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Former Gulf Breeze mayor enters Florida House race for District 2

Former Gulf Breeze Mayor Ed Gray is entering the race to represent District 2 in Florida's House of Representatives.

The district was represented by Clay Ford until his death from cancer last Monday.

It includes Gulf Breeze, Pensacola, Pensacola Beach and southwest Escambia County.   

With the state legislature currently in session, Ed Gray says finding someone with experience to represent District 2 is an urgent matter.

"I'll miss him. I miss him now," Ed Gray said.

Gray says he worked with Representative Clay Ford for years and that the two of them were very close.

"The only consolation I have about his passing is I truly believe he might be saying at this moment, 'Go for it, Ed. I want you to have this seat," Gray said.

Gray, who's 61, is a Republican. He's lived in Gulf Breeze since the 1960's.

Gray served as mayor of the city from 1984 to 1992.

From 2002 to 2010, was a Santa Rosa County School Board member.

"We need someone to hit the ground running immediately."

Right now, Gray is executive director of Gulf Breeze Financial Services and the Capital Trust Agency.

He's been helping provide loans for urban redevelopment projects.

"Gulf Breeze I think charges too much money to get new business in," said Sam Tucker of Gulf Breeze.

Constituents we spoke with say they hope jobs and the economy are high priorities for whoever winds up representing them.

"Government is getting involved in way too many things. That kind of scares me a little bit," said Maia Rizzy of Pensacola.

"What I'm gonna be all about is stopping a lot of regulations. You need someone that understands how to fit government with the pivate sector and what they're demanding and what they require.  And I'm used to that. I've been in the private sector a long time."

Others reportedly considering entering the race are Northwest Florida Tea Party chairman Mike Hill, Pensacola City Council member Larry Johnson, and attorney Frank White.

The Governor's Office is expected to issue an executive order with dates for a special election. We'll bring you that information as soon as it's announced.