Jayer Williamson wasn’t born an electrician, but he learned the trade fresh out of college. He wasn’t born a public servant, either, but even earlier in his life, he knew he wanted to be one.
The year was 1984, and Jayer was just five years old. He’d just spent a long day with his grandfather, W.L. Butler, meeting with Representatives and Senators from across Florida, discussing issues important to their community. Butler himself had previously served as both a city councilman in Milton, and later as a Santa Rosa County commissioner, until 1980. As grandfather and grandson headed back home from Tallahassee, Butler turned to his tired grandson and asked if he enjoyed the day.
Williamson will never forget his own reply to his grandfather: “I will be a member of the Florida House of Representatives.”
The answer, he says, stuck with him in the back of his head.
“Today I get to live it out. Not everyone has the opportunity to do something they wanted to do all their life,” Williamson says. “That makes me want to work even harder and make the most of it. It truly is an honor and a privilege to serve the district I was raised in and I can’t wait to get to work for the community I love.”
Williamson’s family played a big role in wiring him for public service, but also in preparing him for the real world. He started working at the family business right after graduating from the University of West Florida with a degree in Communications Arts and a specialization in public relations. He went to work with his father, Jim Williamson, at Williamson Electrical Co., Inc. There, his father started him out as third man on an electrical truck, where he learned the basics of life as an electrician. He later worked his way up to running his own crew, and finally, with enough experience, he moved into the office, where after the death of his father, he became president and sole owner of the company.
As anyone would expect, the death of Williamson’s father hit hard, and had a profound impact, not only on Williamson’s work life, but also on his public service career. Like his grandfather, Williamson’s father, too, was also wired for public service. Jim Williamson had also served as a Milton City Councilman, and just like W.L. Butler, served four terms as a Santa Rosa County Commissioner. Jim Williamson still held that office when he passed away in 2014. Governor Rick Scott appointed Jayer to serve out the remainder of his father’s term.
“The governor appointed me to a five-month term and then I was elected, without opposition, to serve the final two years, from 2014 to 2016,” Williamson says. “So not only am I a third generation electrical contractor and business owner, I am also a third generation District One Santa Rosa County Commissioner. Not the exact way I wanted to get into politics but by no doubt, God’s perfect plan.”
Williamson is starting to learn the ropes, but the transition to becoming a public figure can be challenging. He and Linsey, his wife of 11 years, have a son and a daughter, and between running his business to earn a living, and serving as a state legislator (which pays just over $29,000 per year), it puts a premium on time with his family.
“There isn’t a lot of free time these days but the most important duty I have is being a dad, so any free time I have is usually spent playing at the house with my children. I love to sing and play guitar even though I don’t play as much as I used to. I’ve definitely been learning more children’s songs lately. When it warms up, I do try to fish a little bit, throw the cast net or take the paddle board out. Any combination of water/nature and family is my happy spot.”
His first legislative session is already looming, and he’s starting to get the hang of things in Tallahassee, just as a he promised his grandfather 32 years earlier. He credits the legislative staffers for making the transition easier.
“It’s not a surprise, but it is great to me to see how amazing the staff is at the Capitol. They answer every question in a timely manner and they do it with a positive attitude. Santa Rosa County staff was the same way so I am thrilled to work with individuals who truly care about their job and our state.”
STAT SHEET: District 3 – State Representative Jayer Williamson
Spouse: Linsey (married 11 years)
Children: 2 (one boy, one girl)
Hometown: Pace, Florida
High School: Milton High School (Milton, FL)
College / Degree: University of West Florida, (Communications Arts – Public Relations Specialization)
Favorite Sports Team: “I am a big Auburn fan, actually went to Auburn out of high school and figured if I ever wanted a college degree I better move back home. It’s a great school and we started getting season tickets when I was four. War Eagle!”
Hobbies / Interests: “I’m a bit of a music junky. From The Beatles to Southern Gospels to KISS to Sam Cooke to Merle Haggard to Tupac, I enjoy it all.”
Favorite Quote: My favorite quote would be from my Dad. “God gave you two ears and one mouth, that oughta tell you something.” As far as historical figures, I have always been intrigued by Andrew Jackson. Probably due to the stories of him camping out at “Floridatown” in Pace which is right up the road from where my grandmother grew up and still lives. You probably won’t see me in a meeting without my Andrew Jackson coffee mug.
District 3 Features and Issues: “The district is so diverse geographically. I doubt there are many districts you can go surfing or catch grouper in the morning and that afternoon make a 45 minute drive through the cotton and peanut farms to go deer hunting. We also are home to NAS Whiting Field and have pride for our military like no other. The district is very diverse. We have farmers, government employees, construction workers, military personnel, tourism based industries, realtors and other professionals.”
Top Priorities This Session: “The most important thing this first session will be building relationships, learning the process of State government and where to find answers. It’s different than local government from a process standpoint. The more time I spend learning now will allow me to better represent my constituents in the future.”