days and we will see what happens," said Boutwell. "The community is what it is all about. As a mayor, they (the community members) are all your bosses. That's who you work for. You don't work for yourself. You've got to take care of your town, thats what it is all about."

The election is scheduled for Tuesday, August 18.


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