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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Pasco tax collector's race draws initial candidate

24

February

Marisol Rodriguez, a 28-year-old tax professional at H&R Block in Holiday, is the first person to file as a candidate for the Pasco Tax Collector’s Office in 2016.

She won’t be the last. Incumbent Tax Collector Mike Fasano, a Republican, said he intends to file his pre-qualifying papers in March.

“Absolutely. I love my job, and in my opinion I am working with the finest employees any public servant can ask for,’’ Fasano said Wednesday afternoon.

Rodriguez, who is running as a non-partisan candidate, said she currently lives in Tarpon Springs, but is moving to a rented house in New Port Richey next month. A mother of two children, she said her interest in the financial industry and the lack of candidates for the tax collector’s job drew her to the race.

She said she hopes tax collector can be a stepping stone to other political office in the future.

“I really don’t want to stop at tax collector, my ultimate goal is eventually to become a (state) senator. This is getting my foot in the door and starting campaigning and getting everything together.’’

That would be the exact opposite of Fasano’s career trajectory. He served as a state representative, senator, and then representative again before Gov. Rick Scott appointed him tax collector in August 2013 following the death of longtime Tax Collector Mike Olson. Fasano ran unopposed in 2014 to complete the remainder of the term and now  will seek a four-year term.

Rodriguez registered previously as a member of the Democratic Party, but said she figured running as a non-partisan candidate was safer.

“I’ve noticed voters are not very partial to Democrats here,’’ she said “Our last governor was Republican and switched to Democrat and they gave him hell for it.  I’m trying to steer away from that kind of controversy.’’

The general election is Nov. 8.

[Last modified: Wednesday, February 24, 2016 3:49pm]

    

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