Senator Broxson Honored for Bridging Past and Future

Posted on April 23, 2024 by Romi White

Local leaders gathered Monday to recognition Senator Doug Broxson. Pictured left to right: Pensacola State College President Dr. Ed Meadows, Florida House District 1 Representative Michelle Salzman, District 2 Commissioner Kerry Smith, District 4 Commissioner Ray Eddington, Commission Chairman Sam Parker, Senator Doug Broxson, Commission Vice-Chairman James Calkins, District 5 Commissioner Colten Wright, Santa Rosa County Sheriff Bob Johnson and Florida House District 2 Representative Alex Andrade. Broxson was presented a bat to celebrate his 18 years playing college baseball at Evangel University and softball on a nationally rank men’s team.

The Broxson family moved to Florida before the Civil War, and since that time many family members, especially Florida Senator Doug Broxson, have worked to build bridges for a better future, literally and figuratively. Broxson, who is terming out after 14 years of public service as a Florida legislator, was recognized Monday by the Santa Rosa County Board of County Commissioners for his “impactful” service.

The Broxson family’s legacy of public service started when Senator Broxson’s great uncle served in the Florida House of Representatives from 1858-1861. Later service by family included positions on the school board and road commission, including supporting construction of the first Yellow River Bridge. 

Members of the Broxson family driving their cattle across the first Yellow River Bridge. .

Additionally, Doug is the youngest of 11 children born to the late Bart & Annie Broxson. His father was killed in the line of duty in 1959 while serving as Santa Rosa County Sheriff, and his mom was appointed to the position on an interim basis until the appointment of his late brother, John, who later also served on the county commission and in the Florida Legislature. 

Santa Rosa County Sheriff Bob Johnson spoke during Monday’s proclamation ceremony, paying homage to the family’s record of public service and noting how Broxson had taken him “under his wing” to get the SAFE Act passed. That legislation helps assist law enforcement in their interactions with those who have developmental challenges or psychiatric disorders. “He put his weight behind the bill,” Johnson said, noting Broxson’s support helped it pass unanimously.

Pensacola State College President Ed Meadows also spoke, explaining that Broxson is an alumnus of the college who also served as the first president of its booster club. Meadows pointed out Broxson’s support of workforce development, stating, “He has left his mark not just in Escambia, Santa Rosa and the Panhandle but throughout the State of Florida.”

When it was Commission Chairman Sam Parker’s time to read the board’s proclamation, he took a few moments to share how during some “dark hours” Broxson called to pick him up and pray with him. “He knows the power of prayer.”

After thanking those in attendance, Broxson then reflected upon his 14 years in office, which began with dealing with the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, which initially appeared to be a “major curse” for the area. “I heard a report last week that actually the Gulf is as healthy as its ever been despite that major spill,” he said, noting that Triumph Gulf Coast and RESTORE Act funding which will each have around $2 billion available for recovery over the next 18 years in addition to $1 billion already allocated for the Panhandle. 

Senator Broxson sponsored legislation to name the new Pensacola Bay Bridge in honor of the late Gen. Chappie James Jr. 

He went to talk about Hurricane Sally, which resulted in the damage to Pensacola Bay Bridge. “It appeared to be a curse but turned out to be a blessing,” Broxson said, noting the new “beautiful” Gen. Chappie James Bridge. 

Broxson said when his dad served in 1956 that Santa Rosa County was basically two counties divided by waterways. “His goal was to see the counties come together as one,” he said, pointing out how Garcon Point Bridge, which was purchased by the State of Florida in 2022, helped bring that dream to fruition.

Senator Broxson was instrumental in the State’s acquisition of Garcon Point Bridge 

In closing, Broxson delivered a message on the importance of kindness in public service:

“People ask me why have you done so well in Tallahassee, and I’ll tell you, it is Biblical. You treat people the way that you want to be treated. You do it through kindness. You respect what they say and what they do. You may disagree, but you do it in such a kind way that people say at least he’s listening to me. At least he cares. That’s got to be the hallmark of who were are as a people. Because we all share that same ability to be friendly and kind and make a person feel like they have value, and we diminish that. And you begin to bog down into personal accusations and assaults…it really does not help the county at all, and I encourage you as a commisison to continue to try to lift this county up, to be positive, to be an influence of good and not bad. We’re a great county. We’re gonna have a lot of people who want to live in this county in the next 20 years because we are such a great county.”


WHEREAS, Senator Douglas Broxson was born in Pensacola in 1949 at the old Sacred Heart Hospital, and he grew up at Broxson Station on the Gulf Breeze peninsula; and

WHEREAS, Senator Broxson is part of a Florida family that settled in the Santa Rosa County area in the early 1800s, and is the youngest of Bart and Annie Gordon Broxson’s eleven children; and

WHEREAS, Senator Broxson moved to and grew up in Milton, played football at Milton High School, and graduated in 1967. Doug attended Evangel University in Springfield, Missouri, played baseball, and graduated in 1971; and

WHEREAS, during his college years, Doug met and married Mary Bernhardt, and after graduating from college, Doug moved his family back to Santa Rosa County, where he built a career in real estate, property insurance sales, and investments; and

WHEREAS, Doug spent eighteen years sharing his athletic talent with local men’s softball teams playing and traveling across the nation; and

WHEREAS, Doug was elected to serve in the Florida House of Representatives in November 2010 and was subsequently re-elected in 2012 and 2014. In November of 2016, Doug was elected to the Florida Senate, serving District 1, which includes Escambia, Santa Rosa, and Okaloosa Counties. He was reelected in November of 2020 and 2022; and

WHEREAS, Senator Broxson is currently the Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Alternating Chair of the Joint Legislative Budget Commission, and serves on the Banking and Insurance, Judiciary, and Rules Committees, and is the past Senate Education Appropriations Chairman; and

WHEREAS, while serving in the legislature, Senator Broxson has championed cutting taxes and government regulations, insurance reform, education, protecting homeowners from abusive assignment of benefits practices, and making Florida the most veteran friendly state in the nation; and

WHEREAS, Senator Broxson has also been a strong champion for Santa Rosa County initiatives for water quality, the new IFAS Research and Education graduate student dormitory, and the Medical Examiner facility, and special transportation project funding for Hwy 98 and Woodbine improvements; and

WHEREAS, Doug and Mary have four children: Julie, Jason, Judd, and Jill, and twelve grandchildren. He has been a member of Brownsville Assembly of God Church in Pensacola since 1988 and is now also an active member of Highpoint Church in Gulf Breeze, and he spends much of his spare time with his family, fishing or boating, or taking part in community functions.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESPECTFULLY PROCLAIMED that it is a distinct pleasure and honor to congratulate Senator Douglas Broxson on the observance of his outstanding career and service to the State of Florida.