Mel Ponder was elected in November 2020 to serve as an Okaloosa County Commissioner, District 5. He is also the association executive and government affairs director for the Emerald Coast Association of Realtors, as well as the founder and president of Business Empowered. Mel previously served as mayor of the City of Destin and in the Florida House of Representatives, District 4, from 2016-2020. He earned his bachelor’s degree in finance from Florida State University. He lives in Destin.