Bill Montford is definitely the candidate with home town roots in Jackson County. He is hoping to win the District 6 Florida Senate seat being vacated by Al Lawson, who resigned to run against Allen Boyd for Congress.
Montford was born in Marianna, finished high school at Blountstown High School, came back to Marianna and graduated from Chipola College before moving to Tallahassee in the late 1960s and going to FSU.
Montford, 62, has been endorsed by former House member Robert Trammell of Marianna, Chipola President Gene Prough and the Tallahassee Democrat. He has raised more than $340,000 for his campaign, three times more than Democratic opponent Curtis Richardson, and has spent more than $250,000.
Montford and Richardson, a four-term state House member, will face off in the Democratic primary Aug. 24. There is no Republican primary for that Senate seat but Republican John Shaw and independent David Abrams will appear on the Nov. 2 ballot. No Republican since Reconstruction has won the District 6 seat.
In campaigning, Montford has pointed to his “40-year career as a public school teacher, principal and superintendent, county commissioner and CEO of the state superintendents’ association.” He taught school for several years in Tallahassee after getting a masters degree from FSU, then was appointed principal. That wasn’t enough public office for him so he ran for Leon County Comissioner in 1982 and served two terms. He ran for Leon County superintendent of schools in 1996 and served two terms. He is currently the chief executive officer of the Florida Association of District School Superintendents, a group that lobbies the state Legislature.
Montford is counting on Jackson County’s largest employee group, state workers, to call him “one of us,” as his website proclaims. District 6 includes the innumerable state offices and bureaucrats of Tallahassee as well as the prisons and the populace of Jackson, Calhoun and Gulf counties forming the western border. District 6 also includes Florida State Hospital and all of Gadsden County, and portions of Jefferson and Madison counties on the eastern border.
Montford lives on Devden Drive in Tallahassee with wife Jane. They had two children and now have four grandchildren.
Montford was contacted, but was unavailable for this article.
His website includes this comment from Prough: “I have had the opportunity to work with (him) in many professional and educational situations. In special committee assignments he knew the final goals and worked hard for the people he represented. I have known him personally for 44 years.” Also included is this comment from Trammell: His teaching background along with his wealth of administrative experience has perfectly equipped him to effectively perform the duties of senator. Bill Montford has my unwavering support.”