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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Local union president Stephen Sarnoff files to run for District 67 seat



Stephen Sarnoff, president of the local branch of the Communications Workers of America union, has filed to run for State Rep. Ed Hooper’s seat in 2014.

Sarnoff, 61, who works for the city of Clearwater, has never held elected office before but has been involved in local and Democratic politics for years. As president of CWA Local 3179, a position he’s held since 1999, he represents city workers in Clearwater, Largo, Madeira Beach, Port Richey and St. Pete Beach. In the aftermath of the recession, he pushed city leaders to avoid layoffs and service cutbacks.

"I want to run because I simply want to change the balance of power in Tallahassee," Sarnoff said in a brief phone conversation on Monday.

"Whether it's not expanding Medicaid to 1.2 million Floridians, or it's the parent trigger bill to privatize the education system…you name it, I'm tired of it. I want to make sure there’s one more Democrat up there so the Republicans do not have a super majority to continue steamrolling the people of Florida."

Three Republicans have filed to run for the District 67 seat, which covers much of Clearwater and Largo, and has been held by Hooper (R-Clearwater) since 2006. This is his last year in the House because of term limits.

Hooper has already picked his favorite to replace him: Chris Latvala, the 31-year-old son of State Sen. Jack Latvala and a former aid to Hooper. By the end of September, Latvala had raised $90,105, a sum that, combined with the prominence of his last name, could make life difficult for his two Republican opponents: Christopher Shepard and Frederick Thomson.

As a city employee, Sarnoff will have to retire early in order to run for office, a move that will hurt him financially, but he said is worth it. "I thought it was my time to do something," he said.

[Last modified: Monday, October 28, 2013 12:59pm]


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