PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — State Senator George Gainer (R — Panama City) announced Monday that he will not be seeking another term in office.
Gainer sat down with News 13’s Amy Hoyt for an exclusive interview about his decision and his time in office. Gainer, a former Bay County Commissioner and the former owner of Bay Cars in Panama City, was first elected to the state senate for District 2 in 2016.
“I’ve prayed on it, I’ve talked about it and I talked to my friends and my family and I have decided the best thing to do is not run for re-election,” Gainer said.
He added that medical issues pushed him toward the decision.
“It was just time,” he said. “I need to spend a little time with my family and my friends and stuff I enjoy doing.”
He said one of his greatest accomplishments was the formation of the Triumph Gulf Coast, the board that oversees more than a billion dollars in settlement money from the BP Oil Spill.
“When we got there they just said that’s another hayseed from Northwest Florida but we were able to prove that we could get it done,” Gainer said. “And we have, and we’re sitting up there in the front room at the front table getting what we want.”
Another accomplishment was urging the legislature and Gov. Ron DeSantis to get everything they could for Northwest Florida after the area was devastated by Hurricane Michael. He also said he worked to up salaries for law enforcement officers and corrections officers.
“Whoever we pick, he or she better be ready for the job because it’s going to be tremendous just to maintain what we had started,” Gainer said.
He also said he doesn’t plan to endorse a candidate.
“I don’t feel I have a right to name my successor,” Gainer said. “We’re gonna be a hard act to follow. But I expect whoever wins this race, I will hold them to the highest standards in following it.”
He added that he hoped people would remember him as someone who did what he could to help others.
“I want them to know I loved everyone deeply,” Gainer said. “I’m more proud that I was truly a servant of the people, and I think my staff was too.”