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U.S. HOUSE: DISTRICT 5, DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY

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Three Democrats are competing in the primary for a chance to challenge U.S. Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite, R-Brooksville, in November. All three have appeared on the ballot in the past, though their campaigns were unsuccessful. John T. Russell won the 2006 Democratic primary and lost to the incumbent in the general election.

Carol Castagnero, 69 John T. Russell, 52 H. David Òthe flag-pole sitterÓ Werder, 53
Experience Known to supporters as ÒGrandma Carol,Ó Castagnero is a retired public school teacher and business owner. She moved to Lakeland in 1988 from Irwin, Pa., outside Pittsburgh. She previously ran unsuccessfully for school board in Pennsylvania and Polk County. She also made losing bids for the Florida Senate in 2004 and governor in 2006. She received a bachelorÕs degree in education from Clarion State University in Pennsylvania. Born and reared in Buffalo, N.Y., Russell moved to Dade City in 1994. He finished the 2006 election with 40 percent of the vote, losing to the incumbent Republican. In 2004, he lost in the Democratic primary. He is a critical care registered nurse who works as a contract employee through Medical Staffing Network and another employer he wouldnÕt name. He lists various degrees, including an MBA from Niagara University and a masterÕs in nursing from the University of South Florida. Making his fourth bid for the 5th District, Werder is a former truck driver who quit after an accident left him disabled. This is his seventh bid for elected office, but one of the few times he qualified to appear on the ballot. He ran four times as a write-in candidate. Werder successfully petitioned the state to include his nickname on the ballot, a reference to his 439-day stint atop a pole in Clearwater in the mid Õ80s. He graduated from high school in New York and never finished college.
What is your position on oil drilling off the coast? ÒI would never (support drilling off the Florida coast). We have enough oil on the land that the oil wells have been capped.Ó ÒI believe that current restrictions should remain in place. While there is oil to be found beneath the outer continental shelf, including off the coast of Florida and in Alaska, the amount to be pumped is hardly the answer to AmericaÕs growing demand for energy.Ó ÒI am a proponent of drilling in the strategic reserve and offshore (beyond sight) if and only if every single citizen of the state gets a dividend check for royalties. . . . There would have to be some sort of residency time required also and maybe only for those with homesteads.Ó
How do you view the state of the war in Iraq? ÓWe didnÕt establish (a timeline for withdrawal). We were told to leave. They gave us a time frame. É Those people are over there with religious wars. They have new leaders all the time. We have wars going on right here in our educational system. Our children are being terrorized with a test called FCAT.Ó ÒThe current path is unsustainable, and the direction America takes must change accordingly. . . . I advocate for a plan to be formulated by our military leaders for an orderly, efficient and safe withdrawal of our military with transfer of security over to Iraqi authorities. . . . This plan for ending the U.S. occupation should be implemented as soon as practicable.Ó ÒWe keep getting told that we are almost to the point. Well, letÕs get to the point. I would rather see every single foreigner dead in battle than to lose the soul of one single American in battle. LetÕs get the new Iraqi government controlling their 'ownÕ problems and get the h--- out.Ó
Did you support the stimulus package? ÒWhat I hear from the people is they are very upset. I would never support borrowing money from any country when we have people who owe us money. LetÕs go after all the loans.Ó The stimulus checks were more a political move. . . . A better move . . . would be to invest those dollars in small business incentives targeted toward commercializing alternative energy (to) create quality employment.Ó ÒOpposed. Fuels inflation. All it did was buy people some gas, making oil (companies) even richer. Do away with the income tax as it is now. I am a proponent of the import tax.Ó
Assets Home; rental properties Home Property
Liabilities Mortgage Mortgage; car loan; credit cards Mortgage; loans
Income Social Security Salary None
Personal Widowed; one daughter Married; no children Single; no children
Web site www.grandmacarol.us www.johnrussellforcongress.com werder4USCongress.blogspot.com
E-mail carol@grandmacarol.us john@johnrussellforcongress.com manyteapots@msn.com
About the job: The 5th Congressional District includes all of Citrus, Hernando, Levy and Sumter counties, and portions of Lake, Marion, Pasco and Polk counties. U.S. House members serve a two-year term and earn $169,300 a year.

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