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Pinellas County Commission, District 2

County Commission | District 2

It took four tries for Republican Norm Roche to land his County Commission seat. To keep it for a second term, he must first defeat state Rep. Ed Hooper, an opponent with plenty of name recognition and a large campaign war chest. The Republican winner will face Largo Mayor Pat Gerard, a Democrat, in the general election. District 2 is an at-large seat, so all registered Pinellas Republicans can vote in this primary. Tony Marrero, Times staff writer

Norm Roche, 52

County commissioner

Ed Hooper, 67

State representative

Experience Roche ran three times as a Democrat and then won as a Republican in 2010. He is a former business development and environmental safety coordinator for an earth sciences company. Before that, he worked as a public information specialist in the county utility department. He is chairman of the Pinellas County Public Safety Coordinating Council and Value Adjustment Board, a member of the Early Learning Coalition board and a member of the Health and Human Services Leadership Board. Hooper worked as a Clearwater firefighter for 24 years, retiring as a lieutenant. He served as a Clearwater city commissioner from 1996 to 2000 and was elected in 2006 to the state House seat he holds now. He was majority deputy whip in the House from 2008-10. He served on the Pinellas County Charter Review Commission in 2010, chaired the county's Legislative Delegation in 2008-09 and chaired Pinellas County's Fire and EMS Task Force in 2004.
EducationPinellas Park High School, 1980 graduate; completed coursework at Eckerd College, among other schools Studied fire science and emergency medicine at St. Petersburg Junior College
Why should voters pick you in this race?"In a 2010 countywide election, our voters decided that the status quo was no longer acceptable. Our voters wanted someone on our County Commission who was solely focused on doing the job, not on the game of politics — a commissioner that would do his research, ask the tough questions, demand accountability, stand strong against excessive taxation and spending, and apply a 'trust but verify' approach to the business of county government. As a candidate in 2010 I pledged to do just that, and I'm proud to state that I've honored that pledge. It would be my privilege to continue 'doing the job' for another term if (voters) will have me.""Because it is time to solve some of the biggest issues facing this county: the fire and emergency medical services funding problem that has been going since the turn of the century; making sure that our world-class beaches have the appropriate funding to continue renourishment cycles; and saving the manufacturing jobs that could be lost due to the death of Congressman Bill Young. I have the contacts and information available with Enterprise Florida and the Department of Economic Opportunity as well as Visit Florida. I have the budget experience necessary to fund the programs we need to do and eliminate the ones we should not be doing."
Do you support or oppose the Greenlight Pinellas transit referendum?Oppose. "If it should pass in November, I will do my best to assure we can achieve our goal while minimizing the impact on, and liability of, an already stressed taxpayer base in Pinellas. I have and continue to advocate for an improved mass transit busing system in Pinellas.""I support most of the proposed improvements in Greenlight Pinellas, but oppose the source of funding. I prefer asking voters to allow the current Penny for Pinellas to be used for transportation improvements. If the voters approve Greenlight, it should be implemented as written."
Do you support the continued operation of Safe Harbor? What are the next steps for addressing homelessness?"We need to identify what Safe Harbor is, if it's effective, do we need to continue it, and if so, how. I support a countywide holistic approach to homelessness with the consolidation of resources and funding under the management, guidance and accountability of the Homeless Leadership Board. Our programs and structure are not as effective as we should expect and need to be reviewed in order to reallocate our resources to those programs that are most effective.""Safe Harbor is a much less expensive solution than jail. 2015 is the first year that the state budget is funding $4 million to assist all areas of the state with homeless programs. I fully support the Safe Harbor operation and would strive to ensure that all areas of the county share in the expense of this operation."
What are the top three areas the county should begin to reinvest in as the economy recovers?Economic development; parks and recreation; a long-range and smart redevelopment plan Manufacturing efforts; tourism; and attract new jobs and workforce into the county
Income, assetsCounty Commission salary; retirement account State salary; partnership in the Consus Group, a government and community relations counseling company; pension; two homes, certificates of deposit; annuity; retirement and investment accounts
LiabilitiesVehicle loan None
PersonalMarried with three children, lives in Dunedin Married with four children, lives in Clearwater
Website, emailvote4norm.com, vote4norm@yahoo.comelectedhooper.com, ehooper1@aol.com
Norm Roche, 52

