County Commission | District 4
When Dave Russell chose to not run for another term on the Hernando County Commission, he left wide open the District 4 seat, and a number of political newcomers have qualified to run. Two are Republicans who will face each other in the Aug. 26 primary. They are Jeff Holcomb, a software consultant, and Realtor Laurie Pizzo. The winner will face Democrat Dan Oliver and no-party candidate H. David Werder in November.
|Jeff Holcomb, 43 |
|Laurie Pizzo, 47 |
|Experience||Born in Baltimore, Holcomb came to Hernando County 12 years ago from Connecticut. An officer in the Navy Reserve with eight years of service, he served two active tours, providing support for overseas operations. He has also been active with the Republican Party, working on several campaigns and as deputy treasurer for the Republican Executive Committee in Hernando. In his spare time, Holcomb participates in his children's activities. A member of the Crosspoint Church, he volunteers with the children's education program there.||A Chicago native, Pizzo came to Hernando County in 1988. She works for Keller Williams Realty. She has worked on multiple candidate campaigns and political initiatives at the local and state levels. Pizzo also has been active in numerous community organizations, including the Greater Hernando County Chamber of Commerce, the Florida Commission on the Status of Women, the National Association of Realtors, Florida Realtors, the Hernando County economic development committee and the American Cancer Society.|
|Education||Holcomb has a bachelor's degree in economics from the University of Maryland, Baltimore, and a master's in intelligence studies with honors from the American Public University System.||Pizzo attended Eastern Illinois University and graduated from the Sawyer College of Business and the Bob Hogue School of Real Estate.|
|Why are you running for County Commission?||"I think there is an opportunity to improve the economy right now,'' Holcomb said. But he said the commission needs to "lean more to the right'' and become more conservative to make that happen.||"I'm running for the people's seat,'' Pizzo said. After so much work in the community with various organizations, she said she wanted to step up and provide leadership at the commission level.|
|What would you do to support economic development?||To improve the economy, Holcomb said, the county has to work with its economic development department to attract new businesses while also keeping the tax rate low. If improvements are made to the county's appearance and infrastructure, more businesses might express interest in locating here, but "it's a delicate balance with services (and their cost),'' Holcomb said.||As a Realtor, Pizzo said, she hears all the time from businesses that the county building department needs further streamlining. She said that the county also needs to be sure to make full use of its airport as well as providing other areas where the appropriate infrastructure is in place to entice business.|
|Why are you the better candidate?||Holcomb said his background and character make him the better pick. He pointed to his military and private sector experience as being more broad-based than his opponent's.||With years of involvement in many community organizations and years of political experience, Pizzo said, "I feel I have a grasp on the community.'' She said she also brings to the table the bonus that "I work well with others.''|
|Do you support the Penny for Projects sales tax for schools and the county?||Pleased that the voters will make the decision, Holcomb said he would likely vote for the sales tax. He said he would likely not have connected the schools' half cent with the county's because he is concerned that the school district will face real financial challenges if the tax doesn't pass.||Pizzo favors the sales tax. "I feel it's an investment in our future long term, and I always look long term.'' It also would provide a steady source of revenue, she said.|
|Assets||Home, retirement accounts, savings, investments and vehicles||Home, savings and checking accounts, and personal assets|
|Income||Salaries from Sungard Business Systems and from the Department of Defense||Real estate earnings, alimony and pay for advocacy work for a local trauma center|
|Personal||Married with two daughters||Divorced|
About the job: Hernando County commissioners are elected countywide but must live in the district for the seat they are seeking. Commissioners, who serve a four-year term, set policy and the budget for county operations. District 4 encompasses south-central Hernando County. The annual salary is $64,912.