Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

State Senate | District 20

Political newcomer Ashley Rhodes-Courter faces off against veteran lawmaker Jack Latvala in this newly drawn district. Rhodes-Courter, a former foster child, is an internationally known child welfare activist who hopes to educate policymakers and advocate for better laws. Latvala says his main focus will be fostering economic growth and creating jobs. Keyonna Summers, Times staff writer

Jack Latvala, 60

Business owner

Ashley Rhodes-Courter, 26

Author and speaker

RepublicanPartyDemocrat
Latvala was born in Mississippi but has lived in Florida since 1961 and in Pinellas County since 1979. Latvala, who first delved into politics in college as a campaign manager, has worked for the Florida Republican Party, been a lobbyist and owned a political direct-mail company. Today, he owns several companies, including a printing business and car wash. He served in the Senate from 1994 to 2002, took a break, then won his current seat in 2010.Experience Rhodes-Courter was shuffled among 14 foster homes before her adoption at age 12. A child welfare activist since age 14, Rhodes-Courter is the author of Three Little Words, a New York Times bestselling memoir about the abuses she suffered within the system. Today, she writes, consults for child welfare groups and speaks about her experiences nationally and abroad. She says she is running out of a desire to advocate, educate and inspire others.
Bachelor's degree in political science from Stetson University EducationBachelor's degree in communications and theater, with minors in political science and psychology, from Eckerd College; pursuing a master's of social work at University of Southern California
Tailor higher education course offerings better to the available jobs today and projected into the near future. More emphasis on clean, light manufacturing as the third leg of our economic stool for Florida.What can the Legislature do to grow Florida's economy and create more jobs?We must invest in education, new industries (such as alternative energy) and infrastructure to lure quality jobs to Florida. We cannot simply rely on reducing our already low corporate tax rates that deprive our state of much-needed revenue.
We should work harder to build national support for a catastrophic wind insurance program, similar to national flood insurance. What is your solution to make property insurance more accessible and affordable? The Florida Legislature needs to take an aggressive role in limiting the ability of companies to increase premiums or decrease coverage for customers without substantial and transparent justification for doing so.
It should not be repealed, but it should be changed. It should not be able to be used by those who are the aggressors in combative situations.Should "stand your ground" be changed? Repealed? A serious review of this law is needed. We must ensure that people can defend themselves in dangerous situations, but also protect innocent lives from vigilante justice or circumstances that can be defused without violent confrontation.
I support more use of toll lanes for new capacity. I do not support using toll facilities for existing capacity, such as the Howard Frankland Bridge. I support mass transit as one piece to be added to the future transportation mix. What would be your priorities for transportation? Increasing availability and access to mass transit should be a major legislative priority. Other states have proven it can be done inexpensively. Tallahassee's rejection of federal support for infrastructure projects is costing us jobs and future business.
Three homes, stocks and bonds, bank accounts and three companies worth $5,898,697 AssetsHome
$216,476 mortgage LiabilitiesMortgage, car loan, student loan
$252,183 from interest-bearing accounts, rental property, businesses IncomeConsultant work, freelance writing and public appearances
Lives in Clearwater; father of adult son and daughter; two grandchildren PersonalLives in St. Petersburg with her husband, Erick Smith; foster mother to three young children (and nine others in the past); she's due to give birth to her first child during election week.
jacklatvala.com Websiteashleyrhodescourter.com
jack@jacklatvala.com Emailrhodescourter@yahoo.com

About the job: Redistricting this year created the new state Senate District 20, stretching from Largo to Tarpon Springs. State senators serve four-year terms and are paid $29,697.

Florida Senate District 20: Ashley Rhodes-Courter (D), Jack Latvala (R)

Political newcomer Ashley Rhodes-Courter faces off against veteran lawmaker Jack Latvala in this newly drawn district. Rhodes-Courter, a former foster child, is an internationally known child welfare activist who hopes to educate policymakers and advocate for better laws. Latvala says his main focus will be fostering economic growth and creating jobs.

Florida Senate District 20: Ashley Rhodes-Courter (D), Jack Latvala (R) 10/17/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, October 17, 2012 3:38pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Taste of Tampa Bay: Pam's Roti Shop and Caribbean Market in St. Petersburg

    Food & Dining

    Pam Prasad, who is originally from Guyana, runs Pam's Roti Shop and Caribbean Market on 38th Avenue N in St. Petersburg with her two sons. Prasad loves to educate her customers about her food, customs and culture. The place is known for its variety of roti combinations, goat dishes and spices.

    Pam Prasad makes roti at Pam's Roti Shop at 2800 38th Ave N. in St. Petersburg. [LARA CERRI   |   Times]
  2. Tampa Pig Jig lineup: Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats, Justin Moore, more

    Blogs

    This year's Tampa Pig Jig will have a little bit of country and a little bit of soul.

    Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats
  3. March opening planned for renovated Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park

    News

    TAMPA — Dirt, wood and concrete filling the 24-acre Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park will become lawns, athletic facilities and dog parks by March, city officials say.

    A view from the Laurel Street bridge observation deck of the River Center that's being built at the Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park. Construction is underway for the renovation of the Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park in Tampa. [OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times]
  4. In Hillsborough, a social worker tasked with helping kids has troubles of her own

    K12

    CLEARWATER — As a social worker for Hillsborough County schools, Marissa Mitchell holds one of the system's most sensitive jobs, helping children navigate deeply personal family problems.

    Marissa Mitchell, recently released from Pinellas County Jail, is a social worker for the Hillsborough County public school system.
  5. Buccaneers defense was among NFL's best when its pressure got to the QB

    Bucs

    It doesn't matter how many times they've thrown a football. It doesn't matter how many seasons they've played. It doesn't matter whether they have a degree from Harvard or Central Florida.

    Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy recorded 6.5 sacks last season, but many of his other contributions didn't show up in the box scores. [ANDRES LEIVA   |   Times]