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Ex-sheriff candidate runs for commission seat

Retired Pennsylvania State Police Officer Frank Carter has joined the field of candidates vying for the District 1 County Commission seat currently held by incumbent Roger Batchelor.

Carter, 58, retired from the Pennsylvania State Police in 1993 after a 22-year career and moved to Citrus County. He is a Republican, a member of the North Suncoast Republican Club, a past Republican Executive Committee member and a precinct committeeman.

Carter said his campaign will focus on three issues: veterans affairs, growth management and environmental protection.

On veterans affairs, Carter said he thinks the county could do more to provide services to the roughly 23,000 veterans who comprise nearly 20 percent of the county's population.

"What they need is medical help, namely a new clinic," Carter said. "The Brown Schools site is the direction everybody is going, but if it doesn't come about, there's not an alternative plan for another location."

Carter served four years in the Air Force and is a Vietnam-era veteran.

While calling the Brown Schools site "an excellent choice," Carter said the county should be planning ahead and have an alternative to demonstrate its commitment to veterans.

On growth, he said a Citrus extension of the Suncoast Parkway, which he favors, would basically "split the county in two."

"And we need to be ready for it, in terms of emergency services and upgrading roads, such as County Road 495, if that's where an off ramp will be, because there's no way that road could handle the traffic," he said.

Carter also said the county's growth plan needs improvement, so that zoning issues won't lead to costly lawsuits. He said there are areas that are too vague and would invite legal challenges, but said he didn't want to elaborate.

"Just think of all the money we could provide for, say, the bus service, if we didn't have to spend it on a lawsuit in the future," he said.

Carter ran for Citrus County sheriff in 1996 and served as a law enforcement adviser in Bosnia from 1997 to 1998.

Carter married Maria-Elena Carter in July 2003. He is also self-employed as a handyman and a painter.

His Web site www.electcarter.com will be launched Friday.

Carter joins a field of five other candidates; incumbent Batchelor has not announced whether he will see another term. The official qualifying dates for the election are July 12 to 16.

_ Jorge Sanchez can be reached at 860-7313. Send e-mail to sanchezsptimes.com.

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