Jonathan Cole has resigned as chairman of Region of Navarre United PAC — one of the two groups currently pushing to incorporate Navarre into a city.
Cole said new professional opportunities were coming his way that would not allow him time to fulfill all of his responsibilities in the position.
Jeremy Dykes, Navarran resident and founder of clothing brand MadFin, has taken up his post at NAU PAC.
“Someone actually introduced me to Jonathan, and we sat down and talked about things and our visions kind of matched what we wanted,” Dykes said. “We don’t want a big, huge government, but we want the voice and being incorporated would give us that voice.”
This latest push to turn the unincorporated Navarrese community in Santa Rosa County into its own city comes after several failed attempts in recent years.
Two previous attempts to incorporate Navarre in 2006 and 2014 failed, and the most recent effort – aimed at the 2020 ballot – was led by NAU PAC but ended prematurely due to the coronavirus pandemic. .
Cole said he’s been considering stepping away from the role for some time now.
“It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a while. It was just about finding the right candidate who could play the role that would carry him into the spirit that we all wanted,” Cole said. “And finally, we found it with Jeremy.”
Cole said this does not affect NAU PAC’s work schedule to secure a non-binding referendum on the November ballot. He said the group’s feasibility study and charter should be ready this spring.
Williamson’s Bill of Incorporation: ‘It’s such a good policy’: Rep Williamson wants 60% incorporation threshold to be the law
Catch up on the incorporation effort: Two groups behind Navarre’s incorporation effort continue to push to run for 2022 ballot
Cole’s move follows State Rep. Jayer Williamson’s bill that would require communities to reach 60% approval in a non-binding local referendum before introducing a bill of incorporation to the state legislature.
It was a personal requirement that Williamson already had for his district, which includes Navarre.
Dykes said he was relatively new to the incorporation movement in Navarre, but recognized the importance of his goal.
“I mean, it’s very chaotic. And maybe I didn’t expect it to be so big right away, but, you know, it’s time to play ball,” Dykes said. .
Wes Siler, founder of the other active incorporation group of Navarre Preserving Navarre, said he would be open to working with Dykes and NAU PAC on a joint effort as long as he didn’t have to compromise his group’s ideals.
“So if Jeremy is open to talking with us and working with us, that’s definitely something we’ll give back. However, we’re not going to change our principles,” Siler said.
Dykes said he thinks NAU PAC and Preserve Navarre have two different directions, however, and doesn’t believe that at this point the groups can merge.
Dykes stressed that he does not want a municipal government in Navarre to be a “big government”, adding that he wants it to start small and grow as needed. Siler stressed the importance of engaging with the community now so that his group can have full input on what all the people of Navarre want in local government.
Cole said he thinks this leadership change will show that NAU PAC is promoting its ideals rather than individual members.
“I think it will show that we’re making progress. And most importantly, it’s not about personalities, it’s just about messaging,” Cole said.
Siler said that despite changes in incorporation efforts, he thinks people in Navarre know what they want.
“The people of Navarre want help. When it comes to flooding and stormwater, they want help. When it comes to traffic, they want smart growth,” Siler said. “They want public works. They want sidewalks. They want parks that don’t take years to complete. It’s very clear and not chaotic what Navarrese people want.”
This article originally appeared on Pensacola News Journal: The Navarre incorporation group obtains a new president after the departure of the former