The field of Hernando County School Board candidates swelled to five Wednesday when Rhode Island transplant Michael Frazier announced that he would challenge incumbent Louise Boehme for the District 3 seat. Frazier, 31, said he chose to run against Ms. Boehme because he thought she practices "rubber-stamp government" and has failed to effectively represent the district, which includes northwest Hernando County.
"I'm not running just so my voice can be heard," Frazier said. "I'm running because I'm going to win this election."
Frazier, an administrator at a Tampa school for diesel mechanics, moved with his wife and five children to Hernando County from Rhode Island eight months ago.
Frazier said he does not think his short time in the area should preclude him from getting actively involved in decisions about the school system.
"I'm sure that question will come up," Frazier said. "But how long does a person have to wait before he gets involved in the education of his child?"
Ms. Boehme, 49, announced last week that she plans to seek a third term on the School Board. Ms. Boehme defeated two candidates, including the incumbent, in 1982, and ran unopposed in 1986.
She said Wednesday that Frazier's announcement might have a positive effect on her.
"This will motivate me to get going and get my campaign organized," Ms. Boehme said. "I have been dragging my feet a little, but this will get me going because I do not intend to lose this election. I have too many plans for the next four years."
During his news conference in front of the Hernando County Courthouse on Wednesday afternoon, Frazier may have committed the first ethical breach of the campaign when he gave the media material listing him as a Republican candidate.
School Board races are non-partisan.
While Frazier said he understood that concept, he also said he was closely aligned with the spending policies of the Republican Party.
But Dianne Hysell, Hernando's supervisor of elections, said Frazier is making a mistake if he is listing himself as a Republican on campaign literature.
"He should not be doing that," Ms. Hysell said. "I may need to have a talk with him so that we can nip that in the bud. I don't want to see any of the candidates getting into trouble this year.
"I know that it's the first time out for him," she added, "and he may just not know the difference."