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State Senate, District 20

State Senate | District 20

The District 20 Republican primary race pits veteran lawmaker Jack Latvala against Zahid Roy, a Clearwater small-business owner who lost a lopsided race to Latvala two years ago. The winner of the primary will face Libertarian Tony Caso in the Nov. 4 general election. Mike Brassfield, Times staff writer


Jack Latvala, 62


Business owner

Zahid Roy, 47


Business owner

Experience Latvala was born in Mississippi but has lived in Florida since 1961 and in Pinellas since 1979. Latvala, who first delved into politics in college as a campaign manager, has worked for the Florida Republican Party, been a lobbyist and owned a political direct-mail company. Today he owns several companies, including a printing business and carwash. He served in the Senate from 1994 to 2002, took a break, then won his current seat in 2010. Roy owns Auto Body Unlimited, a repair shop in downtown Clearwater, and has a background in computer technology. A native of Pakistan, Roy has lived in the United States since the 1980s and in Clearwater since 1992. He says his frustrations with the car insurance industry, corporate greed and apathetic lawmakers prompted him to run. After he received 14 percent of the votes in the district in 2012, he was suspicious of the voting results.
Education Bachelor's degree in political science from Stetson University Bachelor's degrees in mathematics and geology from University of Sargodha (formerly called Ambala College) in Pakistan
Why vote for you? My track record of getting things done on the issues that I get involved in for my district. I have a lot of experience up there (in Tallahassee). I've been a pretty independent voice. I try to do the right thing. It's time to take care of the issues that have not been fulfilled by our politicians for decades. To protect small businesses and the middle class, which creates most of the jobs and supports our economy. It seems that our politicians have turned their backs on the middle class.
What can the Legislature do to grow Florida's economy and create more jobs? We need to put more emphasis on specific industries and specific things we can do to grow jobs in those industries, and spend less time on social issues. I support less regulation for small- to medium-sized businesses. I will introduce a bill which will put a limit on the number of part-time employees. It will increase full-time jobs in our state.
Do you support offshore drilling in Florida waters? No. (Latvala has broken with some Republican lawmakers to oppose drilling off Florida's coast.) Yes. Not only offshore but also inland for natural gas, because it's clean energy.
Do you support the legalization of medical marijuana? No, I'm strongly against it. I think the amendment is written too loosely. In Washington and Colorado, medical marijuana was the first step to basically all-over marijuana. Yes, but it must be controlled and regulated properly.
Fundraising $448,535 None
Personal Father of adult son and daughter, two grandchildren, ives in Clearwater Single father of a 12-year-old son, lives in Clearwater


About the job: Redistricting two years ago created the current Senate District 20, which stretches from Largo to Tarpon Springs. State senators serve two-year terms and are paid $29,697 a year.

State Senate, District 20 08/14/14 [Last modified: Thursday, August 14, 2014 4:20pm]
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