SEMINOLE — The dust has barely settled from November's elections, but two familiar faces already have lined up to run in the 2012 race for state Senate District 13, currently held by Republican Dennis Jones.
Seminole City Council member Leslie Waters, a former speaker pro-tempore of the state House, filed for the seat last week. Waters said in 2008 when she ran for the Seminole council that she was eyeing Jones' position.
"I am excited about this Senate campaign and am so pleased at the outpouring of support received since I announced," Waters said. "I look forward to listening to voters on the state issues important to them."
The other candidate is state Rep. Jim Frishe, R-St. Petersburg. Frishe represents House District 54, which stretches along the Pinellas beaches from Tierra Verde to Clearwater.
"This is something I've considered for quite some time," Frishe said. "It's something I have really thought about long and hard."
Waters, a Republican, said her 29-year career with Allstate Insurance in human resources, corporate and government relations management would be valuable in the Florida Senate. Also valuable, she said, would be community activism and her experience at the state and local levels of government.
Waters said she wants to focus on keeping insurance products accessible and affordable, reducing red tape for agriculture and small-business interests, maintaining mental health funding, and assuring quality-of-life issues for senior citizens.
Waters, 63, was born in Gulfport, graduated from Boca Ciega High School, attended St. Petersburg College, and graduated from Florida State University, earning both bachelor's and master's degrees.
She served in the Florida House of Representatives from 1998 to 2006, when she had to leave because of term limits. She was elected to the Seminole council in 2009. She said she plans to complete her term, which ends in 2012.
She is the owner of Leslie Waters Government Relations, a political science adjunct instructor at USF St. Petersburg and an international democracy training consultant.
Frishe said he wants to continue his campaign to encourage businesses by getting out of their way so they can produce private-sector jobs.
"I believe the best welfare check is a paycheck," he said.
Frishe served in the state House from 1984 to 1990 in a Pinellas Park-based House district. He won his current seat in 2006 and is in his third term representing House District 54. He is the House majority whip.
Frishe, 61, is a real estate broker-consultant who was born in New York and has lived in Florida since 1956. He has worked as an insurance agency manager as well as in affordable-housing investments and a cell phone tower business.
He has an associate's degree from Andrew College and a bachelor's from the University of Florida. He is married and has three children and one grandchild. His hobbies are growing roses and rooting for the Tampa Bay Rays and the UF football team.
Senate District 13 covers much of western Pinellas, including the beach communities, Dunedin, Seminole, South Pasadena and parts of Largo, Clearwater and unincorporated Pinellas.