OPINION: Biased PNJ Ignores Local Republican Party Leader’s Statement in Hit Piece on Calkins

Posted on May 31, 2023 by EDITORIAL BOARD

District 3 County Commissioner James Calkins is being praised by local Republican leaders for opposing the appointment of a Democrat to a Santa Rosa County advisory council. But Pensacola News Journal isn’t letting that get in the way of their biased reporting.

In today’s hit piece on Calkins, who is known to be the most Conservative Christian serving on the board, PNJ’s headline reads “Santa Rosa commissioner rails for Democrat-less government. His own party says he went too far.”

However, PNJ seems to be hiding a VERY important fact to which they were privy before going to press last night.

PNJ Reporter Tom McLaughin, who wrote the article, which reads more like an opinion piece than a news story, requested and before 5 p.m. yesterday was sent the following reply on the matter from Santa Rosa County Republican Executive Committee Chairwoman Sharon Regan:

“I am sure Commissioner Calkins, like many parents of small children in our country, feels that the Democrat platform has regrettably become corrupted, prurient and evil.

I do not know Ms. Alford and have no opinion as to her character or qualification for this Board, however I often encourage Republicans to step up and apply for local governmental boards so that our religious tenets and constitutional conservative values will be reflected more in local policies. For this reason I support the commissioner’s primary point, that our county which is primarily conservative and Republican, ought to be represented by Republicans on boards that are appointed positions.  If the recent county appointee distances herself from the Democratic platform, I’ll be happy to speak to her about changing an outdated registration.”

While PNJ excluded the county’s official Republican Party leader’s comment, McLaughlin’s story included a quote from Carmen Reynolds, an environmental activist who was recently scheduled to speak at a Democratic Women’s meeting in Milton. In the article McLaughlin tried to label Reynolds, who he frequently contacts for quotes, as a “staunch Republican.” However, she’s not even a member of the Santa Rosa County Republican Executive Committee, and some key Republicans consider her a RINO (Republican in Name Only) for working with Democrats to support Preserve Navarre, a pro-incorporation group, and Recall Florida legislation, an effort to allow the removal of seated county officials. which has failed three times.

Republican activist Larry Hetu says he supports Calkins’ push to appoint Republicans instead of Democrats into official county  advisory positions.

“Calkins is leading the way into preventing Democrats from infiltrating local government,” said Hetu. “I encourage everybody to watch and take note of which Republicans feel the need to go as an invited guest speaker to the Democrats of Santa Rosa County. Why would you, in Republican Santa Rosa County, cater to people who affiliate with the party that stands for marxism, transgenderism in schools, sick and deranged books in the schools of our county? They are in minority in Santa Rosa County and will remain powerless as long as we don’t let them infiltrate our local government, or let some registered Republicans come to our clubs and agitate us with a legislative project that would, for instance, allow the minority of Democrats to remove officials elected in closed primaries”

PNJ seems to enjoy taking aim against strong Republicans leaders, including Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, U.S. Congressman Matt Gaetz and Florida House District 2 Representative Alex Andrade. Therefore, we believe their attack on Calkins puts him in excellent company and shows that he is fighting for true Christian Conservative values.