Meet Your Commissioner

District 2 - Commissioner Carolyn Ketchel



Commissioner Carolyn Ketchel is Commissioner for District Two, which includes Shalimar, Okaloosa Island and parts of unincorporated Fort Walton Beach. She has been a resident of Okaloosa County for over 35 years, and brings a comprehensive background in Federal, State and local experience, with an emphasis on social services policy and administration which spans decades. She was named the Social Worker of the Year for the State of Florida in 2015 by the National Association of Social Workers. Most recently she was awarded the 2020 Presidential Advocacy Award by the Florida Association of Counties. This award recognized her tireless work advocating for the citizens of Okaloosa county and her work alongside then Rep. Mel Ponder, and in unison with community leaders, to create the Mental Health Diversion Program. 

Carolyn was accepted into the prestigious Presidential Management Fellowship program after graduate school.  While in Washington, she served on the White House Conference on Families under President Carter, and the Commission to Reform Social Security under President Reagan. She was recognized for her work on Social Security by President Reagan. Carolyn worked in the United States Congress as a Subcommittee Director for the powerful Ways and Means Committee.

Carolyn holds a Master’s Degree in Social Work in Administration, Social Policy and Clinical Counseling, and has a license in Clinical Social Work. During her years as a Social Worker she has worked on the macro-level, assisting to pass legislation on Social Security, child welfare and foster care.  Her public service in Florida includes serving on Congressman Jeff Miller’s district staff, and serving as Senator Don Gaetz’s legislative director. While working in Tallahassee, she was instrumental in passing legislation to bring a social work program to the University of West Florida. 

Carolyn’s local service includes directing Catholic Charities throughout Okaloosa and Walton Counties from 2007 to 2012. Carolyn has had a private Christian counseling practice for many years.  She is also a long time radio talk show host on WPSM, hosting a show called Christian Perspective with Carolyn Ketchel.  Carolyn was the Chairman of the St. Mary's School Board, and served on the Diocesan Commission on Catholic Schools. She received the Christus Medicus Award for her work in social programs from Bishop John Ricard. In 2013, she was appointed to the Florida Gubernatorial Faith-Based and Community-Based Advisory Council by Senate President Don Gaetz. She also served as the Vice Regent of the Choctawhatchee Bay Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution in 2020. In December of 2020 she was  awarded The National Society Daughters of the American Revolution Founder's Medal. This prestigious award is known as the Ellen Hardin Walworth Medal for Patriotism , honoring those who  displayed outstanding patriotism in the promotion of our American ideals of “God, Home, and Country” through faithful and meritorious service to community, state or nation.

Carolyn Ketchel has distinguished herself as a leader in Northwest Florida with a reputation for integrity and conservative ideals. She has been active in Republican politics for many years, serving as campaign director for two Republican congressional campaigns, and as an Okaloosa County Republican precinct committeewoman. She was elected to the Okaloosa County Commission, taking oath in November 2014; has served as Vice Chairman for 2016 , Chairman for 2017, Vice Chairman for 2020, and served as Chairman for 2021. She was inducted into the Okaloosa County Women’s Hall of Fame in 2018 for her Contemporary Service.

Carolyn is married to Circuit Judge Terry Ketchel. They have two sons, a daughter-in-law and three granddaughters. As a devoted wife and mother, Carolyn was extremely active in various school and youth activities with her sons. She served in numerous leadership functions in Boy Scouting, where both her sons achieved the rank of Eagle Scout.

Commissioner Ketchel’s community and county liaisons are as follows:

  • Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport 
  • Canvassing Board (Alternate)
  • Okaloosa Walton Transportation Planning Organization (OWTPO)
  • County Extension
  • County Transit                                                                               
  • Military Relations (Hurlburt)
  • Emerald Coast Regional Council