Monday, February 19, 2018
Politics

Pasco officials support Fasano, including unlikely allies

Rep. Mike Fasano is garnering wide support from Pasco officialdom — including two unlikely allies — as he seeks to become the next tax collector.

Fasano, R-New Port Richey, said last week that he would like to replace Mike Olson, who died last month after 32 years in office. Gov. Rick Scott will name a successor.

A letter to Scott, signed by state Sens. John Legg and Wilton Simpson, state Rep. Richard Corcoran and House Speaker Will Weatherford, says "Mike Fasano is the ideal candidate for the job with a proven track record of outstanding constituent service and a dedication to Pasco County that is second to none."

The letter also bears the names of Elections Supervisor Brian Corley, schools Superintendent Kurt Browning, Clerk of Court Paula O'Neil, Property Appraiser Mike Wells, all five county commissioners and U.S. Rep Gus Bilirakis.

Who else signed it? Jim Mathieu, the newly minted county Republican Party chair who ran against Fasano in last year's District 36 House race, and GOP state committeeman Bill Bunting, a longtime Fasano critic.

Said Bunting, who predicted that Scott will appoint Fasano: "I just think that at this point in time that's where he should be. He's done enough in the Legislature, and he's been in the Legislature so long that I don't know if he's doing any more good. So this might be a way of taking him out, giving him a job with a good salary and saying thank you."

Fasano said he was grateful for the widespread support.

"I am humbled by the support my legislative colleagues and fellow elected officials from Pasco County have expressed to the governor. These individuals are truly dedicated public servants that I am honored to work with. To earn their confidence means more to me than I can put into words," he said in an email to the Times.

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