Editor's note: The Times offers candidates not recommended by the editorial board an opportunity to reply.
Mike Prendergast U.S. House District 11
The Times claimed that my tax plan doesn't add up while Rep. Kathy Castor desires even further increased spending. To say the government can't afford a tax cut is severely flawed logic on money ownership. The government doesn't create or earn your paycheck. It simply spends it.
Democratic Sen. Bob Graham didn't think I was too partisan when he selected me for a congressional fellowship while I was on active duty. The Times supported a candidate who has been proven partisan by voting 98 percent along party lines. When Obamacare was bullied through the House, the Times quoted Castor saying, "At this point, process is not important.'' That process is hearing all voices, even those not in your party.
Charlie Justice U.S. House, District 10
I have passed substantial legislation on health care, consumer safety and education, and I have put forth substantial proposals during my time in office. I am in our community every day. I am in touch with those on the front lines.
I showed up to save Florida jobs and save small businesses with tax relief. Bill Young failed to show up to vote for the jobs bill in Washington. Sadly, when he does vote, it is against closing the Medicare doughnut hole, costing our seniors. Frivolous earmarks don't count as leadership.
He is silent when we need a strong voice. We are in difficult times here in the district and in Washington, and the constituents deserve to have a representative who will not only show up but will show up with fresh ideas and a love for public service. This is not the time for complacency. Forty years is long enough.
Jim Hosler | Hillsborough County Commission, District 5
I have a serious agenda about job creation, urban renewal and budgeting that has not been matched by my opponents. I am a problem-solver who can make independent judgments and does not need to depend upon staff for direction.
I am the only candidate for District 5 with real-world experience in job creation, which is our most important issue. My experience includes heading Florida's small business development program under Gov. Jeb Bush and 18 years with the county planning commission, working with small businesses. Small businesses across Hillsborough County have been my biggest supporters, and I will be their best friend on the County Commission.
Your recommendation rightfully dismisses Ken Hagan as a serious candidate due to his mismanagement of the county's growth. Linda Saul-Sena has no program for job creation. While on City Council, Saul-Sena let her personal standards for urban design burden small businesses with unnecessary costs.
James Harold Jackson Pinellas School Board, District 7
As a retired college professor and lifelong learner, education has been my passion. I am running for School Board because our children are not getting the education they deserve.
Our schools need to be safe, world-class learning environments where all can succeed. In its recommendation, the Times stressed the importance of diversity. I agree, but with all due respect, there are many issues which are more important than skin color.
Fixing eight D and F schools is more important.
Improving school safety is more important.
Expanding fundamental schools, IB programs and magnet programs is more important.
Adding a fresh set of eyes which are not part of the group-think mentality is more important.
The School Board needs a new member who will bring bold ideas, not old ideas, to the table. That is why I am running for School Board.
Jeff O'Brien | Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Court, Group 27
Again, the Times chose not to mention my most positive attributes as a judicial candidate, none of which can be claimed by my opponent. First, my 20-year Martindale Hubbell AV rating signifies that my peers have given me the highest possible rating for my abilities as an attorney and for the highest ethical standards. Second, my 26 years as a Florida Bar Board Certified Civil Trial Lawyer represents the Florida Bar's highest level of evaluation of my competence and experience as an attorney. Finally, the voters should know that the two women who were previously in this race are now supporting me. The four of us spent a lot of time together on the campaign trail. We listened to each other and observed each other's demeanor, and I am very proud that LeAnne Lake and Kelly Ann Mc-Knight have chosen to support me in the general election.
Susan Latvala | Pinellas County Commission, District 4
It's not surprising that the Times recommended Bob Hackworth for the Pinellas County Commission. Obviously, my opponent is closer philosophically to the Times than I am.
As the Times recommendation said, "He will work for the development of new revenue sources.'' Pinellas citizens know that these are code words for, "He will support new taxes." I am proud that the property tax rate is now 9 percent, lower than it was when I took office.
I believe my constituents know what we have done during this period to improve Pinellas: reducing the crime rate, synchronizing traffic signals, protecting those who live in unincorporated areas and working to eliminate costly duplication of services.