PORT RICHEY — Jim Mathieu, the Pasco Republican Party vice chairman and former Port Richey city attorney, is running for state representative.
Mathieu, 58, filed last week to run for the District 46 seat, currently held by Rep. John Legg, who is running for state Senate.
"I watch these 300 bills they pass each year," Mathieu said. "I'm not really comfortable that people understand what they're passing."
Plus, he said, "I don't know if we need 300 new laws each year. I've been saying that for 20 years. I think the public's ready to hear that."
Many people might know about Mathieu's candidacy from a flashing portable sign on State Road 52 near Hays Road. The sign urges passersby to keep Sheriff Chris Nocco and elect Mathieu. He said the sign was put up by Jeff Griffin, who owns the Hallelujah Land Ranch where the sign sits.
"He took it upon himself to put it up there," Mathieu said.
Mathieu moved to Pasco seven years ago after living in Philadelphia for 28 years. He was Port Richey's city attorney for two years, and also filled in as interim city manager for a few months in 2007. After the 2008 election, he was fired over his personal connections to Council member Nancy Britton and former Council member Dale Massad.
The district currently includes most of Pasco's coastline, including Hudson, Shady Hills, Port Richey and part of New Port Richey. Those boundary lines will change, as the seat must pick up roughly 14,000 residents during the once-a-decade redistricting process. Lawmakers are drafting the new districts now but can't adopt the new maps until January. After that, they will likely be challenged in court.
Mathieu said he expects the district to be less Republican-friendly than in the past. He also worries that the maps will be finalized just days before the June 8 qualifying deadline.
"There will be a lot of scrambling around," he said.
The only other announced candidate for the seat is Michael Kennedy, a Hudson Republican who has reported no fundraising activity since he filed in April.
Lee Logan can be reached at email@example.com or (727) 869-6236.