Editor's note: Candidates not recommended by the Tampa Bay Times are given an opportunity to respond.
Hernando County sheriff, Republicans
It would be disingenuous to say I wasn't disappointed with your decision to endorse my opponent; however, it was not a surprise. It would have been out of character for you not to endorse a politically entrenched incumbent.
I disagree with your statement that my campaign is geared toward employees and not the public. My campaign is geared toward both.
You can't have one without the other. The organizational climate which is set and reinforced by the Sheriff has a direct impact on the public. It is not the sheriff that comes to your house when you request assistance or pulls you over for a traffic violation.
The majority of the citizens will have no dealings with the sheriff, they will deal with people the sheriff leads and motivates. For this reason, I say with confidence, I am considerably more capable of leading the Sheriff's Office than my opponent.
School Board, District 4
You stated I have no vision for the county. I told you my main focus was to increase the high school graduation rate by decreasing the drop out rate in this county. I have done this myself as an educational administrator by including parents and motivating them to participate in their children's future.
Courtesy buses for students living less than two miles (from a school) had to be reinstated. I believe vocational and technical training can be expanded to more of our businesses and provide an opportunity for the students to get employment. The FCAT exam is not a reliable evaluation tool for the status of students, teachers, administrators and schools; another, more reliable instrument must be found. You stated my opponent would be willing to limit after-school activities. I believe this decision would be counterproductive. As an educator I used the after-school activities as an incentive to improve grades.
I believe in the education of all our children in this county; they are my children as well. Vote for a proven educator and educational leader, Helen Villafane.