R.L. Lewis has enjoyed far more job security than most politicians.
He’s been a member of the Milton City Council for 28 years and never yet drawn an opponent for re-election.
He did have opponents in 1984, the very first time he ran, but he won that race easily, taking 47 percent of the vote in a five-way contest.
The election made Lewis the first black person to be elected to office in Milton – or Santa Rosa County for that matter.
But while he’s proud of the accomplishment, he doesn’t dwell on the racial aspect.
“I’m not an Afro-American who happens to be a City Councilman. I’m a City Councilman who happens to be an Afro-American. I’m serving all of the people,” Lewis said. “I do appreciate the people putting their confidence in me.”
Roads and jobs
Lewis is especially eager for Milton to pave and upgrade more streets and to draw more jobs to town.
He would like to see businesses and organizations provide tuition money to deserving young people so they can take classes to be certified as police officers, firefighters and emergency medical technicians. He also likes the notion of a thriving tourism district, which would mean more visitors and more money.
He’s pleased with work on Canal and Sanders streets and the new tennis courts, and he’s glad the city bought Sundial Utilities, which will help Milton expand its utility business around Bagdad. The new fire station is another sign of Milton’s progress.
“We’re a small city, so we don’t have a lot of money, but we’re doing good for a small city,” Lewis said. “Overall, I’m pleased with the operations of the city.”
Long Milton roots
Lewis became interested in politics many years ago as he volunteered for activities in church and civic groups.
He decided “I could be of service from both sides of the fence,” and so he ran for the council. He works hard to make sure citizens know what city government is doing and that city government knows what citizens want.
Lewis works as a counselor at Trahan Funeral Home in Pensacola; he has been in the funeral home business for most of his 72 years.
He’s the fifth generation of his family to live in Milton, and he expects the string to continue. He and wife Paulette have a daughter, Cheryl Shakur, a granddaughter, Shante Shakur, and Lewis’s “pride and joy,” great-granddaughter Isbella Pinkey.
They’re all Milton residents, so you can expect the long Lewis roots to extend even more
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