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REPUBLICAN REP. JAYER WILLIAMSON, HOUSE DISTRICT 3 Jayer Williamson was five or six years old when he decided he wanted to serve in the Florida House. He was on his way home from a trip to Tallahassee with his grandfather, former Santa Rosa County Commissioner W.L. Butler, who wanted his grandson to meet his representatives and understand the process. As the two drove home, Butler asked his grandson what he thought of their excursion. Decades later, Williamson remembers their conversation as clear as day. “I said, ‘I’m going to be a member of the Florida House’,” the now 38-year-old state representative recalls. “My grandfather said … ‘Why would you want to be a state representative? Is it because you get to meet all these cool people?’ And I said it was because I wanted to help people.” That’s a creed Williamson has tried to live by throughout his career in public service. In 2014, he was appointed by Gov. Rick Scott to the Santa Rosa County Commission District 1 seat after his father, Santa Rosa County Commissioner Jim Williamson, died. He was elected without opposition a few months later. While Williamson initially planned to run in 2018, a game of electoral dominoes in Northwest Florida gave him an opening sooner than expected. He easily won his election, and scored spots of several key House committees, including the Agriculture & Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee and the Transportation & Infrastructure Subcommittee. And Williamson has a passion for transportation, a trait that seems to have been passed down from one generation to the next. Williamson says, according to family tales, his grandfather would spend his Saturdays in the 1970s filling in potholes on county roads. The reason? He wanted to help his constituents. Williamson plans to do much of the same, just on a much larger scale. While he might not be out paving the potholes anytime soon, he does want to focus on transportation infrastructure during his time in office. The way he sees it, transportation is Florida’s lifeline. “I can’t think of anything better in government to me than roads. You can get out there and you can touch it, you can feel it. It’s your taxpayer dollars. And if it’s not good, it’s not good,” he says. “Roads are so important because if we’re going to spend money on tourism or hospitals or economic development or schools, what does any of that matter if we’re not going to have roads to get to those things?” SPRING 2017 INFLUENCE | 97

INFLUENCE Florida - Spring 2017 issue  
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