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Mary Anne Windes announces bid for Okaloosa County Commissioner, District 5 seat

Mary Anne Windes, a lifelong resident of Okaloosa County, officially pre-filed to run for the Okaloosa County Commissioner, District 5 seat on Friday, April 26, 2024.  In an interview right […]

Mary Anne Windes

Mary Anne Windes, a lifelong resident of Okaloosa County, officially pre-filed to run for the Okaloosa County Commissioner, District 5 seat on Friday, April 26, 2024. 

  • The seat is currently held by Commissioner Mel Ponder, who announced on April 16 that he would not be seeking re-election in November.

In an interview right after pre-filing, Windes revealed that she had considered running for the position four years ago when her husband, former County Commissioner Kelly Windes, chose not to seek re-election. When Commissioner Ponder decided to run, Windes chose to support her support behind him.

“This one caught me by surprise because I thought he was going to do another term,” Windes said. “I’m proud of the job my husband did and I’m proud of the job that Mel Ponder is doing. I would like to think that I could just be a fraction as good as they were, I think it would be good for Okaloosa County.”

After careful consideration and discussions with her family, Windes felt confident in her decision to enter the race that is less than 7 months away.

  • “I’m not getting younger,” she said. “ I’m looking forward to it. If I can get elected, if the people want me, I sure am there for them!”

Windes grew up in Fort Walton Beach, riding, training, and showing horses while attending school. She earned an Associate of Arts degree in Business Administration from Okaloosa-Walton Junior College and a Bachelor of Arts in Accounting from the University of West Florida. Her early career in accounting began with auditing and setting up new businesses, skills she later applied to establish and manage 16 separate businesses for her family.

As an active community leader, Windes has served in various roles, including two terms as Chairman of the Mid-Bay Bridge Authority, President of the Emerald Coast Association of Realtors (ECAR), Chairman of the Destin Area Chamber of Commerce, and Chairman of the Destin Fishing Rodeo. 

In 2010, during her tenure as ECAR president, Windes successfully advocated for real estate agents to receive compensation for losses incurred during the BP oil spill.

When asked about her plans for Okaloosa County, Windes expressed her pride in the county’s progress and her desire to maintain the positive momentum. 

  • “There is nothing that comes to mind where I think that Okaloosa County is falling short on. What I want to do is take that momentum that we’ve got and keep it going,” she said.

Windes emphasized her deep roots in the community and her commitment to giving back to the place she calls home. 

“My heart’s here. I’ve lived here my entire life. I grew up in Fort Walton Beach and I live in Destin now. I’m not going anywhere,” she said. “This is my home. This is about giving back to the community that I love that has given so much to me and my family. I think our future’s bright here in Okaloosa County!”

9 Responses

  1. Mary Anne so happy you made this decision, you will be perfect and serve the community in an exceptional way. Wishing you much success. Jimmy Neilson

  2. “Nothing comes to mind where Okaloosa County is falling short on”
    This is a double red flag for me, since it’s easy to identify issues and rural areas that need attention, while the County holds the purse strings and power.

  3. Go MaryAnne! She is the person for the Commission, educated, committed, community
    oriented. She will be fair minded, level headed
    To serve all persons fairly, as she has always
    did me in her lifetime. EVERYONE get on
    Board and elect her. She knows what service
    Is all about

  4. Falling short on
    1. affordable housing.
    2.Street/road repair is the worse I’ve seen in 8 years.
    3. Crime is soaring.
    This is for starters.

  5. Falling short:
    1. Crime is soaring.
    2. A need for affordable housing.
    3. Road repairs in dire need.

  6. I’m proud to endorse you. After many years of working with you, I think you would make a great commissioner I would like to support your campaign.

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