The Times offers candidates not recommended by its editorial board an opportunity to respond. Here are some of the responses to recommendations for the Aug. 26 primary races.
Pasco School Board candidate, District 2
The Times questioned my leadership because I "wouldn't tell other people how they should vote" on Amendment 5. Is that wrong? My objective is to inform voters and let them make their own choice. Voters can be assured that I already have been at the forefront in the leadership role with the School Board. At various times, I have spoken to the board concerning topics such as multiuse of school facilities, affordable housing issues, safety and security.
I suggested that a credentialed psychologist be placed on the hiring board, and I proposed that a new school be named "Veterans" in honor of all those who have served and are serving our nation. Veterans Elementary School opens today in Wesley Chapel.
I have a master of science degree in education and have been involved in education at various levels throughout my career. I worked 25 years with the U.S. Department of Justice and retired as a supervisor of education for the Bureau of Prisons. My military service includes three years active duty in the Army, and I retired after 27 years in the Army Reserve.
I believe I am the most qualified candidate because I have taught in a variety of learning environments: public school, military settings, community college and adult education. I have been a teacher, a supervisor of teachers, and have established vocational training programs.
I am not tethered to any special interest group, which often influences platforms. My objective is clear: I will fairly represent all residents.
Pasco School Board candidate, District 2
As the candidate with the longest record of public service to our community, and the most diverse professional experience, I am uniquely qualified as the ideal leader to serve on the School Board. I am a business leader, a community organizer, a dedicated volunteer, and most importantly, a caring parent who has a passion for helping children.
What sets me apart from the other candidates in this race is my specific plan for building upon the success our district has achieved in recent years. I participated in various town hall meetings that were held last year as the district collaborated to develop a five-year strategic plan for success. As an active board member, I will take a hands-on approach to implementing the goal areas outlined in this plan, which include increasing academic achievement; distributing resources equitably; preparing students for success in the global economy; managing growth through working with local officials; constructing state-of-the-art, energy-efficient learning environments equipped with the technology needed in the business world; and promoting fiscal responsibility.
As the candidate who values fiscal responsibility, I will ensure that the district prioritizes its budget to direct hard-earned tax dollars into the classroom. The task of balancing the budget during difficult financial times requires leadership and courage of conviction.
There is no greater calling than to serve others. Our children deserve a public servant who is willing to fight for their best interests, and our community deserves a leader with the skills needed to facilitate change. With a lifetime of service to this community, I stand ready to be that agent of change.
GOP candidate for Pasco Commission, District 5
Rich Jenkins has the ability as well as the tenacity to bring accountability back to Pasco County government. Rich Jenkins brings to Pasco County 15 years of finance and management experience. This knowledge will serve him and the county well in future budget discussions.
Jenkins showed his talent by helping to create Florida's fourth underwater archeological preserve. He wrote the original proposal to turn the USS Massachusetts into a state preserve. This earned him a commendation from the Florida secretary of state.
Jenkins was the only candidate at the Dade City forum to offer any ideas for new revenue sources for the county. Jenkins keenly noted that the county could generate revenue funds by selling advertising on county buses. This shows part of the ingenuity that has made him a success.
Jenkins is an unabashed supporter of public safety. He believes that government's most sacred role is to ensure a peaceful and safe environment for its citizens. As such, he will support policies that will further the training and equipping of Pasco's firefighters, EMS and sheriff's deputies.
Jenkins is an advocate for bringing new industry into the county and developing high-paying jobs. This will create a better tax base and employ the citizens of Pasco County.
Rich Jenkins is a devoted father and husband who enjoys flying, scuba and most sports. He is a member of the Loyal Order of Moose, the West Pasco Chamber of Commerce, Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association as well as several Pasco County Republican clubs.