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Jimmy Lodato makes fourth run at local office by joining race for Hernando County School Board

By Megan Reeves
Times file
Jimmy Lodato has announced his candidacy for the District 3 seat of the Hernando County School Board.

After three failed attempts at election to the Hernando County Board of Commissioners, Jimmy Lodato has joined the 2018 race for School Board.

Qualifying isn’t until June, but Lodato, 75, filed for the District 3 seat this week. That spot will be vacated by board Chairwoman Beth Narverud, who has filed to run against incumbent Wayne Dukes and political newcomer Christopher Toohey for the District 2 seat of the County Commission.

Each time Lodato, a Tampa-born man who has lived in Hernando County since 1999, ran for County Commission (2012, 2014 and 2016), school issues were at the forefront of his campaign.

Leading up to the 2016 race, he told the Tampa Bay Times he wanted to build a better relationship between county government and the school district. He suggested the school system, with the support of county leaders, partner with local businesses to create training programs to prepare students to enter the workforce.

Lodato in 2015 was one of the voices behind the successful effort to revive the county’s half-cent sales tax for school capital improvement projects. The initiative passed by an overwhelming margin.

In a press release, Lodato says his visits to schools and conversations with students and teachers about their needs during the tax campaign motivated him to enter the race for School Board.

His campaign slogan is “I listen — I care.”

Lodato is a graduate of Tampa’s Thomas Jefferson High School with one year at the University of Tampa. He served as president for Accelerated Sales Corp. and chief executive officer of Motivated Sales and United Sales and Marketing Co. He is past president of the Tierra Verde Community Association in Pinellas County and has been a board member of the Hernando County Education Foundation. Together with his wife of 36 years, Tammy, Lodato has four adult children.