August 12, 2014
By Julie Montanaro
A candidate trying to unseat popular State Representative Alan Williams is calling on the state to settle questions about his residency once and for all.
Alan Williams accuses Dianne Williams-Cox of playing political games, but she says voters in District 8 have a right to know before election day.
"So I am here today asking for clarity," Dianne Williams Cox said at a morning press conference.
Dianne Williams Cox says she is repeatedly approached by voters in District 8 who want to know if State Representative Alan Williams lives in the district he represents.
She presented a stack of public records that show Williams' home address as either on Olive Avenue, which is inside the district, or on Stony Creek Way, which is not.
"Is this proper? Is this legal? Is this correct?" Williams-Cox said. "That's all we want."
Representative Alan Williams declined an on camera interview - saying he is duly qualified to hold office in District 8 - and pointed to a letter the Secretary of State sent to the House Speaker last year.
The August 2013 letter and accompanying list showed that Representative Alan Williams was registered to vote at the Olive Avenue address in the district he represents.
A spokeswoman says beyond that "It is not within the authority of the Secretary of State, as qualifying officer, to determine whether any candidate meets the Florida residency requirement in Article IV, s. 5 of the Constitution." Whether a member meets residency requirements, she says, is up to the Speaker of the House.
A spokesman in the speaker's office pointed to newly adopted House rules which spell out factors to be considered in determining residency.
A joint memo issued by the Speaker of the House and Senate President in January 2014 concludes by saying, "No single factor is dispositive in determining a person’s legal residence. Instead, all relevant factors should be assessed in the totality of the circumstances.
"I want them (voters) to be clear in that they have two qualified candidates to run and that if they elect someone that we won't have to go through a special election if they decide not to seat that individual because they do not live in the district," Williams-Cox said.
'I meet the qualifications," Alan Williams said.
Alan Williams called this a "desperate attempt" to slander his name and his campaign. He says he's disappointed Williams-Cox is talking about residency and not pay raises for state workers, Medicaid and other issues that matter to folks in this district.
According to the Secretary of State's web site, House District 8 includes more than 155 thousand residents in Leon and Gadsden Counties. There is also a write in candidate vying for the job, James W. Sinclair.