NEW PORT RICHEY — Pasco County voters are filling two seats on the County Fee this election. In every case, they are going to be selecting between veteran commissioners looking for one other four-year time period and political newcomers who advocate new methods to deal with the county’s future challenges.
For the challengers, the arguments have centered on the necessity to have a fee that listens higher and welcomes extra enter from all of its constituents, curbing the fast development swallowing the county’s remaining inexperienced areas, and addressing tough challenges comparable to poverty and homelessness.
The incumbents are speaking about their delight within the progress made as Pasco continues to develop each residential and industrial areas, job creation, sensible spending choices and the way their expertise advantages the county and its residents.
The District 3 seat is presently held by Kathryn Starkey, 63. The district consists of southwest and central Pasco County and Starkey, a Republican, is looking for her third time period. She beforehand served as a member of the Pasco County Faculty Board. A California native who got here to Florida in 1973, she attended Florida State College.
Her opponent is Democrat Jessica Stempien, 40. A Pasco native, she is the water coverage coordinator for the Florida Division of Agriculture and Shopper Providers. Stempien, who has a bachelors diploma in environmental science, was impressed to run after engaged on flooding points in her neighborhood.
At a latest political discussion board sponsored by the Larger Pasco Chamber of Commerce and the West Pasco Board of Realtors, Stempien stated she is raring to make storm water points a precedence, and she or he desires to see development administration protect Pasco’s remaining pure areas. Her platform additionally consists of updating the county’s complete plan for development and enhancing its ordinance to higher shield wildlife corridors.
Whereas she helps persevering with to advertise the Penny for Pasco initiative, Stempien stated she want to see more cash devoted to defending the county’s surroundings. She steered that a technique to assist each the economic system and the surroundings could be to dedicate rural land in east Pasco to a horse park to attract folks and occasions to the realm.
Stempien additionally desires to see extra instructional alternatives to show residents the best way to work together with their authorities and extra probabilities for them to take action via citizen advisory committees.
Starkey stated the county already supplies such training for residents via its residents academy. She stated she additionally helps continuation of the Penny for Pasco however defends the present mixture of initiatives that are funded via that income supply. Starkey stated that environmentally delicate lands preservation, transportation initiatives and financial improvement are every necessary areas for future Pasco County spending.
The county, Starkey stated, is already buying and setting apart inexperienced areas for the neighborhood and providing rural designations and wildlife hall protections. However Florida is a rising state, so Pasco has needed to concentrate on offering alternatives for each residential and enterprise growth. “We’re rising in a great way,” Starkey stated.
Starkey pointed to her work in varied neighborhood points earlier than her first election and the way her involvement with each state and federal businesses is a plus for Pasco County. “Now we now have a voice,” Starkey stated.
The District 5 seat is presently held by Jack Mariano, 60, who has been a commissioner since 2004. Mariano is a Massachusetts native who got here to Florida in 1991. He’s in insurance coverage gross sales and has a bachelors diploma in economics.
Mariano has two opponents within the normal election: Brandi Geoit, a Democrat, and Victor Rodriguez, who has no social gathering affiliation.
Geoit, 44, is a local of Michigan who got here to Pasco County 11 years in the past. She has labored as a social employee and ran unsuccessfully for the District 4 fee seat two years in the past. She has a bachelors diploma in household research.
Rodriguez is a 33-year-old Brooklyn native who got here to Florida 29 years in the past. He’s a regional operations director for a heating and air-con firm and studied felony justice for a number of semesters.
Geoit has been important of Mariano’s opposition to the masks mandate in Pasco County. She desires commissioners to take heed to consultants, such because the Florida Division of Well being, and “not Fb memes” for details about defending the neighborhood from the coronavirus.
As a social employee who has labored with Pasco residents challenged by poverty, sickness, drug habit, unemployment, psychological well being points and homelessness, Geoit has focused these as areas Pasco commissioners needs to be making amongst their highest priorities. She additionally agrees that flooding and storm water points have vexed many areas of the county and must be addressed extra aggressively.
“Residents must know that county commissioners really care,” Geoit stated through the political discussion board. She added that site visitors is a matter Pasco wants to higher tackle, however she doesn’t agree with the Ridge Street Extension, which routes via a nature protect.
Mariano backs the necessity for the Ridge Street Extension, explaining that new north-to-south routes are badly wanted in Pasco County and that the design of the street has restricted environmental affect. He additionally defends the necessity to proceed to concentrate on financial improvement and is especially pleased with the work the fee has executed to create new, well-paying jobs as industries have picked Pasco County to be their house.
Voter assist for the newest gross sales tax renewal, which incorporates financial improvement, exhibits that residents perceive how necessary that’s, Mariano stated, and was additionally acknowledgment that they belief how the fee has spent their share.
Pasco County has been addressing neighborhood flooding points in addition to homelessness, which lately acquired an enormous increase from the fee via federal coronavirus help monies, Mariano stated. He additionally continues to push for Pasco to finish its masks order, saying as a substitute that the county ought to strongly suggest however not require residents to put on masks.
Rodriquez desires Pasco to higher tackle poverty. He stated the fee has been centered on the high-end development alongside the State Street 54 hall whereas not wanting onerous sufficient on the wants of west Pasco, which has seen decline. He helps job development however desires the roles to supply a dwelling wage since so many are struggling. He additionally helps higher applications to deal with associated points, particularly the homeless.
Transparency by the federal government is one other plank in his platform. Not too long ago, Rodriguez made a Fb video displaying beachgoers at SunWest Park. Whereas there have been two small indicators on the seashore asserting that the waters weren’t secure for swimming attributable to micro organism, the notices weren’t seen by many who have been there, and never till they paid to get into the seashore.
Rodriguez additionally desires to see extra transparency from the county on the place it spends its cash. He stated he believes the county is just not making full use of state applications that might additionally present funding, taking a few of the burden off Pasco taxpayers.
County commissioners should stay within the district they symbolize however are elected countywide. Their annual wage is $94,180.
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