BROOKSVILLE — Paul Douglas, president of the local chapter of the NAACP, prefiled paperwork late last week to run for the District 5 seat on the Hernando County Commission, making him the third candidate in the race.
Douglas, 67, incumbent Jim Adkins, 62, and Michael Barsanti, 47, a local businessman, are all seeking the seat. All are Republicans.
Adkins said there are "some unfinished things'' he wants to accomplish on the board.
"I would like to continue on with the economic development, get some good clean industry in there and get this unemployment rate down,'' Adkins said.
Before his election, he had retired as chief of the Brooksville Fire Department.
Adkins said he also wants to continue to push to keep taxes from rising, especially during the current difficult economic conditions.
Barsanti is an estimator with his own business, MB Cabinets and Millwork Services. He came to Hernando County nine years ago from New York's Long Island.
"I'd just like to see more leadership,'' Barsanti said of the current commission.
He said he's running because he's frustrated with the commission's handling of a variety of issues, including the Hernando Beach Channel dredge, the increase in the county budget and using reserves to balance the budget.
"I love Jim Adkins to death,'' Barsanti said. "But I just think he has lost his way.''
A native of Pittsburgh, Douglas has lived in Hernando County since 2003. He owned an environmental remediation company before his retirement.
While he has thought about running for the commission for some time, he decided it was time because "I have been witness to a County Commission that, in my mind, needs some sanity,'' he said.
"I can see confusion, see everybody with their ideological bent to them, but no one seems to see the constituents out there are truly hurting,'' Douglas said. "We've got no place to go but up.''
He said he doesn't believe Adkins is an effective leader. Douglas said he has the skills needed for the job.
"I know how to talk to people,'' he said. "I know how to get them working together.''
Barbara Behrendt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (352) 848-1434.