Larry Basford kicks off campaign in Jackson County

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    Mark Skinner | TIMES

    Jackson County native Larry Basford hosted his campaign kickoff Tuesday in Jackson County where it all began. Basford is seeking to be the next state attorney for 14th Judicial Circuit State Attorney.
    His initial kickoff was held on the steps of the Jackson County Courthouse where family, leading law enforcement officers and supporters gathered to offer their support.
    Reverend L. V. Farmer was the first one to speak and praised Basford, “When I think about the midst of this race, in this journey that he is taking, he is going to need each one of us to support him, each one of us to do all we can to elect him to this office.” Farmer elaborated on his first encounter with Basford which was following the murder of his daughter. He said that Basford cried with them, supported them and felt their pain and promised them that justice would be done.
    Retired Sheriff Frank McKeithan made the trip from Panama City to support Basford, “If you ever wonder why Larry Basford is the man he is, has the morals he has, he just stopped everything, stopped everything and turned and asked us to pledge the flag. Larry didn’t forget about that. This is the Larry Basford that we all know. I heard about Larry Basford and I thought well, I’m just going to go down and meet this man. Went down but he didn’t have time to meet with me because he was busy. About the next week, I got a subpoena and I went to court on the first murder case that Larry did. After I got out of that murder case and I was finished with that murder case, I realized some things that I didn’t realize before. I had kind of taken it for granted.” McKeithan made reference to building a house where Basford came in and finished the house. McKeithan concluded with, “I would rather that nobody other than Mr. Hess try a case that I’m involved in than Larry Basford. And because of that I have come out of retirement and come out of hiding that I came up here to ask you to support Larry.”
    State Attorney Glenn Hess was the next one who went to the podium and related his support of Basford to a relay runner. He said that as a relay runner nears the end of his leg, he looks ahead for a teammate to whom he could pass his baton. He said he looked down the track after 25 years in public office, “I look down the track and I see Larry Basford waiting to take the baton from me and carry on the race. I know he will do well. Larry has been a dedicated assistant state attorney for over 30 years. He has tried the toughest cases in the panhandle and he has sought justice for victims. I’ve known Larry and I have found him to be a good and decent man. He is one of the top 10 trial lawyers in the panhandle, if not in the state of Florida. I am supporting Larry Basford whole-heartedly in his quest to be our next state attorney.”
    Lastly, Larry Basford took the podium and outlined his qualifications for the office he is seeking, “When my friend, my boss Glenn Hess appointed me as Chief to him, during that time, not only did I help administrate a budget over $10 million, but also supervised a staff of over 110 people. We’ve had to make some tough decisions but we have done that because we wanted to protect our community. A couple of other things I’d like to say about our staff and some accomplishments I’ve done as your chief state attorney, working with judges and working with the public defender’s office, Mark Sims’ office, we created the first veteran’s court in our circuit. That is to help veterans who get in trouble with the law to pay their debt to society and get their lives back on track and we owe them that debt for their service to our country, don’t you think? We also started the child abuse task force to protect the most vulnerable in our county and in our city and I’m talking about our children, working with and through law enforcement and working through the Children’s Advocacy Center. That’s an example of building a team, working together so that we can protect our community. You know me, and you know I’ll get the job done. Ladies and gentlemen, I will tell you this, I will lead by example. I will use good common sense, I will always be fair and reasonable. I will always do the right thing. I am proud to be from Jackson County and I am proud of the people who make up Jackson County. This is our home. We could have chosen anywhere we wanted to but we chose this. We will not tolerate the violence that they have in Tallahassee or in Jacksonville or Orlando or Parkland. This is our home and together we can keep it safe and make it a little bit better. You have trusted me, and three different state attorneys have trusted me to try some of the most dangerous criminals that we have had. I have worked hard and you know I will continue to work hard. You can trust me to be your state attorney.”
    Basford continued his kickoff in Panama City later on Tuesday.

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