BROOKSVILLE — A retired deputy fire chief who made an unsuccessful bid for the Hernando County Commission two years ago now has an eye on a School Board seat.
William Kingeter, 73, of Spring Hill has filed for the District 2 seat held by Matt Foreman. Gov. Rick Scott appointed Foreman, a 29-year-old attorney, to the seat in September after veteran board member Pat Fagan stepped down in order to collect county retirement benefits.
School Board seats are nonpartisan. Foreman, a registered Republican, announced in January his intention to run for a full four-year term.
Kingeter, who works 32 hours a week as a security guard at Oak Hill Hospital, said he doesn't have a problem with Foreman's service and never planned to run for office again after his 2010 effort.
But Kingeter said he was troubled by the fact that no one else had stepped up to challenge Foreman, and he figured his 3½ decades of experience in civil service jobs would make him a viable alternative.
"I thought the people should have a choice rather than someone being given the office by default," he said.
A native of Jersey City, N.J., who came to this area 12 years ago, Kingeter is a Navy veteran who retired in 1989 as deputy fire chief for the Newark, N.J., Fire Department. He had previously worked as a fire marshal, a code enforcement director and a construction official in various New Jersey communities.
Kingeter said he gleaned extensive budgeting experience during his 36-year career, 20 of those as a supervisor, that would come in handy as the Hernando board faces what is expected to be another brutal budget year.
In 2010, Kingeter placed third in a three-candidate Republican primary for the District 2 commission seat.
Kingeter is a past member of the Hernando County Republican Executive Committee and the First Hernando Republican Club. He switched his voter registration status to no party affiliation in late 2010. He said he switched because, in the case of his commission race, the local party broke its policy of not favoring a candidate leading up to the primary.
He and his wife, Arlene, have three grown children.
The District 2 School Board seat is one of two up for grabs this year. Board member James Yant has not said whether he will run for a second four-year term in District 4. Three challengers have filed for that seat.
The qualifying period runs from June 4 to June 8.
In other political news, Julio G. Jenks Sr. recently filed as a Democrat for the District 3 County Commission seat held by Republican incumbent John Druzbick. Jenks, 54, is the first Democrat to throw in his hat.
Timothy Robert Alexander, 34, has filed as a no-party-affiliation candidate for the same seat. He had earlier filed as a Republican but registered for the party too late to run with that affiliation.
The recent filings bring to five the total number of challengers seeking to unseat Druzbick. One Republican and two no-party candidates had already filed.
Staff writer Barbara Behrendt contributed to this report. Tony Marrero can be reached at (352) 848-1431 or firstname.lastname@example.org.