John Dingfelder, Sandy Murman, campaign outside South Tampa library
Democrat John Dingfelder and Republican Sandy Murman, candidates in the race for the District 1 County Commission seat, have been making the rounds of early voting sites. On Monday, the two crossed paths outside the Jan Platt Library in South Tampa. Dingfelder, a former Tampa City Council member, was there waving signs with his wife and father. When asked what he thinks distinguishes himself from Murman, who served as a state representative from 1996 to 2004, Dingfelder said: "There's a huge difference between being a local legislator as compared to going to Tallahassee." Dingfelder said he's used to casting a vote and then answering for it when he sees constituents in the grocery story. Murman said the big difference is that she will hold the line on taxes. "My message to voters is we need to live within our means and get he economy and budget back on track," she said. Murman has proposed cutting commission salaries by 5 percent and reducing government regulations on businesses. Dingfelder wants to create jobs by creating a business incubator in conjunction with the University of South Florida that will focus on health care, energy and high technology. He also said he'd like to see the county cut health care costs by setting up clinics for county employees, their dependents and retirees. It's an idea the Tampa City Council rejected last week, but Dingfelder said had he still been on the board he would have supported it.
One key difference between the two: Murman opposes the proposed 1 cent transportation sales tax. Dingfelder supports it. On Monday, Dingfelder answered questions from voters who thought the tax would help pay for high-speed rail connecting Tampa to Orlando. It doesn't. It's only for light rail running between northern Hillsborough County and Tampa International Airport. "This penny is not about Orlando," Dingfelder told the voter. "Everybody's confused."