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Conservative activist Terry Kemple will make third bid for Hillsborough School Board

TAMPA — Conservative activist Terry Kemple filed Tuesday for his third run at a seat on the Hillsborough County School Board.

Kemple, 66, made it to a runoff in 2012, challenging five-term incumbent Carol Kurdell.

He got 43 percent of the vote and lost the countywide race.

But Kemple carried most precincts in the Brandon and Valrico area, where he will run in 2014 to represent single-member District 4. Member Stacy White is vacating that seat to run for the Hillsborough County Commission.

Kemple has long been a lightning rod for controversy.

For much of last year he led a protest against campus appearances by the Council for American-Islamic Relations, which he accused of having terrorist ties. The organization denied the allegation and called Kemple anti-Muslim.

Kemple also has taken high-profile stands on social issues such as same-sex marriage.

"I'm not going to be Preacher Terry Kemple on the School Board," he said.

But he said he does want to see the district pay attention to state laws that call for schools to promote abstinence and the value of a monogamous, heterosexual marriage.

"Our kids are being sexualized in the schools and that's terrible," he said.

Mostly, he said he wants to see district leadership held more accountable for what goes on in the schools. "For years we've had a School Board that has been go-along to get-along," he said.

Also running in 2014 is one of Kemple's former primary opponents, Michael Weston. A math teacher at Freedom High School, the outspoken Weston is challenging Candy Olson in South Tampa's District 2. Olson has not said if she will seek a sixth term.

Kemple's competition in District 4 consists so far of Jereme Monette, a new-teacher mentor for the school district; and Melissa Snively, an insurance agent. Kemple makes his living as a management consultant.

Marlene Sokol can be reached at (813) 226-3356 or sokol@tampabay.com.

Conservative activist Terry Kemple will make third bid for Hillsborough School Board 04/16/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 16, 2013 11:39pm]
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