Joseph "Steve" Mattingly, a retired auto worker from Shady Hills, is revving up his second campaign for the state Senate seat held by Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey.
Mattingly, a 58-year-old Democrat, has filed the paperwork to run for the District 11 seat, which includes the western halves of Pasco, Hernando and Citrus counties, as well as the northern tip of Pinellas County.
"I'll have a better chance this time because I'm a people person," Mattingly said. "We don't have enough of those people running for the state Senate or for any political office, as far as that goes. We've got to dump the attorneys and the corporate people and the special interest people. They are killing the average people."
A volunteer and president of the AARP chapter in Spring Hill, Mattingly emphasized the need for affordable health care and prescription drug coverage for the working poor during his 2002 campaign. But the political newcomer lost the Democratic primary with 45 percent of the vote to former Pasco sheriff Lee Cannon, a higher profile candidate who enjoyed the party's backing.
Cannon lost the 2002 general election to Fasano.
Health care remains a top issue in Mattingly's campaign, although he said the prescription drug plan added to Medicare recently will "hurt a lot of people in the long run."
Mattingly also opposed the legislative measure allowing phone companies to seek higher rates, and he opposes efforts to further deregulate utilities.
To deal with troublemaking students, Mattingly supports "separate facilities for the discipline of disruptive students," according to his campaign statement on file with the state Division of Elections. He also believes all high school students should be required to take a "psychology of life skills" class before graduating.
So far, Mattingly is the only declared challenger to Fasano, who has filed for re-election.