Tom Semmes announced this week he will be a candidate for the upcoming District 2 County Commissioner seat, currently held by Ward McDaniel. Raised in Wewahitchka, Tom returned home in 1996 following a 28-year absence. He is married to the former Dianne Lester. They have two daughters and three grandsons.
Tom completed over 20 years in the U.S. Army, retiring as a Chief Warrant Officer in Signal Corps Branch. During his military service, Tom served overseas in Viet Nam and Germany and stateside as an electronics instructor at the U.S. Army Signal School at Fort Monmouth, NJ, and the U.S. Army Signal Center and School at Fort Gordon, GA. He was an Electronic Maintenance Officer with the 101st Airborne Division, Fort Campbell, KY. Tom worked in the White House as a Presidential Communications Officer with the White House Communications Agency. He held the position as Chief of the White House Technical Control, providing telecommunication services to the White House Complex and Presidential Emissaries. Tom also traveled worldwide as the White House Communications Agency Trip Officer, providing telecommunication support to President Ronald Reagan, President George Bush, the traveling White House Staff, and the United States Secret Service.
Tom also worked as a Program Manager responsible for equipment procurement, logistical support, and the financial management of multi-million dollar contracts for a Maryland telecommunications firm. He supervised contracts for government agencies that included local and international telecommunication installation projects for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Defense Logistics Agency, U.S. Coast Guard, Department of Defense, U.S. Air Force, and Radford Army Ammunition Plant.
Since returning to Wewahitchka, Tom has been active throughout Gulf County. He was an active member of the Wewahitchka Chamber of Commerce and coordinated the Tupelo Festival for several years. He was a member of the Gulf County School Coalition, which administered funding for early childhood education and childcare programs. He represented Gulf County as a board member for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Farm Service Agency. Tom has also worked with the Teen Court Program, created by Gulf County Judge Fred Witten. He is currently Vice Commander of the Wewahitchka Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8285, which has supported the Wewahitchka Dixie Youth ball teams and provided scholarships to graduating seniors of Wewahitchka High School.
As Gulf County enters a new era of economic development, Tom believes the County Commission is charged with the responsibly of managing growth to benefit the entire county while maintaining the rural heritage that has been enjoyed and protected by residents. Tom is qualified through his extensive management experience to work with elected officials, staff, and stakeholders to grow the county in a positive direction and create a stable foundation for much-needed jobs. He will ensure the desires and opinions of all citizens in Gulf County will be heard on matters pertaining to county government operations and issues. He believes County Commissioners, as elected officials, must represent the will of the citizens rather than dictating policy and implementing programs and policies with limited or no public input. Tom Semmes will represent all citizens to make Gulf County a better place to live and work.