W. D. Childers

Male, Person

1933 –

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Who is W. D. Childers?

Wyon Dale "W. D." Childers is a former West Florida politician who served 30 years in the State Senate, from 1970 to 2000, including a stint as Senate President from 1980 to 1982 and as dean from 1988 to 2000. He holds the title of Florida's longest-serving state legislator. He earned the nickname "Banty Rooster" – after the diminutive, swaggering barnyard fowl – and became known for his eccentric mannerisms and colorful, folksy expressions. Childers was popular in his district for the ample state funding and "turkey" projects he sent home, including $12.5 million for the Pensacola Civic Center and the I-110 extension to Gregory Street. Initially a Democrat, he switched to the Republican Party in 1995.

After term limits forced him from the Florida Senate in 2000, Childers ran for the District 1 seat of the Escambia County Commission. He became embroiled in the soccer complex corruption scandal and was found guilty of violating the Florida Sunshine Law and of bribing Commissioner Willie Junior to help push the purchases of two properties, totaling $6.2 million, from Childers' associates Joe and Georgann Elliott.

Childers served nearly three years of a 42-month prison sentence in West Palm Beach and was released on 17 June 2009, after which he relocated away from Pensacola. On 8 June 2010, a federal appeals court overturned the bribery conviction, ruling that Childers' constitutional right to confront his accuser had been violated, as the defense team was not allowed to question Junior on his change of testimony.

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Born
Nov 25, 1933
Wright
Education
  • Florida State University

Submitted
on July 23, 2013

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