Third candidate joins Pasco commission race
Businessman Chris Cooley is joining the Republican race for the District 5 Pasco County Commission seat.
Cooley, 45, filed his candidacy papers Friday and joins three-term incumbent Commissioner Jack Mariano and New Port Richey Deputy Mayor Bill Phillips in the race. No Democrat has announced for the seat. The primary election is Aug. 30.
Cooley, of Land O’ Lakes, said he is in the process of buying a house in District 5 and will live in the district if elected. Cooley, a Staten Island native who grew up in upstate New York, moved to Pasco County 2006 to assist his brother, former Pasco Sheriff’s deputy Josh Cooley who was wounded in the Iraq War.
The owner of Webco Dental and Medical Supplies in Hudson, Cooley announced a previous run for the Pasco School Board in 2009, but withdrew from the race about three months later. He said Monday he gave up that candidacy after discussing the job description with a sitting board member who warned him to “be prepared to be frustrated’’ because local school boards have so little authority to enact change.
His focus now is county government and he said he believes commission parochialism has hurt the county as a whole.
“You cannot sit back and complain about the way things are unless you’re willing to step up and willing to do something about it,’’ he said. “I just don’t know if there’s a good synergy among Pasco commissioners to take care of the needs of Pasco County. They need to get all on the same page and look at Pasco County as a whole.’’