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Candidate backs "green' issues

He's a commercial real estate broker who says he has a heart for the environment.

Mike Webb, a Democrat, filed Friday in the nick of time to run against Republican state Rep. Heather Fiorentino of New Port Richey. The two will face each other and Libertarian Jon Kueny in the race for state House District 46 in the general election on Nov. 5.

Friday was the deadline for candidates to qualify for the primary and general election.

Webb, 38, said he decided to run after talking it out with his wife and four children.

"At some point in time, you quit complaining about the status quo or you're willing to do something about it," he said. "I figured it was my turn to step up to the plate."

Webb was born and raised in New Port Richey and graduated from the University of South Florida with a degree in criminology. He's a commercial real estate broker for Coldwell Banker F.I. Grey & Son Inc. in New Port Richey. He lives in Seven Springs, outside the district, but plans to move if he wins.

He said he wanted to jump into politics to help preserve the environment.

"One thing that is a concern to me is the necessity of water resources to handle the exploding growth," he said. "A lot of people say, if you're in commercial real estate, how can you be an environmentalist? ... I'm saying we need to find a compromise to continue to find a growth mode but make sure our precious resources are preserved for our children. ...

"I think my position on natural resources and my career lend me the opportunity to have the perspective on both sides of the argument," he said.

Fiorentino said she agrees with his stance on the environment and that she has already taken measures to protect it, including forcing utility companies to stop dumping waste into waterways and lobbying to get more land for a much-coveted entrance on U.S. 19 to Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park.

"I think we do have to protect our environment, and I think I have a very good record for the environment," she said.

_ Saundra Amrhein covers Pasco County government. She can be reached in west Pasco at 869-6244, or toll-free at 1-800-333-7505, ext. 6244. Her e-mail address is amrheinsptimes.com.

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