Escambia County Commissioner Grover Robinson announced this morning that he would not seek a fourth term in the office when his current term expires in 2018.
The seventh-generation Pensacolian was first elected as Escambia County’s District 4 Commissioner in 2006, defeating incumbent Tom Banjanin. A Republican, Robinson was most recently reelected in 2014, winning 70% of the vote and defeating Democratic challenger Mike Lowery by nearly 10,000 votes.
Robinson said that he made the announcement Wednesday “in hopes of providing sufficient time to everyone in the district so good people can plan now if they wish to run in two years.”
Robinson proud of legacy
In a prepared statement, Robinson thanked his supporters, his family, and Escambia County’s employees before touching on the highlights of his ten years in office.
“First, we need to go back to 2006 and remember what Escambia County government was like,” Robinson said. “The County was just coming off the heels of the Sunshine Scandal that removed four commissioners. The County was seen statewide as a joke. The board and administration under George Touart were seen as one of the most political. The budget had escalated significantly. The local economy, which had roared in the wake of Ivan, was based on a house of cards that was about to fold in the Great Recession.”
“Bringing a fiscal discipline to the county will always be one of my biggest accomplishments while serving,” Robinson said, noting that the 2016 county budget of $434 million is still below the 2006 budget of $452 million.
Robinson also highlighted economic development successes including Navy Federal, GE, and the recent groundbreaking of the VT MAE aircraft maintenance facility at Pensacola International Airport.
Will serve out remaining two years
Before leaving office in 2018, Robinson hopes to see a number of projects through to completion.
“Certainly finishing out the promises we’ve made to Ferry Pass, finishing Olive Road, getting those things done, that’s huge,” Robinson said. “Finalizing where we go with RESTORE.”
Both through his service on the Commission as well as his tenure as President of the Florida Association of Counties, Robinson has been deeply involved in the issues stemming from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill and the recovery efforts outlined in the federal RESTORE Act.
Robinson also said he hopes to resolve several issues on Pensacola Beach.
“Obviously traffic continues to still be a big issue out there,” Robinson said. “We have a real delicate balance out there, we have a very small island, we have tremendous amounts of pressure.”
No immediate plans to run for other office
Robinson said Wednesday that he doesn’t currently have any plans to run for another elected office, but didn’t rule it out. He’s frequently been mentioned as a potential candidate for Mayor of Pensacola in 2018 along with Pensacola City Council member Brian Spencer and attorney Doug Bates.
Incumbent mayor Ashton Hayward hasn’t announced whether or not he plans to seek a third term.
“I don’t think I’m necessarily done with politics, if the right thing comes open,” said Robinson. “But I think it would be something that I would want to do, something that’s interesting.”
Robinson said he had previously thought about running for Congress or State Senate but had decided to focus on local government.
“The state and federal offices, they’re so much sexier, they get much more talk, but I think if you want to make and impact in people’s lives, local government is by far the most important thing you can do,” Robinson said.
Leaving the door open to a mayoral run in 2018, Robinson said the job “certainly has appeal.”
“But again, it’s not up to me to figure that out,” he said. “If it was there, and there was an opportunity, and people wanted me to serve, I’m not saying that I would say no.”