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Florida House District 58: Strip club owner Joe Redner takes on Rep. Janet Cruz

Joe Redner, running with no party affiliation, takes on Democratic incumbent Janet Cruz, who won her seat by special election in February after Mike Scionti left the post to work in the U.S. Department of Defense.

About the job: District 58 covers neighborhoods north of downtown Tampa to Egypt Lake to West Tampa. State representatives serve two-year terms and are paid $29,697.

More about these candidates

Janet Cruz, 54

State lawmaker
D Joe Redner, 70

Janet Cruz traces her history in Tampa to great-grandparents working in Ybor City's cigar factories. In her 20s, she walked West Tampa streets campaigning with Lawton Chiles. She worked on many more campaigns before going to Tallahassee this year. "When this West Tampa seat came available, it was a chance to represent my roots," she said. She has sponsored a bill to penalize anyone helping a career offender elude law enforcement, which passed. She also sponsored a bill requiring public education programs to follow American Cancer Society guidelines in recommending breast screenings start at age 40, instead of the current recommendation of age 50. Although that bill didn't pass, the American Cancer Society named her freshman legislator of the year. Experience Joe Redner counts this election as his ninth run for office and his first for a state post. His prior runs, all unsuccessful, were for Tampa City Council and Hillsborough County Commission seats. He says he has refused to accept money from special interest groups during the campaigns because he doesn't want to be beholden to anyone other than the people. He is proud of his strip club, the renowned Mons Venus, but he wants to be known for more. He's a secular humanist who works out every day, reads three newspapers and eats a raw, vegan diet. "People question my motives. The only motive I have is to make this a better place for myself by making it a better place for you."
Associate's degree in opticianry,
Hillsborough Community College
Education GED
"I would work to collect what we're entitled to. Close loopholes on Internet sales that don't collect taxes and items like bottled water and Super Bowl tickets that aren't taxed. Our district is full of small businesses who all collect taxes. It's not fair for out-of-state companies to not." How would you balance the state budget? "Republicans don't want to raise taxes. Democrats don't want to cut. We're going to have to do both. Raise rates for gambling rights and raise taxes on the rich — like me — and cut all government employees' pay by 10 percent — except for teachers."
"Make capital available to small businesses, which are the backbone of our economy. In Tallahassee, I voted for a job package to incentivize small business owners. In August, I hosted a job fair at the West Tampa Convention Center with a $500 budget. About 1,500 showed up and several hundred found jobs." How would you bring jobs to our region? "Make education free from the womb to the grave. Companies want an educated workforce. Invest in mass transit and an energy policy, which 29 other states have. This would attract companies. Raise taxes on the rich so that they will invest their profits in their business, creating more jobs."
"Joe speaks about being this independent voice and I think it's honorable that he would like to point out corruption. But in Tallahassee we work as a body. Standing in the back of the room and hollering will not get you anywhere. You have to be willing to work with others. You have to be able to walk across the aisles." Compare
yourself to
your opponent.
"She doesn't have strength. We need people to stand up and point out corruption. Too many politicians are in the pocket of special interests, owing the private enterprises they are regulating. I will not invest a lot of money or accept donations. My opponent can't get elected without special interest money.”
South Tampa house, retirement plans, CDs and money market account. Assets Business interests including Mons Venus and commercial real estate
Car lease, mortgage Liabilities Security deposits on rental properties
$29,697 salary as a state representative Income More than $1 million annually from Mons Venus and management fees
Married to Dr. Stephen Rifkin, two children and two grandchildren Personal Divorced with five children, 11 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren Website E-mail

Florida House District 58: Strip club owner Joe Redner takes on Rep. Janet Cruz 10/05/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, October 6, 2010 2:52pm]
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