The two candidates competing for the State House District 66 seat have starkly different solutions to the problems facing the community and the state. The issues range from drugs and crime to financing for education. And their ideas go from stiffer penalties for drug pushers to legalizing drugs and opening up federal "drug stores."
The backgrounds of the candidates vary just as widely.
Democratic incumbent Ron Glickman is seeking his third term in the Florida House of Representatives. He is a 34-year-old lawyer who has lived in Tampa almost all his life.
His Republican opponent, Jose Mijares, was born in Cuba and came to Tampa in 1960. He is a 70-year-old surgeon who helped open a Town 'N Country hospital.
On crime and drugs, Glickman says stiffer penalties and probation requirements, mandatory rehabilitation and more education are necessary. "You need to have drug treatment for the folks who are hooked," he said.
Mijares wants to legalize all drugs, open federal drug stores across the nation and then track those who shop there and get them into rehabilitation programs.
"If we make available to drug addicts all of the drugs free of charge, then we can solve the crime problem," he said.
Glickman says he is not sure society has gotten that desperate. "All potential ideas need to be explored," he said. "But I don't think that's something we should try first."
Of particular interest locally is how state cutbacks will affect county schools.
Glickman says he is open to tax increases, even an income tax if voters approve it. "If there's going to be an increase in resources, we're going to have to talk about revenues," he said. "So ultimately, the people are going to be deciding for themselves what type of educational system they want to have."
But Mijares says money won't solve the state's main education problem.
"You need to change the curriculum and make the children learn more," he said. "The curriculum is very soft for children in learning here. In Europe and (Japan), the children learn more."
The two candidates agree on using state lottery money to enhance education, not to replace a portion of the education budget so the money can be used elsewhere.
_ NORMA WAGNER
State House District 66 is the peninsula portion of Tampa south of Kennedy Boulevard, including the neighborhoods of Hyde Park, Beach Park, Sunset Park, Bayshore and Palma Ceia and the Gandy area. House members serve two-year terms and are paid $22,560 a year.
RON GLICKMAN, 34, is a lawyer who has been the District 66 representative since 1986. He earned his law degree at Florida State University and has a master's degree in public administration. He is a former Hillsborough County commissioner and criminal prosecutor. Born in Junction City, Kan., Glickman moved to Tampa as a child. He is engaged to be married in December. ASSETS: Condominium, savings accounts. LIABILITIES: Car loan. INCOME: Legislative salary.
JOSE MIJARES, 70, is a surgeon and founder of AMI Town 'N Country Medical Center. A graduate of the University of Havana in Cuba, Mijares was a general surgeon at the General Hospital of the Cuban Army in Havana during the 1950s and an assistant naval attache for the Cuban Navy in Washington, D.C. He was born in Santa Clara, Cuba, and came to Tampa in 1960. This is his first run for office. He is married and has two children. ASSETS: Home, condominiums, real estate, medical office. LIABILITIES: Mortgage, bank loans. INCOME: Medical practice, rental income.