CLEARWATER — Largo Mayor Pat Gerard announced Monday that she's running for the Pinellas County Commission seat currently held by Norm Roche.
Gerard, 63, has been Largo's mayor for seven years, winning three mayoral elections. She was a Largo city commissioner for six years before becoming mayor.
"At this point in time, there's only one other person who's filed for that race. I think voters need a choice," she said. "I think I have a lot of common sense. I make my decisions based on what my community needs, not on what's going to get me re-elected."
Gerard isn't the only experienced politician who will be gunning for the District 2 countywide seat in 2014.
State Rep. Ed Hooper, who's term-limited in the Florida House, announced earlier this year that he'll run for Roche's seat. Like Gerard, Hooper has experience at winning elections, having been elected to the House four times. He previously was a Clearwater city commissioner.
Gerard is a Democrat. Hooper and Roche are Republicans.
Gerard has long worked in social services. She is the chief operating officer for Family Resources Inc., a nonprofit agency that assists troubled teens.
As for Roche, who was elected in 2010, he plans to run again. He had previously left it an open question whether he would run in his current at-large district or in District 4, which is Commissioner Susan Latvala's seat.
Roche said Monday that he'll run for re-election in his current district.
"If I am blessed to win a second term, it will be my final one," Roche said.
Mike Brassfield can be reached at (727) 445-4151 or firstname.lastname@example.org.