It's not hard to find differences between the two candidates running for the House District 59 seat. Democratic incumbent Brian Rush supports abortion rights. He wants wasteful government programs eliminated but says Florida probably will have to expand its tax base to meet its needs. He favors growth management.
Republican challenger Polly Demma opposes abortions except when the mother's life is in danger. She is against more taxes and says growth management regulations are too strict. She says an improved education system could solve all of Florida's problems.
Rush calls Demma a "one-issue, pro-growth, development-oriented candidate."
"Her viewpoint that developers should be able to do whatever they want, or that growth management is too severe on them, is baloney," said Rush, a Tampa lawyer who has been in the Legislature since 1986.
Demma calls Rush one of the "part-time legislators who have made this state a mess."
"I'm running because I'm fed up with government," said the former high school English teacher. "I don't believe the people are being properly represented."
Neither candidate is hurting for money.
As of Sept. 27, Rush had raised $64,000 in campaign contributions and had spent $36,564.
Demma had raised more than $51,000 in contributions, including at least $1,000 from the Florida Home Builders political action committee and in-kind contributions of $28,000 from the Republican Party of Florida. She had spent almost $14,000.
Rush calls himself a conservative Democrat. He says government is wasting money on welfare programs that have helped create a huge underclass. He has called for more prisons and longer prison sentences for violent offenders.
Demma says she wants more vocational education programs, smaller class sizes and year-round schools. She thinks "the majority of our builders are conscientious of the environment" and that restrictions on development should be loosened.
_ BARRY KLEIN
State House District 59 includes northwest Hillsborough County, from the Courtney Campbell Parkway north to the Pasco County line. House members serve two-year terms and are paid $22,560 a year.
BRIAN RUSH, 32, is a Tampa lawyer specializing in civil litigation and business law. He has been a state representative since 1986. He is a member of the Carrollwood Civic Association, the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, the Hillsborough County Bar Association, the Florida Bar and St. Paul's Catholic Church. Rush was born in St. Petersburg and graduated from Boca Ciega High School. He earned a bachelor's degree and a law degree from the University of Florida. He is married and has two children. ASSETS: Homes in Tampa and Tallahassee, government securities, law practice. LIABILITIES: loans. INCOME: Government salary, law practice.
POLLY DEMMA, 36, was a high school English teacher in Tampa. She is a member of the Town 'N Country Civic Association board of directors, the American Association of University Women, the Carrollwood Business and Professional Women and Tampa Educators' Sertoma. She was born in Wurzburg, Germany, and graduated from Fort Pierce Central High School. She earned an associate degree from Hillsborough Community College and a bachelor's degree from the University of South Florida. Demma is the former owner of a refreshment store. She is married. ASSETS: Home. LIABILITIES: Mortgage, bank loan. INCOME: Savings.