It’s no secret that Grover Robinson — a fixture in Escambia County politics for more than a decade now — was not my first choice to be Pensacola’s next mayor. But he is my choice of the two candidates left in the race, and here are three reasons why:

Personal integrity.

I believe that Grover Robinson is a fundamentally good and decent person. I know that Brian Spencer is a fundamentally bad, dishonest person.

We may not always agree, but I believe that Grover genuinely wants to be of service to others and do what’s best for our city. Brian Spencer wants to be of service to himself and do what’s best for Brian Spencer and his patrons.

My support for Grover might come as a surprise to some who know that I am more closely aligned with Brian Spencer on some policy issues. But integrity is much more important in leadership than any one issue, and I can’t support someone who doesn’t have any.

Humility.

Some people like leaders who pretend to always be strong and omniscient. I prefer leaders who have a healthy dose of humility.

Spend a few minutes talking to Brian Spencer, or even watching him on the dais at City Council meetings, and it’s clear: he’s someone who thinks he is always the smartest person in the room.

Grover, on the other hand, will readily admit that he doesn’t know everything and doesn’t fully understand the nuance of every issue. He wants to put himself in rooms with people who do know more than him so that he can learn from them. Some may view that as weakness. I view it as the mark of a real leader.

Citywide focus.

Grover Robinson is running to be mayor of Pensacola. Brian Spencer is running to be mayor of downtown.

Don’t get me wrong — I believe that thriving cities require thriving downtowns, and that thriving downtowns must be nurtured. There is no bigger fan than I of downtown Pensacola’s incredible growth over the past decade. 

But that’s just one piece of the puzzle. Pensacola is a city of neighborhoods, and many of those neighborhoods — especially in the northern and western reaches of our city — have been ignored for far too long. Critical needs have gone unmet. That must change, and I know that it won’t if Brian Spencer is mayor.

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