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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Rep. Kathy Castor visits Suncoast Tiger Bay Club



U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa, made her way across the bay Friday to meet with constituents just before a crucial election in her neighboring congressional district.

Castor, whose district includes a carved-out portion of downtown and south St. Petersburg, paid a visit to the Suncoast Tiger Bay Club.

Before taking questions, Castor gave an introduction that included her time in Congress from the middle of the Iraq war in the Bush era through the passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to the upcoming election in Congressional District 13.

“The eyes of the nation are upon our community,” she said.

Castor spent the rest of the event fielding questions from the crowd. She touched upon Congress’ perception of its staggering low approval rating, what the government ought to not stick its nose and fingers in, and how she would “bring home the bacon” to her portion of Pinellas County.

She said Congress is “not addressing challenges that face our country right now. They continue to be economical.”

Castor said she is pushing for Congress to focus on raising the minimum wage, immigration reform and fair pay for women.

Others asked about more conventional issues, like transportation and education.

Kim Black, president of Pinellas Classroom Teachers Association, asked about Castor’s thoughts about the federal role in education, especially when many in Congress are pushing to privatize education.

Castor said she has fought for accommodations for disabled students, the state’s Head Start program and Pell grant increases. She also condemned how the corporate entities that run private, charter schools have received most of the public education capital outlay funds, leaving none for public schools.

Black said she was satisfied with Castor’s answer.

“I thought she was spot on,” Black said. “She knows the hardship that our students have right here in our community and the struggles our public schools have.”

On the rest of Castor’s performance: “I think she has a good pulse of the community.”

Castor also asked the crowd what issues she should work on with the next Pinellas representative, be it David Jolly or Alex Sink.

The club booked her long before the congressional race began, said club president Art O’Hara.

“There would be some timeliness obviously, it wasn’t to go one way or the other,” he said. “But we knew she’d have some comment about it. It was mostly about the issues, particularly the flood insurance.”

The next Tiger Bay event will be St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman at noon on March 19 at the Yacht Club.

[Last modified: Friday, March 7, 2014 3:31pm]


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