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Stokes asking for re-election to seat

Escambia County (Ala.) Commissioner David Stokes said he’s seen a lot of positive development in the county during his 23 years on the commission and it’s continuing that progress that prompted him to announce he will seek re-election in the June 3 Democratic Primary for commission District 1.

“Being able to be in a position to make the county better has long been an inspiration,” Stokes said “I feel like we have had a positive impact.”

Stokes, 56, is a graduate of T.R. Miller High School in Brewton and received his bachelor’s degree in finance and insurance from the University of Alabama in 1980. He returned to Brewton in 1981 and began his career at Brewton Insurance Agency, where he remains today.

Stokes is currently serving his sixth four-year term on the board after first taking office in January 1991. He has also served as chairman of the county commission for the past eight years.

He said the two major changes were the development of the county’s personnel system and the switch to the unit system in the highway department that has made county government more efficient.

“We didn’t have a personnel system when I was first elected,” he said. “Hiring was basically politically done. Now it’s properly done through a personnel system where department heads choose from the best three applicants. We have no involvement.”

The county also made the switch from the district system to the unit system in the highway department.

“This allowed the more capable county engineers to distribute the funding across the entire county based on need,” Stokes said. “Both of these changes have allowed us to hire more qualified and capable employees, which has allowed us to be able to get more done with less employees, thus saving tax dollars.”

“Being able to work with department heads and other elected officials to hire more quality and capable employees made this all possible,” Stokes added.

Stokes said the commission continues to study new ideas to better improve services while not putting the burden on the backs of the taxpayers.

“The first thing we consider is how it can be made self sufficient,” Stokes said.

He said things like the federal inmate program at the detention center and community corrections are two good examples.

“Those programs are self sufficient because the people using them are paying for it,” he said. “The ECATS program is not completely self sufficient, but it is as much as we can expect.”

Stokes also said recent action by the county commission to have Franklin Cemetery moved from Georgia Pacific is another example of the commission working to help the entire county.

“It was a win, win situation for both sides – the family members of people buried there and Georgia Pacific,” Stokes said. “Hopefully this enhances G.P.’s opportunity to upgrade its energy production so they’ll be here for years to come.”

“I’m proud of the things we’ve accomplished,” Stokes said. “But the job is never done when you continue to look for innovative ways to increase services and cut expenses.”

Stokes and his wife Debbie, who is a teacher at Brewton Elementary School, have been married for 32 years and have three children, David, 27, and his wife, Courtney, Elizabeth Anne, 22, and Rob, 18.