A Palm Beach County state representative made an announcement about his future on Friday.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to serve our country in the military, or serve on the Village of Wellington Council, or serve in the state for the last five years, or 25 years as a Palm Beach County firefighter. But this next chapter is going to be running for the Palm Beach County Commission District 6 seat.”
Matt Willhite represents District 86 in the Florida House, which covers much of the county’s western communities.
Melissa McKinlay currently holds the seat he’s running for on the commission and she’ll be termed out next year.
“This is a 2022 race and everyone says ‘How are you in it already?’ Well, you know it takes time. The pandemic has made it difficult. So, we’re going to work hard. We’re going to knock on doors.”
Willhite says his main motivation for wanting to leave Tallahassee is to be close to his two young sons, ages 12 and 13.
“Leaving them to go to the state and travel to Tallahassee is difficult sometimes and I want to be home with them and spend more time with them as they grow.”
The Democrat says being in the minority party in Tallahassee was NOT much of a factor in his decision.
“When one party is in power, it is difficult sometimes. But you know a lot of the legislation I work on is for first responders and there’s no party affiliation with first responders. They’re just there to serve and protect.”
If he is successful, Willhite would be the third sitting commissioner on the board who has served in Florida’s Legislature, joining County Mayor Dave Kerner and Commissioner Maria Sachs.