This time, Jackie Toledo’s camp says it’s her opponent who has the hard hat problem
Seems like it wouldn’t be a Jackie Toledo campaign without a fuss involving hard hats.
This time, however, it’s Toledo’s side that’s pointing an accusing finger at her Republican primary opponent, construction company founder Rebecca Smith.
In response to a recent Smith mailer to voters in state House District 60, a consultant working with Toledo’s campaign sent an email to the Tampa Bay Times saying that as someone in construction, Smith should know about Occupational Safety and Health Administration workplace safety rules.
"Let's play a fun game called 'what's wrong with this picture?' ” consultant Ryan Wiggins said. Why, she asked, is Smith shown "on an active construction site with two workers in hard hats without one on her own head? And, why is she so brazen to send out the photo of her breaking those safety regulations to the voters of HD 60? I mean, I get that she wants to show off a good hair day, but safety matters. Does she not think the rules apply to her?”
Smith said the photo on her flier was taken last year before she entered the race. And she said there's no violation of OSHA standards, offering an opinion from Vanna Lanh, identified as an OSHA-authorized construction safety trainer, that standing under a finished concrete ceiling in an area where there's no construction overhead or nearby "presents no conflict with OSHA."
"I am hopeful this election remains focused on the policies that are most important to the voters and does not become marred by negative campaign tactics and personal attacks," Smith said in an email. "The voters deserve an opportunity to decide who is most qualified and will best serve our community’s interests as our state representative."
In Toledo’s last race, she was the candidate facing the construction-site questions.
When Toledo ran for Tampa City Council last year, her campaign shot video of her on an active Florida Department of Transportation construction site and later used the images in a campaign commercial.
The problem then wasn’t Toledo’s sporty pink hard hat, but that the shoot came as a surprise to the FDOT, which said she didn’t ask for permission or provide proof of the required insurance. Later, Toledo campaign consultant Anthony Pedicini acknowledged that doing the TV ad without FDOT permission was “a mistake.”