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County Commission | District 3

Because of the defeat of current District 3 Commissioner John Druzbick in the primary, there will be someone new sitting in the seat after the November election. It could be the Republican who beat Druzbick, Jason Sager. Or it could be the Democrat Druzbick beat four years ago, Diane Rowden. Greg Sheldon, who has no party affiliation, is also running for the seat. There is also a write-in candidate, Tanya Marsh. Barbara Behrendt, Times staff writer

Diane Rowden, 63

Retired flight attendant

Jason Patrick Sager, 38

Purchasing manager

Greg Sheldon, 33

Contractor

PartyDemocratRepublicanNo party affiliation
Experience Born in St. Petersburg, Rowden is a 27-year resident of Hernando County. She served two terms on the County Commission and three years on the School Board. She ran unsuccessfully for the state House of Representatives two years ago. A retired flight attendant, Rowden has worked in marketing for various home health care companies and Pine Brook Pharmacy and most recently worked in public relations for Republic Services. She has been active in numerous community groups and causes, including the Crescent Community Clinic, People Helping People, the Rotary Club Spring Hill Central, Love Your Neighbor and HPH Hospice. A native of Dunedin, Sager came to Hernando County in 1982. After high school, he spent four years in the Navy and lived in New York City from 2000 through 2005. He has worked at several companies, specializing in home theater design and installation, and is currently the purchasing and logistics manager of Beautiful Homes Inc. in Spring Hill. Sager ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 2010. Active politically in New York, Tampa and Hernando County, he organized the original Hernando 9.12 group, which later merged with the Nature Coast 9.12 Project. A native of Pennsylvania who grew up in Hernando County, Sheldon has been in construction since he was 18. He has been a state-licensed contractor since he was 23. He is president of GCLS Contracting.
EducationGraduated from St. Petersburg High School and attended St. Petersburg Junior College Graduated from Hernando High School and attended Pasco-Hernando Community CollegeGraduated from Central High School and is a certificate holder from Camtech School of Construction
How should the county balance its budget?Rowden says she would work with the county administrator to find ways to consolidate county departments. In the long term, she says, the county's bottom line will improve from an influx of new businesses and the success of existing businesses.Sager opposes any tax increase. He supports zero-based budgeting and says he would be willing to sit with every county department head to analyze the budget line by line to determine where to cut. He also supports charter government as a way for the county to control its own structure and costs. Sheldon has expressed concern about the county's spending habits and says officials need to be careful how the county handles contracts, especially those for large projects such as road projects and public works projects like the Hernando Beach Channel dredge. He also says economic development would help the county's finances in the future.
Do you support the fixed-route transit system known as THE Bus?Mass transit is a necessary service government should provide, Rowden says. She says some residents have no other transportation options, and the door-to-door service the county must provide in those cases would be far more expensive than THE Bus.Sager opposes THE Bus because the county can't afford it, he says, and it is not well used. The need for THE Bus is critical, Sheldon says. Operating the fixed-route system shows outside companies that Hernando is set to meet their business needs.
What should the county do to stimulate economic development and diversify the tax base?In the short term, Rowden says the county needs to work with existing businesses, as she says she has done in recent months, to help them succeed. In the long term, the county needs to develop a master plan for economic development, and it must contain a component with the school district to ensure students are prepared for future opportunities.Sager's plan for economic development includes centralizing government review of plans for new and existing businesses, seeking out manufacturing and high-tech firms, cutting redundant regulations and stabilizing tax rates for commercial and residential properties. He opposes cash incentives to businesses because the county can't afford them.Sheldon is confident that if the county works to create a technical training program for the county's students and adults and works side by side with the private sector, it will achieve the economic development it needs.
Why are you running?Rowden says she is seeking a seat on the commission to provide people with another choice. For the last four years, she says she has seen the county cut services and fail to focus on helping businesses grow. Helping the community, she says, was her hallmark when she served on the commission before, and she says she wants the opportunity to do that again.Sager says he is running because he believes he can do a better job than his opponents. He says he has a big-picture view of the problems facing the county, with his top priority creating jobs. To do that, he says, the county has to become a more attractive place for business.Sheldon says he does not believe that the county is going in the right direction, so instead of sitting around and talking about it with friends, he decided he would run for the commission.
AssetsHome, vehicle, stock and household belongingsHouse and vehicles House, vehicle and interest in business
LiabilitiesMortgage and loansMortgage and loan Mortgages and loan
IncomeDelta Airlines retirement, state retirement, salaries from Boomer Productions and Comfort KeepersSalary from Beautiful Homes Salary from GCLS Contracting
PersonalMarried with two grown children Married with a son Married with a son and a daughter
Website electdianerowden.com jasonpatricksager.com gregorylewissheldon.com
Emaildiane.rowden@gmail.comjsager@yahoo.com gregs31800@gmail.com

About the job: Hernando County commissioners are elected countywide but must live in the district for the seat they are seeking. Commissioner set policy and the budget for county government operations. District 3 encompasses the northwest portion of Hernando County. Commissioners serve four-year terms and are paid $62,579 a year.

Hernando County Commission District 3: Diane Rowden (D), Jason Sager (R), Greg Sheldon (no party)

Because of the defeat of current District 3 Commissioner John Druzbick in the primary, there will be someone new sitting in the seat after the November election. It could be the Republican who beat Druzbick, Jason Sager. Or it could be the Democrat Druzbick beat four years ago, Diane Rowden. Greg Sheldon, who has no party affiliation, is also running for the seat. There is also a write-in candidate, Tanya Marsh.

Hernando County Commission District 3: Diane Rowden (D), Jason Sager (R), Greg Sheldon (no party) 10/17/12 [Last modified: Thursday, October 18, 2012 10:58am]

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