Meet the candidates: James 'Jim' Wood Jr.
Jim Wood is a familiar face in the Destin government. He has served for the past eight years on the city council and now looks to serve the city in a new role, as Mayor.
“I want to make Destin a better place for everyone to responsibly live, work and play,” Wood said when asked his motivation for this campaign. “Responsibly is the important word here; We’re a nation of laws and I want people to follow the law. I don’t want to make up laws as we go. If you don’t like the law, change it and then live by it.”
Wood, a retired Army Lt. Colonel, has lived in Destin for the past 11 years with his wife Renee and daughter Megan. Besides serving on the city council, he has been active in the community, serving for the past 10 years on the Destin Area Chamber of Commerce board and volunteering each year to direct parking for the Destin Seafood Festival and the Mattie Kelly Festival of the Arts.
“Should Destin see fit to elect me as mayor, I will be the mayor who parks cars,” he joked, adding that he will continue to serve and volunteer if elected.
Wood also takes pride in serving as the chairman of the Transportation Planning Organization (TPO) for Okaloosa/Walton County and as vice chairman of the Northwest Florida Regional TPO.
“Transportation is what I really like, so I spend a lot of time working on it,” Wood said, adding that he also serves on the statewide transportation committee.
In his campaign for mayor, Wood said that he will not be making a long list of promises to Destin residents but instead focus on how to properly and effectively get things done.
“My campaign slogan is to provide transparent, common sense and responsible government; no fancy promises,” he said. “I deal with issues as they come up and based on facts and assumptions of each of those issues. Every issue we deal with on the council has a set of facts and assumptions that come along with that issue. If I promise to do something and a week later something comes up that changes my position and I become a flip-flopper. I do not want to be a flip-flopper.”
If elected, Wood said that he will use his eight years of council experience to both educate the public and better mitigate council meetings.
“I believe one of the most important things I can do is educate the public on how local government works,” he said. “If they want to take part or have issues, I can walk them through it.”
Wood also stressed that as mayor his role will mainly be to support the council, not to make decisions.
“Because of my experience on the council I know how government works, I know the rules, limitations and how they apply to the city,” he said. “On city council you have the vote, that’s the power in town and it’s the responsibility of the mayor to always support and carry out the will of the city council even if you don’t agree, and to serve as the ceremonial head of the government.”
Wood will be running against Scott Fischer for the Mayoral seat in the upcoming March 15 election.