Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Ocala Democrat enters U.S. House District 11 race

David C. Koller, 43, of Ocala is looking to replace Rich Nugent, a Spring Hill Republican.

David C. Koller, 43, of Ocala is looking to replace Rich Nugent, a Spring Hill Republican.

How interested is David Koller in the machinations of the federal government? Interested enough to record C-SPAN so he can watch floor debates and committee meetings after work.

Watching Washington, D.C., from the comfort of his living room used to be enough for the 43-year-old Ocala business owner. Now he's running for Congress.

Koller is the third person and first Democrat to file to challenge Spring Hill Republican Rep. Rich Nugent, who is seeking a third term next year.

He said he has grown increasingly frustrated with the partisan gridlock in national politics.

"I tell my children that if you feel you can effect change for the better, then you have an obligation to do it," the married father of four said Wednesday. "This is a calling."

A native of Port Jefferson, N.Y., Koller moved to Florida in 1996 to work as a supported living coach for Arc Marion Inc. Two years later, he founded his own company, now called Developmental Service Trainers.

Using state and federal tax dollars and overseen by the state Agency for Persons with Disabilities, the for-profit company employs about 30 staffers who support and teach life skills to about 60 developmentally and physically disabled clients in Marion. Koller's wife, Victoria, is a co-owner and vice president. The couple have four daughters, ages 20, 18, 14 and 11.

Koller describes himself as a social progressive and fiscal conservative who would make a jobs bill a priority to improve the nation's schools and infrastructure. He said the tea party's obstructionists have hijacked the Republican Party and that Nugent's voting record on the debt ceiling and the budget have hurt underprivileged people in his district.

"I believe he marches to whatever the tea party wants and not constituents," Koller said. "It's an absolutist point of view."

In a statement, Nugent said he "ran as a conservative, was elected as a conservative, and I vote as a conservative," but is proud of his record working with Democrats to pass legislation on issues ranging from mental health to tax fraud.

"I look forward to a spirited debate with Mr. Koller about where the people of the 11th District stand on the size and scope of government," Nugent said.

A Democrat has an uphill climb in District 11, which leans Republican and includes Hernando, Citrus and Sumter counties and a portion of Marion County.

Two other political newcomers are also in the race. Matthew Schnackenberg is a 25-year-old retail worker and student from Masaryktown and a member of the Libertarian Party of Florida. Republican Michael Uminski, a 69-year-old retired engineer, lives in the Villages

Ocala Democrat enters U.S. House District 11 race 11/20/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 20, 2013 8:29pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Bucs journal: Kicker Nick Folk has up and downs against Jaguars

    Bucs

    JACKSONVILLE — If the Bucs had hoped for a drama-free night in their kicking game, they'll have to wait another week.

    Bucs kicker Nick Folk celebrates one of his two made field goals against the Jaguars, but he also misses a field goal and has an extra point blocked.
  2. Late night update: Second wave follows Tropical Storm Harvey

    Hurricanes

    UPDATE: At 11 p.m. the National Hurricane Center said a hurricane hunter plane had determined that Tropical Storm Harvey had formed with sustained winds of 40 mph.

    Three tropical waves are expected to strengthen as they move across the Atlantic Ocean. [Courtesy of the National Hurricane Center]
  3. Stealth anti-Jack Latvala group tied to Adam Putnam campaign

    Blogs

    Politico reports:

     A longtime political consultant for Republican gubernatorial candidate Adam Putnam is behind a website calling one of his rivals in the race, state Sen. Jack Latvala, a “liberal.”

  4. Council gives in to pension dispute with St. Pete firefighters

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — The City Council was forced to consider its first labor dispute in years Thursday when it gave the firefighters union most of the pension enhancements it has long asked for.

    The firefighters’ union won a pension victory at Thursday’s City Council meeting. [SCOTT KEELER    |      TIMES]
  5. Bucs top Jaguars behind strong first half

    Bucs

    JACKSONVILLE

    There is a reason why the air in Tampa Bay is filled with playoff talk. If Thursday night's 12-8 Bucs preseason win over the Jaguars is any indication, it's also going to be filled with footballs thrown by quarterback Jameis Winston.

    Doug Martin gets the Bucs’ only touchdown  on a 2-yard run, squeaking past linebacker Telvin Smith in the first quarter. He has five carries for 30 yards.