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Hillsborough commissioner Victor Crist attracts tea party challenger



Republican Sharon Calvert, a Lutz activist best known as a co-founder of the Tampa Tea Party, has filed to challenge fellow party member and incumbent Victor Crist for the District 2 Hillsborough County Commission seat.

In a brief interview, Calvert, 54, didn't so much offer herself up as a contrast to Crist as state her desire to bring her conservative beliefs in favor of lower taxes and less regulation to the County Commission. "It's my district," she said, explaining why she has filed to run for this particular seat. And she said she wants to bring the discussion taking place at the national level about conservative values to local government.

One example of a contrast she did offer involved garbage. Commissioners voted unanimously late last year to seek bids for garbage pickup. But the vote came after a majority of commissioners, including Crist, stated they were leaning toward extending existing contracts, which drew a room full of protestors on decision day.

Calvert said she always favors testing the free market by seeking bids when government contracts near their expiration.

More, Calvert emphasized that she will be a consistent voice in opposition to any talk of raising taxes and fees in the future, particularly as the county grapples with declining tax revenues and cutbacks at the state and federal level. She was one of the community organizers of opposition to the 2010 proposal to raise the county's sales tax by a penny to pay for light rail and expanded bus service.

"I do believe that that might be coming back and I will fight it again," Calvert said.

"I think I bring a different point of view," Calvert said. "I think the people in this economic climate are open to different points of view."

 Attempts to reach Crist were unsuccessful Thursday.

[Last modified: Thursday, March 1, 2012 7:42pm]


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