Entrepreneur, Small Business Owner, Water Advocate, Artist, Organizer, Wife and Mother.
“I was encouraged to run by quite a few people who live in District 10 (which includes Baker, Columbia, Hamilton, and Suwannee Counties and the very northern portion of Alachua County). I would be honored to serve the people of North Florida in the Florida State Legislature. My background gives me unique qualifications to be an effective advocate for the people and natural systems here in the Springs Heartland.”
Merrillee and her husband, Doug Jipson, own and operate Rum 138, a landmark destination, ecotourism business and community center in south Columbia County. There, they rent canoes and kayaks, sell food, and run an art gallery that features the work of local artists who are focused on North Florida’s rivers and springs. Merrillee and Doug live nearby on property that fronts the Santa Fe River. The couple have two sons, Verlyn and Merrill.
Merrillee has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Ringling College of Art in Sarasota. She is a founding member and past president of Our Santa Fe River, Inc., an educational nonprofit organization working to protect the aquifer, springs and rivers within the Santa Fe’s watershed. As a result of participating in an extraordinary number of public governmental meetings, Merrillee brings with her the institutional knowledge of how local, state and federal our agencies have failed to operate fully in the best interests of our region.