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Candidates for Florida House District 44

The race for the District 44 seat in the Florida House pits Republican incumbent Robert Schenck against Democrat Diane Rowden. Schenck is focusing on the need to continue to downsize government and has been critical of Rowden's record of growing government as a former county commissioner. Rowden has countered by pointing out that the commission during her tenure lowered the property tax rate. She has also criticized Schenck's support for increasing fee costs.

About the job: State House District 44 includes most of Hernando County and portions of Pasco and Sumter counties. Representatives serve two-year terms, and the annual salary is $29,697.

More about these candidates

Diane Rowden, 61

Home health coordinator
D Robert Schenck, 35

State House member
Experience Born in St. Petersburg, Rowden is a 25-year resident of Hernando County. She served two terms on the County Commission and three years on the School Board. A retired flight attendant, Rowden currently works as a home health coordinator and community liaison for Nurse On Call. She has been active in numerous community groups and causes, including the Crescent Clinic, People Helping People, the Rotary Club Spring Hill Central, Love Your Neighbor and HPH Hospice. Schenck came to Spring Hill from New Jersey in 1980 and is seeking his third term in the state House. He was elected to the County Commission in 2002 and quit the job in 2006 to run for the House seat. Schenck has previously worked as a teacher at Central High School and as a teacher for homebound students, a physician's liaison for an insurance company and as a real estate broker.
Education She graduated from St. Petersburg High School, attended St. Petersburg Junior College and has receiving training through the Building Performance Institute. He graduated from Central High School, earned an associate's degree from Pasco-Hernando Community College and a bachelor's degree in social science education with a minor in history from the University of Central Florida.
Platform Rowden said she is running to continue her service to the community. She wants to use her experience to help people in ways she does not see from Schenck. Schenck is focused on shrinking the size of government and eliminating government rules that he says negatively impact small businesses and the community's economy as a whole.
What are your priorities in public education policy? Rowden was opposed to Senate Bill 6, saying it bullied teachers and threatened to raise taxes. Legislators should have talked to stakeholders before proposing such a bill, she said. Rowden also said she favors adequate funding for education since it is so vital to the state's future economic health. Schenck supported Senate Bill 6 and said he would like to see more accountability for school administrators as well as for teachers. He supports ending the tenure system because holding a teaching job should be based on a teacher's performance and in no other profession would someone have a job for life after just three years..
Do you support oil and gas drilling off Florida's coast? No. She pointed to her recent work with Hernando County's fishing community, after the gulf oil spill, to win an extension from the state on fishing license renewals as an example of her willingness to try to solve people's problems . Schenck in the past has supported oil exploration, but he said that should not be an issue in this election because oil exploration will not again be discussed in the Legislature while he is there.
What is your philosophy on growth management in Florida? Rowden is an advocate for smart growth and noted that her history shows she did not favor growth for the sake of growth. Instead, she would favor growth to maximize existing infrastructure, growth in areas already approved for development and says she would discourage leap-frog development. Schenck said that growth is a topic for local government and that he does not see the need for growth management at the state level, including the Department of Community Affairs. Regional planning councils and local governments can handle those issues, he says, and the state needs to cut the red tape to get Floridians back to work.
Assets Home, vehicles and stocks Home, vehicles, a lot, savings and checking accounts
Liabilities Mortgage and car loans Mortgage, car loans and a student loan
Income Pension and home care business salary Salary as a representative and income from real estate business
Personal Married with two grown children Married with two children
E-mail none

Candidates for Florida House District 44 10/11/10 [Last modified: Monday, October 11, 2010 2:43pm]
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