The Florida League of Cities (FLC), celebrating its 100th anniversary as the united voice for Florida’s municipal governments, recently recognized City of Mary Esther Councilmember Bernie Oder with a 2022 Home Rule Hero Award for his hard work and advocacy efforts during the 2022 Legislative Session. Councilmember Oder worked tirelessly throughout session to promote local voices making local choices, protect the Home Rule powers of Florida’s municipalities and advance the League’s legislative agenda.
“On behalf of the League and its legislative team, we’re very proud to present this year’s Home Rule Hero Awards to a deserving group of municipal leaders,” said FLC Director of Legislative Affairs Casey Cook. “We had a record number of Home Rule Heroes this year, which shows the dedication and impact of local officials on behalf of their residents and businesses in protecting local decision-making. These local officials were constantly engaged and actively advocating for their communities throughout the 2022 Legislative Session. They’re heroes for Home Rule and we thank them for their efforts.”
Home Rule is the ability for a city to address local problems with local solutions with minimal state interference. Home Rule Hero Award recipients are local government officials, both elected and nonelected, who consistently responded to the League’s request to reach out to members of the legislature and help give a local perspective on an issue.
The concept of Home Rule is a central issue for cities. As Councilmember Oder explains, “No one takes care of us better than us.”
Councilmember Oder is a retired US Air Force combat veteran and businessman. He is beginning his second term on the Mary Esther City Council, where he previously served as Mayor Pro Tem from 2018 to 2021. Currently, Councilmember Oder serves as the City’s representative to the Okaloosa County Public Library Cooperative Board and sits on the Board of the Northwest Florida League of Cities as the Second Vice-President.