Delivering for Okaloosa

Mel delivered what he said he would do in Tallahassee and he will do the same here at home in Okaloosa! 

Leadership – In just my first term in the Florida House, 2nd year, I was appointed Vice Chair of the Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee which oversees a budget of over $8 Billion. In my 2nd Term, I was appointed by House Leadership to be a Deputy Whip. In my 2nd Term, I was appointed Chairman of the Children, Families, and Seniors Subcommittee; Chair – Legislative Prayer Caucus all 4 years

Triumph Gulf Coast – Worked with Northwest Florida House and Senate Delegation to secure Northwest Florida’s 75% share of the $2 Billion state award from the BP Oil Spill.  Total portion coming to Northwest Florida – $1.5 Billion

Education – Prime Co-Sponsor to have “In God We Trust” on every school in Okaloosa County and throughout the State; Okaloosa County School District Funding Jump Start Program; Supported Starting Teacher Salary Increase and Increase to Veteran Teachers; Drafted and Carried Bill to put in place a statewide standard for Vocational Rehabilitation students ages 14-21; Okaloosa Technical College Welding Program Funding for Expansion; Cyber Security Funding for UWF

Military – Carried Resolution to protect the Gulf of Mexico Range Complex; Military Postsecondary Fee Waiver for all in-state colleges including our own Northwest Florida State College; Military Postsecondary Education Credit for Military Experience; Helping active duty military with school aged children use orders as residency at new location; Expanded licensure reciprocity for military spouses; encouraged Medal of Honor Day to be taught in schools; Expanded Veteran Court Ordered Treatment Programs; Expanded Alternative Treatment Options for Veterans Research

Infrastructure – Helped with State Support of Crestview bypass; helped County with Overbrook Subdivision Flooding; Secured funding for Utilities Plant upgrade at Northwest Florida State College; had funding in place prior to COVID veto cuts for Fort Walton Beach Recreation Center Hardening, Overbrook Flooding, & Cinco Bayou Glenwood Park

Faith – Added a member of the Faith Based Community to Community Alliances within Child Welfare / Dept of Children & Family(DCF); was asked by Governor DeSantis to deliver one of the prayers at his Governor’s Inaugural Prayer Breakfast; Opening prayer for 2 of President Trump Rally’s in NWF; Joint Session Opening Prayer twice, Previously – Helped start the Destin’s Week of Blessings and Blessing of the Marketplace and now parts are included in both Fort Walton Beach and Niceville; Helped lead Destin’s Crop Drop annual event – serving over 40 agencies with food banks in the greater Okaloosa area

Mental Health – Carried Pilot and Funding Authorization to stand up Okaloosa’s First Mental Health Diversion Treatment Program in Fort Walton Beach – Partnered with County and Local Leaders

Tourism – Carried the re-authorization bill to keep VISIT FLORIDA as our states Tourism Organization twice.  This not only continues our statewide umbrella brand, but also offers our Okaloosa TDC and other local tourism providers to partner with VISIT FLORIDA and have a strong advocate for the tourism industry

Environment – Supported Record Environment Funding in the Florida House

Bills Signed by the Governor: 13

– Including: 6 benefitting veterans/military; 1 to stand up the mental health diversion pilot; 1 for VISIT FLORIDA; 1 to set a statewide standard for those 14-21 students with unique needs within Vocational Rehabilitation; 1 to enhance key areas with our Child Welfare/DCF; 1 in partnership with Tax Collector Ben Anderson to align heavy truck owners tag renewals with their birthday

Resolutions Passed off the House Floor: 7

– Including: 2 to protect the Gulf Range; 1 to honor the Okaloosa County School Resource Officer Program (SRO); 1 to bring awareness to abdominal injuries in youth football (partnered with Taylor Haugen Foundation); 1 to honor Hidden Heroes (military spouses)

Road Naming Accomplished within Okaloosa: 4

– Including: General Bud Day; Mayor Randall Wise

Appropriations received: 16 for $11,500,000

Key Okaloosa Appropriations:

Okaloosa Mental Health Diversion Program – to launch and 2nd year renewal of funds – $600,000 total

Northwest Florida State College – for building remodeling and Utilities Plant Upgrade – $5,700,000

Okaloosa Technical College – Welding Program Expansion – $150,000

Okaloosa County Overbrook Flooding – $250,000

Okaloosa County School District – Jump Start Program – $100,000

Alternative Treatment Options for Veterans (Northwest Florida State College now a Partner in this initiative) – $400,000 total

Bridgeway Center – Mobile Access Teams & Telehealth – $350,000

University of West Florida – Cybersecurity – $2,100,000 total


Florida League of Cities Defender of Home Rule

Northwest Florida League of Cities Northwest Florida Legislator of the Year – 3 times – fighting for and defending local decision making/Home Rule

Conservative Excellence recognition – CPAC National group

Small Counties Support recognition

Florida College Presidents Legislator of the Year

Florida Tax Collectors Legislator of the Year

Florida Chamber and Associated Industries of Florida A Rating

NRA A+ Rating

Endorsements for Mel in the Okaloosa County Commission, District 5 race:

NRA – National Rifle Association – for his support of 2nd Amendment Rights

Northwest Florida Chapter of the Restaurant & Lodging Association

Personhood FL – Pro Life

Emerald Coast Association of Realtors