Commissioners Carolyn Ketchel (R-Shalimar) and Trey Goodwin (R-Fort Walton Beach) were re-installed before Tuesday’s board of county commissioners meeting. Goodwin ran unopposed, and Ketchel won a plurality of votes in a three-way race. Commissioner Carolyn Ketchel was sworn in by her husband, Circuit Judge Terrance Ketchel. Commissioner Goodwin was sworn in by County Clerk J.D. Peacock.
Commissioner Ketchel has served as the commissioner for District Two in Okaloosa County since November of 2014 and has served as the Chairman of the Okaloosa County Board of County Commissioners twice, in 2017 and 2021. Prior to her service on the Okaloosa County Board of County Commissioners, Ketchel served as the director of Catholic Charities of Northwest Florida and on the Staff of Florida State Senator Don Gaetz and US Congressman Jeff Miller.
According to her bio on the Okaloosa County Website, Ketchel, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) helped establish the Okaloosa Mental Health Diversion Program. The Program reroutes people with mental health issues from jail to rehabilitation centers. Only offenders with non-violent records are eligible. The program is modeled after other diversion programs in south Florida. Commissioner Ketchel worked with state representatives Patt Maney and Mel Ponder to get money from the state for a pilot program in Okaloosa County. Programs like these have reduced the recidivism rate of the mentally ill throughout the state of Florida.
Commissioner Ketchel has also worked with the Okaloosa County Aviation Board to increase tourism in Okaloosa County. Early in her term, there were a single-digit amount of flights leaving from Okaloosa County’s Biggest Airport, Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport (VPS). With the help of the Airports Department and the Aviation Board, the number of flights into Okaloosa County’s main airport now stands at almost 50 routes. More than one million passengers pass through the airport every year – making it, at one point, the fastest-growing airport in the United States.
Additionally, Ketchel worked to erect the Women’s Veteran Memorial Statues on Okaloosa Island, using tourism development funds. The statues feature women of note who served in the military. Those women are Margaret Corbin, Cathay Williams, Lenah Higbee, Jacqueline Cochran, Jonita Ruth Bonham-Bovée, Sharon Ann Lane, Leigh Ann Hester and Naseema.
Okaloosa County Commissioner Trey Goodwin has served on the Okaloosa County Board of County Commissioners since November 2014 – when he began service at the same time as Commissioner Ketchel.
Commissioner Goodwin led the charge for an anti-illegal immigration ordinance in Okaloosa County at the beginning of his term, which was designed to keep undocumented immigrants out of Okaloosa County.
More Recently, Commissioner Goodwin has championed safer waterways in Okaloosa County. Commissioner Goodwin championed the introduction of safety regulations on personal watercraft and the licensure of certain activities on Crab Island to ensure a family-friendly and safe environment on Okaloosa County’s waterways.