Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Bell Shoals Baptist Church draws candidates, voters to forum

BRANDON — All of them stumped on their qualifications.

Many recited laundry lists of endorsements. And about half of the 43 candidates who visited Bell Shoals Baptist Church on Tuesday night for the 20th installment of the church's nonpartisan forum invoked a nod to Christianity.

Candidates for federal, state and local offices meandered through two-minute speeches, highlighting their stances and, in many cases, reiterating Christian values in front of more than 600 note-taking attendees.

The session allowed voters to meet and greet candidates for an hour, then listen to their quips. The candidates, including gubernatorial Republican hopeful Elizabeth Cuevas-Neunder and Libertarian Adrian Wyllie, often injected one-liners and humor to stand out in a crowded field of mostly Republicans.

Adam Putnam, who is seeking re-election as Florida's commissioner of agriculture, elicited cheers when he ended his speech by barking, "Don't let our state turn into California with this marijuana initiative."

County Commissioner Victor Crist wanted to make sure everyone knew he was running for re-election, not seeking another office.

"I'm Victor Crist," he said. "Not Charlie. Please don't get your Crists crossed."

In the Aug. 26 primary for the District 4 Board of County Commissioners seat that Democrats and Independents are locked out of, all three Republican front-runners spoke.

Retired Air Force veteran and Tampa Police detective Rick Cochran said he has made 20,000 door-to-door visits.

Janet Dougherty described herself as a "lifelong born-again Christian" whose "most important support comes from God."

Stacy White, a member of the Hillsborough County School Board who also is running for the District 4 seat, hung his hat on his 2012 objection to classroom speakers from the Council for American-Islamic Relations.

"I stood with you when a radical Islamic group tried to speak at our schools," White said.

Most candidates also submitted answers to a 16-question survey designed by the Bell Shoals Community Issues Team. Don Kruse was the only GOP candidate to come out in favor of legalized marijuana, say Obamacare should not be repealed and argue that the 2008 Florida Defense of Marriage Amendment should not be enforced.

Robin Lester was the only candidate in the forum to favor the Common Core State Standards Initiative and favor special rights and protection for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals, according to the survey.

Eric Vician can be reached at ericvician@yahoo.com.

Know your candidates

The SouthShore & Brandon Times section will present its Know Your Candidates special edition Aug. 15. Our guide will help voters make an informed decision by providing a look at the candidates in all races on the Aug. 26 ballot and where they stand on the issues.

Bell Shoals Baptist Church draws candidates, voters to forum 08/07/14 [Last modified: Thursday, August 7, 2014 10:25am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Bucs WR DeSean Jackson knows only one direction: full speed ahead

    Sports

    TAMPA — DeSean Jackson is the "1."

    Actually, Jackson, the Bucs' latest weapon for quarterback Jameis Winston, with his blazing speed and game-changing splash plays, wears No. 11 in games.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver DeSean Jackson participates in an "open OTA practice" at One Buc Place, the team's training facility, in Tampa, Fla., on Tuesday, May 23, 2017.
  2. Karen Bail, who helped Gibbs kids get to Broadway, retires

    Stage

    ST. PETERSBURG — When neatnicks retire, they leave no trace behind. Their desks are clean, like a runway after the plane has taken off.

    Retiring musical theatre teacher Karen Bail warms up seniors Jonathan O'Brien, left, as Juan Peron and Addam Setzer as Che Guevara before the dress rehearsal of Pinellas County Center for the Arts (PCCA) magnet program's production of "Evita" at Gibbs High School in St. Petersburg, FL,  April 24, 2017.  The Andrew Lloyd Webber musical ran for three days in April at the school and was PCCA's last play of the year. CHERIE DIEZ   |   Times
  3. Florida's economy growing faster than other big states and far better than U.S. overall

    Business

    When it comes to economic growth, Florida's running alongside the leading states and well ahead of the United States as a whole.

  4. Florida wrestling forefathers to be honored

    Human Interest

    TAMPA -- Nicole Alonso and Belinda Romano never had to worry about defending their fathers in a "my dad can beat up your dad" kind of argument.

    A building at the Boys Ranch in Live Oaks was once named in honor of Tampa wrestler Eddie Graham for his financial contributions to the residential care facility for troubled boys.
  5. Tampa's bid for fifth Super Bowl means secret and expensive promises to NFL

    Tourism

    TAMPA — Before Tampa is officially named the host of the 2021 Super Bowl, local organizers have 90 days to convince NFL owners the city can meet certain conditions.

    What are they? That's top secret.