Editor's note: Candidates not recommended by the Tampa Bay Times are given an opportunity to respond.
Darren Ayres U.S. House District 13, Republican
The Tampa Bay Times recommended C.W. Bill Young, but the reasons cited beg some clarification. The recommendation lists my strengths as being more fiscally conservative and goes on to cite my business experience. This makes a very compelling case for my candidacy against an incumbent who has done little to slow government growth.
I'm running for Congress to scale back the expansion of government, but I won't be a career politician; I've already had a career in the military and in business. The choice now is between an incumbent with a 42-year congressional career that has been part of the problem and a statesman like our Founding Fathers envisioned. Having no ties to the political culture of Capitol Hill, I will be free to represent my constituents and remain committed to implementing bold solutions to our country's problems.
Brian Battaglia Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Court Group 31
The public must have confidence in a judge's ability. The decisions that a judge makes will impact the lives of people far beyond the courtroom. For 26 years I've worked on cases ranging from civil disputes to arguing successfully in the Florida Supreme Court. Every case was important. I provided counsel to my clients at the most important moments in their lives and I have never lost sight of that.
Since the day I took the Oath of Attorney, I have been deeply involved in this community. Most significantly, I was an organizing member of the Community Law Program, an organization formed over 23 years ago to help individuals who lack resources to pay for legal services. My peers elected me to serve as the organization's president, vice president, and on the Board of Trustees for 18 years.
Commitment to community, experience and dedication to one's work, and the respect of one's peers — this is the foundation upon which good judges are made.
Agnes Theresa McCabe Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Court Group 45
A judge's demeanor is essential as it sets the tone in the courtroom. A respectful judge facilitates communication among all parties working for the best outcome. I have earned a reputation for treating everyone in a positive, respectful manner throughout my 27-year legal career. Consequently, I enjoy positive relationships with all those involved in the court system.
My legal experiences include child support enforcement and consumer advocacy. I was an assistant public defender in Tampa, and prosecuted more than 80 criminal jury trials in Georgia and Florida. I have advocated for children with the Department of Children and Families and with the Office of the State Attorney.
My diverse background and extensive courtroom experience more than qualify me for the duties of a circuit court judge. The judge is the leader in creating the proper courtroom atmosphere, and I would make that a priority if elected.
Scott Andringa Pinellas County Court Judge, Group 2
Operating my law firm is the crucible that best prepared me to be a judge. For 13 years I prosecuted routine and mundane cases as well as novel and difficult trials; a landmark dance studio fraud, a complicated interstate murder conspiracy and a homicide in Islamorada worthy of a Carl Hiassen novel. But as a business owner for the past six years my practice is more diverse. I went from one faceless client — the state — to many clients facing time. I seldom represent the affluent; frequently the indigent. I switch between state and federal court or trials and appeals; each with byzantine rules and rigid constituencies, while shouldering clients' hopes, fears and expectations. I mediate vitriolic civil disputes, such as foreclosures, and arbitrate juvenile diversion cases, often with difficult children and desperate parents. This diversity sharpens the mind, steels the nerves and undoubtedly has prepared me to be an effective judge.
Johnnie B. Byrd Jr. Hillsborough Circuit Court Group 14
The idea of electing judges means that the job of circuit judge is designed by the Florida Constitution to be filled by those who share the community's core values. I am running for circuit judge because my strong faith, my family values and my respect for the Constitution make me the best candidate.
My judicial philosophy is that I will always respect and uphold the Constitution. Founding Fathers did not intend for the judges to be lawmakers though judicial activism. I will never, ever engage in judicial activism.
My core values are manifest in my Christian faith and as a committed family man. Melane and I are members of Plant City's First Baptist Church, where I am a deacon and Sunday school teacher.
I believe in family commitment. I have been married for 37 years and have four children and a new grandson. We have taught our children to serve their community.