Clear56° FULL FORECASTClear56° FULL FORECAST
Make us your home page
Instagram
Property appraiser

Little known, no-party candidates James DeMio and Rob Townsend had already announced plans to challenge incumbent Rob Turner in the general election when a porn scandal enveloped his office. The news broke just before the official candidate qualifying period. So state Sen. Ronda Storms hopped in the race and promptly thrashed Turner in the Republican primary. Former state Rep. Bob Henriquez also announced, advancing to the general election without primary election opposition. Bill Varian, Times staff writer

James DeMio, 46

Real estate broker

Bob Henriquez, 48

High school football coach

Ronda Storms, 47

State senator

Rob Townsend, 53

Generation process specialist

Party No party affiliation Democrat Republican No party affiliation
Experience DeMio, a native of suburban Cleveland, is a real estate broker and owner of Florida Property International, handling commercial and residential real estate transactions. He previously worked as a Realtor for Century 21. From 1990 to 2000, he was an officer, then administrator of the criminal and civil court that includes Cleveland. Administrative duties included oversight of purchasing, payroll and budgeting. He also has worked as a tax preparer. In 1995, he was found guilty of a misdemeanor for giving an aunt campaigning for political office more than the maximum contribution allowed. He is a Democratic Party committeeman.

Henriquez, a Tampa native, is the head football coach at Tampa Catholic High School and does some government affairs consulting. He served eight years in the Florida House of Representatives, ending in 2006 due to term limits. He was the appointed circuit administrator for the Pinellas and Pasco offices of the Florida Department of Children and Families and has previously worked as a project planner for private engineering firms. He has been a planner with the Hillsborough County Department of Planning and Growth Management and the Hillsborough County City-County Planning Commission. He was previously governmental affairs coordinator for what is now the Tampa Bay Builders Association.

Storms, a native of Des Moines, Iowa, has lived most of her life in Hillsborough County. She has served six years in the state Senate and abandoned a re-election bid after news of incumbent Rob Turner's pornographic correspondence broke. She previously served eight years as a Hillsborough County commissioner, attracting attention for her many campaigns against public prurience and other issues. She led the charge to block county recognition of gay pride events and displays, supported a series of tax rate cuts and is known as a child-welfare advocate. She briefly had a law practice and once taught English at Bloomingdale High School in Valrico. Townsend is generation process specialist for an Invenergy Services LLC power plant in Hardee County that was once owned by TECO Energy. He's also a farmer on land he owns on Lake Thonotosassa, where he says he grows beans and cantaloupe. He worked as a welder and mechanical technician for Rockwell International Corp. between 1989 and 1991. From 1984 to 1988, he was a sign installer. Between 1977 and 1984, he worked for AMAX Phosphate Co. in Plant City. He ran four years ago for property appraiser as a Republican, but was defeated by Rob Turner in the primary.
Education Bachelor's degree, finance, Ohio State University Bachelor's degree, political science, Princeton University. Bachelor's degree, English education, University of South Florida. Law degree, Stetson University College of Law Graduated from Plant City High School in 1976; took classes at the University of Florida in 1977
What are your most important qualifications for this office? Cites his real estate and administrative background. Lists his three years running an office of similar size, work experience in both the public and private sectors and an even demeanor honed by working with young people. "Integrity," she says. "That's what matters in this race." "I stand on principle and won't be swayed," he says. Says he has spent the past eight years studying the office.
Distinguish yourself from your opponents. "None of my opponents have any true real estate experience," he says. "The folks getting most of the publicity are from Tallahassee. They have political experience rather than professional experience to match this office." Touts his prior supervision of a large government office. Says his public experience has demonstrated an ability to work with all people in an agreeable fashion. Says her experience, credentials, stature and professional reputation set her apart. Says he will actively challenge legislation if he thinks it will unfairly or unconstitutionally further burden taxpayers.
What are your biggest priorities for the property appraiser's office? Says he will lower taxes by lowering assessments on homes and small businesses to better reflect the current reality of the market while going after larger businesses, which often have lawyers and lobbyists who fight for lower assessments, to ensure they pay their fair share. "I will level the playing field," he says. First, putting out a tax roll within five months of taking office. Identifying ways to streamline the office, healing an office that has been the subject of controversy, improving communication both within the office and with the public and improving the office's website. "Re-establishing professional, performance-based standards for the office." She says she regularly hears from residents about unequal treatment and unwillingness by the office to hear concerns. She says the office is top-heavy and needs an elected official who will lead by example and behave properly. To slowly and steadily lower assessments of those who bought during the peak of the housing bubble to more fairly represent property values now. Says he will slowly increase assessments if values rise sharply again, to minimize huge swings in tax bills.
What is the first thing you would change about the office? Lower assessments for homeowners while seeking to make sure large business owners pay their fair share, while also making sure property owners know the process for challenging assessments. Says he would conduct an administrative audit to identify things the office does well and what it could do better and more efficiently. Says she would change the culture of the office. "I would establish a merit-based atmosphere and respect for people that comes from the top down," she says. To have a good rapport and improve communication with the people served by the office.
Assets Office, home, rental properties, IRA Home, boat Home, land, savings, prepaid college tuition Unfinished home, land, farming equipment, retirement account
Liabilities Mortgages, bank loans Mortgage, bank loans Mortgage, home equity loan, student loans, bank loan Mortgage, unsecured loan
Income Real estate brokerage, $70,000; Income from two rental properties, $15,285 State of Florida (from when he was DCF administrator), $63,223; coaching job, $5,600; consulting work, $5,000 Senate salary, $29,697 Power plant salary, $105,000
Personal Single Married; two children Married; two children Married with three grown children, one teenage daughter
Website votedemio.com bobhenriquez.com rondastorms.com townsendfor
propertyappraiser.com
Email votedemioappraiser
@gmail.com
voteforcoach2012
@hotmail.com
vote4ronda
@msn.com
robtownsend76
@gmail.com

About the job: The Hillsborough County property appraiser determines tax exemptions and sets assessments for all real estate and tangible personal property in the county. The office has a staff of 130 and a budget of $10.7 million. The property appraiser serves a four-year term and is paid $153,052 a year.

Hillsborough County property appraiser: Bob Henriquez (D), Ronda Storms (R), James DeMio (no party), Rob Townsend (no party)

Little known, no-party candidates James DeMio and Rob Townsend had already announced plans to challenge incumbent Rob Turner in the general election when a porn scandal enveloped his office. The news broke just before the official candidate qualifying period. So state Sen. Ronda Storms hopped in the race and promptly thrashed Turner in the Republican primary. Former state Rep. Bob Henriquez also announced, advancing to the general election without primary election opposition.

Hillsborough County property appraiser: Bob Henriquez (D), Ronda Storms (R), James DeMio (no party), Rob Townsend (no party) 10/17/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, October 17, 2012 7:38pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2014 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...