Pensacola, Florida
Wednesday September 17th 2014

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Outtakes—Hometown Hero

P.C. Wu is a throwback to an era in Pensacola when being an elected official wasn’t about power, notoriety or favoritism. The Pensacola city councilman shows us that local government doesn’t have to devious, manipulative and mean to get things done.

Paul C. Wu humbly serves because he was taught by his mentors to give back to the community.  He embodies the words “public servant” as Vince Whibbs, Sr., Warren Briggs and Lane Gilchrist did before him. A gentleman, scholar and peacemaker, he has served quietly, but also effectively.

A few years ago, he told me that he sought the council seat because he had a “burning desire to serve”. P.C. traced that desire back to his mother, who grew up in China, and his elementary school teachers.

“My mother never missed an election,” he told me. “She didn’t care if it was pouring rain or snow, she got out there and she voted.”

His teachers impressed upon him the concept of public service. “They told us that we all have an obligation to give back.”

Since he was elected to represent District 1 on the Pensacola City Council, P.C. has given back and been a voice of reason in city government that tried to resolve conflicts without melodrama. It’s a gift that he honed as a professor at the University of West Florida.

In 1998, he helped create the Pensacola Center for Creative Community Solutions, a diverse group of residents who functioned as a “think tank” to seek nonviolent ways of dealing with community problems. In 2002, Florida Governor Jeb Bush appointed P.C. to a four-year term of the Florida Commission on Human Relations.

He has been a Rotary District governor and past president of the Florida Association of Teacher Educators, the Florida Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development, and the Florida Association of Staff Development. He served as president of the Florida League of Cities from 2012-2013.

The Florida League of Cities recently honored P.C. for his leadership by presenting him with the 2014 Home Rule Hero Award. The prestigious award was given because of his hard work and dedication to Florida’s municipalities in lobbying the Florida Legislature for their needs.

It was nice to see others honor someone we have seen as a hero long before he served the Florida League of Cities. P.C. is a special leader and a role model for those seeking political offices in the future.

He is an example that nice people are still critical to good government.