DESTIN, Fla. (WKRG) — After joining City Council in 2021, Destin businessman and non-profit director Bobby Wagner is hoping to become Destin’s new mayor.

“The reason I’m running to become the next mayor of Destin is because I want to revive, reclaim, and sustain our community,” said Wagner.

The first-year councilman said jumping to the front of the ship now will help him make long-term changes for the tourist destination.

“I’m not trying to 180 Detin by any means,” said Wagner. “If I can move the ship even just a couple degrees into the right direction, I believe that’s a huge win because while government does move slowly, it does move forward at a consistent pace. So if you can jump on early and really work at it at a young age, I’m really excited to see what I can see long long down the road.”

Wagner moved to Destin as a child, graduating from Fort Walton Beach High School, before going to Troy University. Wagner then left school to create his videography company Land, Air & Sea Productions, a job that he says has shaped him for the local government seat.

“Those who are afraid that I look 18, I’m actually 28, and while I am still new to government, it’s been 10 years of me running a business and I’ve had ups and downs and I’ve gone through my learning experiences of what it takes to run a small business,” said Wagner. “So now moving forward and using what I’ve learned in the small business sector into government, I’m hoping to bring a new perspective to things, bring technology to government, and just bring a better cohesiveness of understanding all the balances that we have to play at the government role. So for anyone who thinks I’m young, I am. But I’m also planning on being here for a very long time. So this is just the beginning for me, hopefully in a long realm of serving my community.”

Non-profit Trees on the Coast selected Wagner as the executive director. He has since partnered with Okaloosa County officials for beach build-back projects and enhancing green spaces around Northwest Florida.

Wagner said he has a 20 to 25 year plan for the city, with three main goals to achieve if elected Mayor.

“Reclaim some of our beaches, revive some of the beaches, some of the parks and really just come together to sustain a future for Destin,” said Wagner. “So really allowing me to jump into this full force into the government and running the city as the mayor of Destin, I believe not only gives me a strong representation of where we need to be going as a city, but also allowing everyone to know that while we are moving forward we’re going to be paying much respect to the heritage of the fishing fleet, everyone that is involved with what made Destin such a lucky fishing village. I’m hoping to keep that luck here and move it forward as we try to build the future of Destin together.”

How’s the campaign going so far?

“We’re about two months out and I’m feeling very, very strong and very excited about becoming Destin’s next mayor. We’ve had a lot of endorsements from ECAR to individual small business owners. Most of the mayors in the county are endorsing me, so I’m really trying to bring cooperation throughout the whole County down into Destin,” said Wagner. “We are one of the breadwinners for our county, and Destin will always come first, but playing with our neighbors and working together throughout the county is what’s going to make this area beautiful, not for just our residents, but for tourists that come in and everyone who wants to make this place feel like home.”

Learn more about Wagner on his campaign website.

The mayor race will be on the November 8 General Election ballot. Voting registration ends Oct. 11. Early voting will begin Oct. 24.

Check for the profile of Wagner’s opponent.

Wagner met for an interview with WKRG News 5 by the water at the new Destin Fire station 19 building Monday, Aug. 29.

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