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Rep. Legg needs to live in the district he represents

Like many of the people he represents in Tallahassee, state Rep. John Legg is trying to balance family life with professional responsibilities. He is an educator, legislator, husband, and father of a growing family.

Unfortunately, for Legg, R-Port Richey/Trinity, the balance is tilting away from his required residency in House District 46. Essentially his neighbors are no longer his constituents.

State law requires elected officials to live within their districts upon their election. Legg purchased his house in Driftwood Village in unincorporated west Pasco in January 2005, two months after his election to the Legislature. Legg previously lived in the Trinity area and ran unsuccessfully for a different House seat, District 45, in 2002.

But his domestic status changed Jan. 1, 2007, when Legg wed and became sharing living quarters with wife Suzanne and her three children in their Longleaf home, which is outside the district. The couple now has a 6-month-old son, Jack. In other words, Legg's wife and children have one legislator as part of the household, but are represented in Tallahassee by another, Rep. Tom Anderson, R-Palm Harbor.

How much domestic time Legg spends with the family and how much he spends at what he called his legal residence — the place he keeps for voter registration purposes, but not for homesteaded property purposes — is unknown. Legg doesn't even know. Or, at least he couldn't say when questioned by Times staff writer Jodie Tillman. "I can't put a number on it,'' Legg said.

Are we really to believe he spends each spring in Tallahassee away from his family and then plops down 10 miles away from his wife and children after the legislative session ends?

Here's part of the answer: Legg spends so little time at his home in Driftwood Village, he didn't know whether or not the property was for sale. He said it was, but said there was no for sale sign outside the property. The Realtor he identified as marketing the home contradicted Legg's account and said the agency did not have the house listed for sale. That might help explain why the place isn't moving.

Legg said the family planned to sell both homes and move into one house, but got caught in the falling residential real estate market. That is certainly understandable.

But, Legg would be wise to expedite consolidating his Pasco living arrangements under one roof. Wiser still, it should be under a roof in District 46, home to the people who voted Legg into office four years ago and who will be asked by the representative to do so again in November.

Rep. Legg needs to live in the district he represents 09/03/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, September 10, 2008 9:13am]
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