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Incumbent is staying involved

Dennis Duda, a middle school assistant principal, says he feels compelled to run for re-election to the City Commission. "I'm running (because) of a personal sense of responsibility, sort of putting into practice what I've been teaching my students for the past 15 years: Get involved with your community," he said.

Duda, a one-term incumbent, is being challenged by Gail Garrison in the race to represent District 3. The election is March 6, when St. Petersburg Beach voters also will pick a new mayor and District 1 commissioner.

"Probably my biggest satisfaction is that I have attended every civic association meeting in my district over the past two years," Duda said. "I feel very much in touch with the concerns of the citizens."

Duda, 39, said he also is committed to public safety, parks and recreation and to keeping taxes down.

"I've listened to the citizens and I have voted according to their concerns," he said.

Duda and his wife Amy Williams moved from Michigan to St. Petersburg Beach 12 years ago.

"I plan to live here forever and to raise my children here," he said.

Before becoming a commissioner, Duda was vice president of the Don CeSar Property Owners Association and was an alternate member of the city Board of Adjustment.

For nine years, he was the senior class sponsor at Seminole High School. He now is an assistant principal at Morgan Fitzgerald Middle School.