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Incumbent Rose Rocco faces Wayne Dukes for County Commission District 2 seat

Democratic incumbent Rose Rocco is seeking her second term on the County Commission. She is challenged by Wayne Dukes, who has made two previous unsuccessful runs at a seat on the commission. While Rocco points to her work on community initiatives in south Brooksville and Hernando Beach as reasons voters should give her another four years on the commission, Dukes is critical of the commission's spending practices.

About the job: County commissioners are elected to four-year terms in a countywide election and must live in the district for the seat they are seeking. Their job is to set policy and the budget for county government operations. The current annual salary is $61,074. District 2 encompasses southwest Hernando County.

More about these candidates

Wayne Dukes, 65

R Rose Rocco, 69

County Commissioner
Experience Retired after 32 years in the Air Force in civil engineering and fire service, Dukes is making his third attempt to win a seat on the County Commission, running as a Democrat in 2006 and a Republican in 2008. He is a member of the Republican Executive Committee, past president of the Hernando Beach Property Owners Association, a member of the Hernando County Port Authority and belongs to numerous other organizations, including several Republican clubs, VFW Post 10209 and American Legion Post 186. A resident of Hernando County since 1987, the Brooklyn native is seeking her second term. She ran for the commission in 2002 and again in 2004, both times as a Republican, without success. She switched to Democrat in 2006. Before retiring, she worked in accounting and customer service and served as a sales representative. Past president and founder of Operation PRIDE, a community cleanup organization, Rocco has been active in numerous organizations, including the Hernando and East Pasco Federation for the Blind, United Communities of Hernando County, Forest Oaks Civic Association, Forest Oaks Crime Watch, Spring Hill Central Rotary and Kiwanis of the Nature Coast.
Education Dukes graduated from Hernando High School, earned two applied science degrees from City College of Chicago and a bachelor's degree from Thomas Edison State College. A graduate of East Patterson High School in New Jersey, Rocco also has taken various business and professional courses.
Platform He believes that county government must end its "tax and spend" mentality and be more accountable to the taxpayers. He has spoken out seeking cuts in spending for tourism, THE Bus, and vehicle purchase and maintenance costs. She points to her tenure as a commissioner as proof of her ability to work with all parties and her tenacity to fight for things that will benefit Hernando County. She is especially proud of her work with the south Brooksville and Hernando Beach community initiatives.
Facing another multimillion-dollar revenue shortfall next year, how would you balance the county budget? Dukes said he would focus on the expenditures for goods and services and he would use his expertise to streamline costs. He also said that privatization of some county functions should be explored. Job creation is critical so families can keep their homes and the tax base can remain strong, Rocco said. She also favors streamlining permitting to encourage new businesses. She supports the ongoing work to make the county's government structure more efficient.
What is your position on the county's mass transit system, THE Bus? Dukes has never been in favor of THE Bus. He said he believes it was "set up poorly at the beginning and went downhill from there.'' He said he sees the system as "a bottomless pit for wasting tax dollars." Hernando County's elderly population needs mass transit to have access to critical medical care, Rocco says. In the near future, the service will connect with nearby counties, a plus to promote business and economic development, she says. Having such a service also gives Hernando County an edge in applying for federal grants.
How can the county diversify an economy too reliant on residential homebuilding? Dukes would work to fix what he calls "the least business friendly building department in the tricounty area'' and would want to see stronger promotion of the county to small businesses. He would also like to see the community college offer more vocational and technical courses to retrain residents for new trades. Rocco said the county needs to aggressively market such assets as its rail system, the airport, proximity to the interstate and the Suncoast Parkway. New manufacturing ventures and green industries would be a good target. Retraining of the workforce also must be a priority.
Assets Real property and bank accounts Home, bank accounts and retirement account
Liabilities Mortgage Mortgage
Income Pension and interest County Commission salary, interest and Social Security
Personal Married with two grown daughters from a previous marriage Married with three grown children

Incumbent Rose Rocco faces Wayne Dukes for County Commission District 2 seat 10/10/10 [Last modified: Monday, October 11, 2010 2:47pm]
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