County commissioner

Ed Hooper, 67

State representative

Experience Roche ran three times as a Democrat and then won as a Republican in 2010. He is a former business development and environmental safety coordinator for an earth sciences company. Before that, he worked as a public information specialist in the county utility department. He is chairman of the Pinellas County Public Safety Coordinating Council and Value Adjustment Board, a member of the Early Learning Coalition board and a member of the Health and Human Services Leadership Board. Hooper worked as a Clearwater firefighter for 24 years, retiring as a lieutenant. He served as a Clearwater city commissioner from 1996 to 2000 and was elected in 2006 to the state House seat he holds now. He was majority deputy whip in the House from 2008-10. He served on the Pinellas County Charter Review Commission in 2010, chaired the county's Legislative Delegation in 2008-09 and chaired Pinellas County's Fire and EMS Task Force in 2004.
EducationPinellas Park High School, 1980 graduate; completed coursework at Eckerd College, among other schools Studied fire science and emergency medicine at St. Petersburg Junior College
Why should voters pick you in this race?"In a 2010 countywide election, our voters decided that the status quo was no longer acceptable. Our voters wanted someone on our County Commission who was solely focused on doing the job, not on the game of politics — a commissioner that would do his research, ask the tough questions, demand accountability, stand strong against excessive taxation and spending, and apply a 'trust but verify' approach to the business of county government. As a candidate in 2010 I pledged to do just that, and I'm proud to state that I've honored that pledge. It would be my privilege to continue 'doing the job' for another term if (voters) will have me.""Because it is time to solve some of the biggest issues facing this county: the fire and emergency medical services funding problem that has been going since the turn of the century; making sure that our world-class beaches have the appropriate funding to continue renourishment cycles; and saving the manufacturing jobs that could be lost due to the death of Congressman Bill Young. I have the contacts and information available with Enterprise Florida and the Department of Economic Opportunity as well as Visit Florida. I have the budget experience necessary to fund the programs we need to do and eliminate the ones we should not be doing."
Do you support or oppose the Greenlight Pinellas transit referendum?Oppose. "If it should pass in November, I will do my best to assure we can achieve our goal while minimizing the impact on, and liability of, an already stressed taxpayer base in Pinellas. I have and continue to advocate for an improved mass transit busing system in Pinellas.""I support most of the proposed improvements in Greenlight Pinellas, but oppose the source of funding. I prefer asking voters to allow the current Penny for Pinellas to be used for transportation improvements. If the voters approve Greenlight, it should be implemented as written."
Do you support the continued operation of Safe Harbor? What are the next steps for addressing homelessness?"We need to identify what Safe Harbor is, if it's effective, do we need to continue it, and if so, how. I support a countywide holistic approach to homelessness with the consolidation of resources and funding under the management, guidance and accountability of the Homeless Leadership Board. Our programs and structure are not as effective as we should expect and need to be reviewed in order to reallocate our resources to those programs that are most effective.""Safe Harbor is a much less expensive solution than jail. 2015 is the first year that the state budget is funding $4 million to assist all areas of the state with homeless programs. I fully support the Safe Harbor operation and would strive to ensure that all areas of the county share in the expense of this operation."
What are the top three areas the county should begin to reinvest in as the economy recovers?Economic development; parks and recreation; a long-range and smart redevelopment plan Manufacturing efforts; tourism; and attract new jobs and workforce into the county
Income, assetsCounty Commission salary; retirement account State salary; partnership in the Consus Group, a government and community relations counseling company; pension; two homes, certificates of deposit; annuity; retirement and investment accounts
LiabilitiesVehicle loan None
PersonalMarried with three children, lives in Dunedin Married with four children, lives in Clearwater
Website, emailvote4norm.com, vote4norm@yahoo.comelectedhooper.com, ehooper1@aol.com

About the job: County commissioners set a countywide property tax rate, make land use decisions, oversee departments that provide a variety of government services, and set budgets for the sheriff, property appraiser, tax collector and supervisor of elections. The term is four years and the current salary is $93,575.82.

Pinellas County Commission, District 2 08/14/14 [Last modified: Friday, August 15, 2014 10:29am]
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