SRIA Candidate Summaries

10/16/2014 7:41 AM | Anonymous

Voters on Pensacola Beach will choose their elected representative on the Santa Rosa Island Authority during the General Election on November 4th. This is a non-partisan election. Make plans to vote – in person Nov 4th at the Beach Community Church or vote early starting Oct 20 at the Election Supervisor’s office or by absentee. You must be a resident and registered voter to participate in the election of this SRIA position. New voters can still register and vote in this election. Get more information on


With so many accomplishments on Pensacola Beach, I honestly don’t know where to begin.  I have been an island resident for over forty years and operated a dental practice for thirty-seven years.  My wife, Debbie, has been a teacher for 26 years at Pensacola Beach Elementary.  My daughter is a UWF marine biology graduate.  My son is a lieutenant with Escambia County Fire Department on Pensacola Beach.

I, Thomas, am a former president of the original Pensacola Beach Residents and Leaseholders Association, former PTA President, church board member, Optimist Club member, one of the Krewe of Wrecks and PBYC founders, Elks member, PBA member, and Ivan survivor.  But what is important is I have served the community for twelve years with the SRIA in an unselfish and unbiased manner.  I have no special interests – not groups, individuals, or businesses.

Pensacola Beach is the “Public’s Playground”.  We choose to live here and therefore must share our playground.  All the beach development is done; parcels of land are allocated.  Balance and preservation are now necessary - balancing tourism, business, leaseholder and residential interests while preserving our unique community style. Escambia County receives approximately one-third of its income from Pensacola Beach’s existence.  

We lost our tax battle, fee simple ownership is on its way, and no one knows what the future holds. The Escambia County Commissioners - not the SRIA - are the ultimate decision-making authority.  With the SRIA, I have forged and developed understanding among our Escambia County leaders.  Combat is over; compatibility is emerging.  We need experience more than ever as our governing style will certainly be changing.

As your elected SRIA Board Member I have strived to do my best and to do my duty for the community we cherish.  To continue to protect and preserve Pensacola Beach please vote to re-elect Thomas Campanella for SRIA. Thank you!!!

It’s time for some new ideas on the Santa Rosa Island Authority, and I am the person who can think “outside the box.”  I graduated from the US Merchant Marine Academy in 1978, received a Masters in Public Administration from UWF in 1992, and have spent over 35 years as a seagoing officer, program manager, EHS Director and business owner.

In 2009, I joined the Pensacola Beach Advocates. As a member of the Governmental Affairs committee, I attend SRIA meetings regularly.  Even though we are now all paying taxes on improvements, and many are also paying taxes on land, no-one on the SRIA is advocating to the County on our behalf for a reduction in lease fees to offset the taxes that we are already paying.  Instead, they plan to wait for the land lawsuits to play out.  

We need to return to  “Leave only your footprints” on the beach.  Having been President of the PBA for the last year, I have been able to build consensus on issues like environmental protection with both residents and business owners.

My goals as your elected representative are:

  • Continue the push to end double taxation NOW.  At a minimum, lease fees should be reduced immediately and some county tax dollars spent to fund SRIA operations.
  • Work with the county to define what the SRIA should become post-lease fees, while maintaining the levels of service that our visitors and residents currently enjoy.
  • Work with business and government to achieve environmental and aesthetic improvements so that we only leave our footprints in years to come!

For more information, please watch my three-minute video from the Meet the Candidates event on October 2. Or visit my facebook page.

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