NEW PORT RICHEY — Two familiar faces with similar platforms of focusing on economic development will face off for the mayor's seat in the April 8 city election.
Former Deputy Mayor Rob Marlowe and ex-City Council member Bob Langford were longtime players in New Port Richey politics until both departed for a year. Langford lost a bid to return to the council last year and Marlowe took a year off to spend more time with his family and focus on his downtown business, Gulfcoast Networking.
Now the former colleagues are running against each other in a race that each said has been respectful. They are vying to replace Mayor Bob Consalvo, who opted not to run again.
Marlowe, 60, said after two terms serving on council and a year off he is now ready to continue contributing to the city's emerging economic redevelopment. Marlowe said if elected, he would begin refocusing the city on projects such as redeveloping the Hacienda and the launch of a planned business incubator.
Upon qualifying to run, Marlowe said that he would run meetings more efficiently than his opponent and added in an interview that he would drive an effort to increase City Council workshops which would be idea sessions that would give city staff clearer direction.
"I think we would go forward as a much more unified force," Marlowe said.
Langford, 71, a sound recording engineer, said he decided to run when it appeared the seat would be won by Marlowe unopposed. He told the Times when he qualified he thought the public should have a choice.
And with his track record of nine years on the council and extensive community service, Langford said he is the best candidate.
"Mr. Marlowe is more about Mr. Marlowe than about the city. This is proven by his lack of community involvement other than serving on the City Council," Langford said.
Langford said his first order of business would be to push for re-installment of Community Redevelopment Agency grants that were successful in the past, promoting eco-tourism on the Cotee River and sprucing up city entryways along U.S. 19.