Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Three vie for Pasco commission District 2 GOP primary

WESLEY CHAPEL — Pasco Republicans have a choice among two up-and-comers and a political veteran for the District 2 County Commission primary election.

Ken Littlefield served in the state House from 1999 to 2006. He ran against Commissioner Pat Mulieri in 2010, losing in the primary. Littlefield, 70, says he enjoys making public policy, which is why he jumped back into politics.

Bob Robertson, 57, a financial adviser, serves on the county's Library Advisory Board and Restore Act Committee. Until a month ago, he also served on the Lake Bernadette Community Development District, an elected position he had held since 2008. He says he's passionate about community service and wants to bring that enthusiasm to the commission.

And Mike Moore, a 43-year-old business owner, says the commission needs fresh ideas. He's making his first run for public office since a failed bid in 2010 for a mosquito control district position — but in some ways he's the odds-on favorite.

Moore has amassed the biggest campaign chest and enjoys the most clout as president of the Wesley Chapel Republican Club. He's also piled up endorsements, from Sheriff Chris Nocco and Commission Chairman Jack Mariano to state House Speaker Will Weatherford and U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis.

Campaign finance reports show Moore has pulled in more than $90,000 and spent more than $65,000 on his campaign. In contrast, Littlefield has raised barely $9,000 and Robertson about $13,000. Together, the two have spent about $17,000 — roughly a quarter of what Moore has spent.

The money could be key. With 15,000 more Republicans than Democrats in Pasco, Republicans are favorites by default in general elections, making the primaries the races to watch. The three are vying to take on Democrat Erika Remsberg in November to replace Commissioner Pat Mulieri, who's retiring after 20 years.

Mulieri, meanwhile, has endorsed Robertson, citing his conservative credentials and insight into county government. He attends virtually every commission meeting and was among the first graduates of Pasco's Citizens Academy, which uses tours and lectures to educate citizens about government's inner-workings.

On issues, the three vary only in approach. On transportation, they agree on the need to expand and improve Pasco's roads, but differ over funding the work. Moore backs a gradual approach based on rising property assessments over several years to boost county revenue. In the interim, he'd spend reserve money from highway accounts on high-priority projects.

The other two would take steps to boost road funding now. Robertson backs higher gas taxes, but would lessen the impact on drivers by redirecting revenue from the Real Estate Transfer Fund and by revamping the county's paving assessment program by adding new payment schedules to increase cash flow.

Littlefield said "everything is on the table" when it comes gas taxes, property taxes or a combination to fund road work. "Whatever it takes."

The three also hold similar views on transforming Pasco into "a premier county." Robertson and Moore say job creation is the key. Littlefield said a "robust economy" is the main issue.

Robertson would broaden support for the county's Economic Development Council to attract employers: "While there are numerous housing communities planned for our county, we need to do more now to provide quality jobs for the residents that are already here."

Moore would streamline permitting and create a relocation task force of government and business leaders to market Pasco to businesses looking to move. He said he would "personally seek out companies that are looking to relocate."

Littlefield did not specify how to improve the economy, although he suggested making changes in permitting. He would insist building permits include a provision for services: "Growth must pay for itself and also provide a stream of revenue for maintenance of proposed projects."

Contact Rich Shopes at rshopes or (727) 869-6236. Follow @richshopes.

Three vie for Pasco commission District 2 GOP primary 08/07/14 [Last modified: Thursday, August 7, 2014 1:38pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Walmart opens first Pinellas County in-house training academy


    Seminole — It had all the hallmarks of a typical graduation: robe-clad graduates marching in to Pomp and Circumstance, friends and family packed together under a sweltering tent and a lineup of speakers encouraging the graduates to take charge of their future.

    New Walmart Academy graduates are congratulated Thursday morning by associates during a graduation ceremony at the Walmart store, 10237 Bay Pines Boulevard, St. Petersburg. The Walmart location is one of the company's training academies where managers complete a one week retail course. David Shultz and Richard Sheehan, both from St. Petersburg, get high fives from the crowd.
[SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]

  2. Four questions with Largo City Commissioner Michael Smith before he helps lead the St. Pete Pride parade

    Human Interest

    A decade ago, Largo City Commissioner Michael Smith was afraid to tell his friends and family he was gay.

    Largo City Commissioner Michael Smith will serve as a grand marshal at the St. Pete Pride parade on Saturday. [City of Largo]
  3. Lawsuit: Florida contractor fakes death to dodge angry homeowners

    Human Interest

    SEMINOLE — For weeks, Glenn Holland, 67, crawled out of bed before the sun rose to look for a dead man.

    Last year Glenn and Judith Holland said they paid a contractor thousands of dollars to renovate their future retirement home in Seminole. But when they tried to move in on Dec. 14, they said the home was in shambles and uninhabitable. They sent a text message to contractor Marc Anthony Perez at 12:36 p.m. looking for answers. Fourteen minutes later, they got back this text: "This is Marc's daughter, dad passed away on the 7th of December in a car accident. Sorry." Turns out Perez was still alive. Now the Hollands are suing him in Pinellas-Pasco circuit court. [LARA CERRI   |   Times]
  4. What you need to know for Friday, June 23


    Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what you need to know today.

    Graffiti butts are everywhere in downtown St. Pete. What's going on? [CHRISTOPHER SPATA | Times]
  5. Owners to level Port Richey flea market but may rebuild

    Public Safety

    PORT RICHEY — The owners of the recently shuttered USA Flea Market have agreed to demolish all structures on the property, leaving open the possibility of rebuilding the weekend shopping attraction, according to Pasco County officials.

    Pasco County officials shut down the USA Flea Market after it received hundreds of citations for health and code violations.