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FLORIDA HOUSE: DISTRICT 67

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The race for Florida House District 67 pits two men with very different backgrounds - one is an insurance agent, and the other, a longtime educator and schools advocate. Whoever wins will join a Legislature that must grapple next year with balancing a state budget that will have a projected $3.5-billion shortfall, a national debate over oil drilling off Florida's Gulf coast and ongoing challenges in its public education system.

Ron Reagan, Bradenton R Richard Jackson, Bradenton D
Reagan, 54, is running for a fourth term. A Republican, he was elected in 2002. He is an insurance agent with MGA Insurance Group in Lakewood Ranch. He is married, lives in Bradenton, has three grown children. He has volunteered at youth recreation programs, the Salvation Army and on fundraisers for Lakewood Ranch High School. Experience A former educator and principal, Jackson, 67, was a grant writer for Manatee Community College and for the Manatee County School Board, for which he also served as a Legislative liaison until he retired in 2004. A Democrat, he is married, has five grown children. He says he has knocked on 12,600 doors over the past four months.
He attended Manatee Community College before graduating from the University of South Florida in 1977 with a business degree. Education He received two doctorates in secondary and adult education, the first from the University of Idaho and the second from Northern Illinois University.
He does not believe the public will tolerate a tax increase. He favors cutting expenditures and programs in order to meet the mandate to balance the budget, and putting off other priorities, such as transportation. "WeÍre going to be cutting into the bone." How should the state balance its books when facing a $3.5-billion shortfall He thinks the Legislature will have to raise taxes, possibly property and/or the sales tax, in order to balance the budget. "It looks like it could take both in 2009 to balance the budget."
"I do not have a problem supporting drilling in the gulf if we have an entire energy package" that includes drilling in Alaska, and further investment in nuclear and solar energy and biofuels. What is your position on the 125-mile oil drilling ban? "I have real trouble with drilling in the gulf anywhere." He said he has lived through oil spills off CaliforniaÍs beaches that caused tar boils on the soles of his feet. Instead, he supports investment in alternative fuels such as solar and wind, which could create jobs.
He said he does not believe throwing more money at the education system is a solution. He thinks some improvements could be made by bolstering technical education and helping to prepare noncolllege-bound students for the work force after graduation. What are your thoughts about FloridaÍs education system? "If weÍre going to be first rate and be competitive and sustain whatÍs left of the middle class, I believe weÍre going to have to put more money in education." He thinks the state should raise salaries for teachers with more than six years of experience to keep top-quality teachers in the classroom.
Home, commercial building, business Assets Stocks, investments, retirement benefits, savings, certificates of deposit
Home mortgage, commercial loan, personal loan, credit cards Liabilities None
$554,660 Net worth $751,731
State of Florida and insurance business Income State retirement benefits, Social Security
www.reaganforfloridahouse.com Web site www.votejackson08.com
Must use Web site E-mail rjackson652@aol.com
About the job: State House District 67 takes in Gibsonton, Sun City and Ruskin, as well as parts of eastern Manatee and Sarasota counties. Representatives serve two-year terms and are paid $30,366 annually.

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