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State House | District 66

Larry Ahern, the District 51 incumbent, is moving into a district that became more Republican-leaning in redistricting. He faces newcomer Mary Louise Ambrose, who says she is seeking office in response to the rightward turn of the Legislature under Gov. Rick Scott. Ahern on his website pledges to cut wasteful spending and reduce regulations, while Ambrose promises to protect the middle class and to end tax breaks to wealthy individuals and corporations. Andrew Meacham, Times staff writer

Larry Ahern, 57

Business owner

Mary Louise Ambrose, 69

Business owner

RepublicanPartyDemocrat
He owns a pool remodeling company and co-owns a commercial real estate company. Born in Detroit, he served in the Air Force from 1973-77 and has lived in the Tampa Bay area for 31 years. He has volunteered with St. Vincent de Paul and Pinellas Hope, and served on the Pinellas County Sheriff's Advisory Board. He served on several House committees, championing smaller government and insurance reform. Experience She moved to Belleair Bluffs seven years ago from Moorestown, N.J. She is a lawyer who co-owns a property and casualty insurance company. She has owned several other small businesses, including a wedding photography service and a law practice. She is involved with the Belleair Bluffs Business Association, Faith and Action Standing Together (FAST), and her Episcopal church.
High school graduate, additional training in the Air Force.Education She graduated from Rutgers University and its law school.
"Continue to put Florida's economy front and center by providing an environment where businesses can start and/or grow through a stable tax base, a reduction of outdated regulations and less red tape that businesses have to navigate."What would be your top priority in the Legislature?"My top priority is jobs. I am not talking about $10-an-hour jobs but good jobs with benefits. This will require the governor and the Legislature coming off their position of 'cut corporate taxes' and to begin working for the small businesses."
"There needs to be some type of standardized testing so students don't end up in ninth grade with a fourth-grade reading level. Gov. Scott appears ready to look at the FCAT system and its role in educating students." What is your opinion of the state's heavy reliance on the FCAT?"There is gross overreliance on the FCAT ... Basing teacher pay on student improvement on the FCAT shows that the governor and the Legislature do not understand (or choose to ignore) the role of public schools."
"My objective is to create a stable, reliable and diverse supply of energy. Stability is important to ensuring energy supplies remain affordable for consumers. Reliability is critical in a state that has record amounts of lightning strikes."How would you change the state's energy policy?"We must encourage conservation and efficiency, and we must begin to replace fossil fuels with renewable energy. This is a long-term commitment, and the governor and Legislature must open their eyes to the future of energy."
(He voted against a bill that included light rail in Pinellas.) "It doesn't make sense. I don't think it solves any of the public problems it's intended to. And we know that all the costs at least doubled from what they had projected starting out."What are your thoughts on infrastructure proposals such as light rail or high-speed rail?"The governor's political decision to refuse funds for the Tampa to Orlando rail line was unconscionable. The Tampa Bay area is badly in need of mass transit, and the Legislature needs to find a way to make that happen."
Home, business owner, IRA, checking accountAssetsHome, business co-owner, retirement plans, checking account
None listedLiabilitiesMortgage, home equity loan, credit card
Pool remodeling business, state representative salaryIncomeInsurance business, Social Security
He is married and has two daughters and one stepdaughter. He enjoys golf, hiking and racquetball.PersonalShe is married to her business partner, and has four children and three stepchildren. She likes the Rays and reads "a couple of books a week."
larryahern.comWebsite marylou4you.com
larry@larryahern.comEmailmarylou@joebarkleyagency.com

About the job: House District 66 is a redrawn mid-Pinellas district that includes the beaches. State representatives serve two-year terms and are paid $29,697 a year.

Florida House District 66: Mary Louise Ambrose (D), Larry Ahern (R)

Larry Ahern, the District 51 incumbent, is moving into a district that became more Republican-leaning in redistricting. He faces newcomer Mary Louise Ambrose, who says she is seeking office in response to the rightward turn of the Legislature under Gov. Rick Scott. Ahern on his website pledges to cut wasteful spending and reduce regulations, while Ambrose promises to protect the middle class and to end tax breaks to wealthy individuals and corporations.

Florida House District 66: Mary Louise Ambrose (D), Larry Ahern (R) 10/17/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, October 17, 2012 3:16pm]
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