Mayor Teri Johnston and the Key West City Commission recognized former City Commissioner Carmen Turner as the 2023 Women’s History Month Honoree.
Turner was the first and only Black woman to serve on the City Commission, appointed by Governor Lawton Chiles as Interim City Commissioner on June 30, 1995. When her predecessor was removed permanently from office by the Governor, the City Commission then appointed her to fulfill the term ending in 1997. She was then elected for two more terms before stepping down in 2005.
Turner noted that people ask her what drew her to public service, first her 10 years as a commissioner and, since then, working for the federal government.
“In 5th grade I discovered,” she explained, “that you could use government to improve the lives of people. That is so powerful and so important. I encourage people to pursue public service because it is a good and noble pursuit.”
Her comments were met with a standing ovation. Turner noted that Commissioner Jimmy Weekley started it all when he wrote a letter to Governor Chiles recommending she be appointed to the vacated seat.
Turner was born and raised in Key West and, in addition to her government job, she has her own company, creating healthy snacks for dogs.