Phillips to challenge Mariano for Pasco commission
New Port Richey Deputy Mayor Bill Phillips is challenging three term-incumbent Jack Mariano for his seat on the Pasco County Commission.
Phillips, 58, filed his candidacy papers Friday to run for the Republican nomination for the District 5 seat, held by Mariano since 2004.
Voters returned Phillips, a national account manager for a Lakeland-based roofing company, to the City Council in 2012, two decades after he initially served the city. He was re-elected without opposition in April to another three-year term. Phillips had been on the council from 1992-94, but departed and made an unsuccessful bid for Florida House of Representatives.
In the interim, he was a co-chairman for the citizens committee that pushed for the successful passage of the Penny for Pasco sales tax in 2004 and also headed the county’s impact fee review committee for more than a decade. Phillips and Mariano currently serve together on the Metropolitan Planning Organization, the long-range transportation planning agency for the county and its largest cities.
“I believe its time for new leadership within the county, and I have the capabilities to bring that leadership,’’ Phillips said. ‘‘I want to make a difference. I want to make Pasco County the best county it can be in the state of Florida.’’
Phillips said he will resign his New Port Richey Council seat next year.
Mariano is seeking his fourth four-year term on the county commission and has picked up early financial support from the building and development community. The Republican primary is Aug. 30, 2016.