Tuesday, January 16, 2018
Politics

Pinellas County Commission, District 6

County Commission | District 6

Commissioner John Morroni was first elected in 2000 and wants four more years, but Seminole business owner Tom Rask says it's time for a fresh perspective. All voters in the district regardless of party affiliation can cast a ballot in this Republican primary because no other candidates qualified, so the winner gets the seat. District 6 generally covers Pinellas Park, Seminole, northeast St. Petersburg and south beaches. Tony Marrero, Times staff writer

 

John Morroni, 59

 

Pinellas County commissioner

Tom Rask, 50

 

Owner, Web publishing firm

Experience A real estate agent by trade, Morroni served eight years in the Florida House of Representatives before being elected to the County Commission in 2000. He serves on the Pinellas Planning Council and the boards of Tampa Bay Water and the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority. He previously served on the Value Adjustment Board, the Pinellas County Economic Development Council, the Health and Human Services Coordinating Council and the Tourist Development Council. Rask is owner and president of Logical Sites Inc., a Web publishing firm he established in 1996. Before that, he worked as a field engineer for an oil and gas technology firm. This is his first bid for political office but he is no stranger to the County Commission, often attending meetings to voice his concerns and criticisms about how government is running.
Education Bachelor's degree in history from Loyola University Bachelor's in materials science from Carnegie Mellon University, master's in electrical engineering from the University of Minnesota
Why should voters pick you in this race? "I am running to protect our water resources, create a more efficient government, implement responsible transportation improvements, preserve our environment and shoreline, and create sustainable jobs. I am proud and honored to have a wide coalition of support of more than 70 elected officials, our Pinellas firefighters and the Fraternal Order of Police. Public safety is a priority of mine and always has been. We must work with our local municipal leaders to ensure all residents of Pinellas County are protected. Because of experience, thorough understanding of the issues that face Pinellas and my lifetime of service, I am best prepared to lead on the commission." "Most Pinellas County commissioners do not engage in 'government for the people,' they engage in 'government for special interests.' In order to get better public policy outcomes, we first have to return to government for the people. I will work with anyone towards that goal, and I will respect the moral imperative to only serve a maximum of eight years. My solid educational and professional background coupled with my engagement in public policy over the last several years makes me well qualified and well equipped to serve. I will conduct surveys and outreach efforts at my own expense to find out what voters think on important issues."
Do you support or oppose the Greenlight Pinellas transit referendum? Support. "I supported putting the question on the ballot and if passed would work to attract funding from the federal government and the state." Oppose. "I have many reasons: insufficient population density; the advent of autonomous vehicles; the flawed process; it hurts low-income seniors and disabled veterans. An unnecessary effort that allocates 90 percent of its revenue to build and operate a streetcar system from Clearwater to St. Petersburg ... is not a plan I can support. If it passes, I will ensure fiscal controls and accountability."
Do you support the continued operation of Safe Harbor? What are the next steps for addressing homelessness? "I totally support the Safe Harbor concept and support the sheriff's plan to continue the Board of County Commission funding. We have to continue to have dialogue with all involved, including the cities, because not all are chipping in. It's a countywide problem." "Any support I might lend to the continued operation of Safe Harbor would depend on the specifics of the plan. I would have to see what the next director of Health and Human Services proposes and listen to the Sheriff's Office on the matter. The 'next steps' would require statewide and perhaps nationwide changes in how we handle mentally ill people, and recognize that we have different classes of homeless people: mentally ill, working families, substance abusers, seasonal visitors, etc."
What are the top three areas the county should begin to reinvest in as the economy recovers? Infrastructure; the five communities identified as pockets of poverty (East Tarpon Springs, North Greenwood, Highpoint, Lealman and southern St. Petersburg); and transportation (roads and sidewalks) Reduce the size of government; have the county improve itself through increased efficiency and cost savings; and become a "zero-population growth" model county
Income, assets County salary; home; time shares; retirement account; mutual funds Business assets and income; home; stock; real estate; retirement fund
Liabilities Car loan Mortgage
Personal Married, one child, lives in Treasure Island Married, two children, lives in Seminole
Website, email morroniforpinellas.com, [email protected] rask.com, [email protected]

 

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.

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