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HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY: COMMISSION, DISTRICT 4

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Republican incumbent Al Higginbotham is seeking a new term after two years on the board in which he says he brought people together to tackle tough issues. Pete Gifford, in his first try at elected office, says he wants the board to address community concerns before they become problems.

Kevin Beckner, Tampa D Brian Blair, Tampa R
Beckner, 37, has worked as a certified financial planner practitioner for nine years. A native of Michigan City, Ind., he has previously run a music entertainment business and worked three years as a police officer in Bloomington, Ind. He was the 2006 class president of Leadership Tampa Bay, is on the board of directors of Metropolitan Community Church, and has been active with the Human Rights Council, the Ybor City Chamber of Commerce, Tampa Bay Business Guild and Francis House. Experience Blair, 51, is the incumbent, elected to the board in 2004. He is a native of Gary, Ind., and a former pro wrestler who previously owned four GoldÍs Gyms. He is a Forest Hills Youth Baseball League coach and a Shriner and volunteers in schools. He has advocated lower taxes and tried to eliminate, then streamlined the county review of development near wetlands.
Bachelor of Arts from Indiana University. Education Attended Saint Leo University and the University of Louisville.
Beckner says the current commission lacks a long-term vision for the community. As a financial planner, he says he has the training to formulate a strategy for the future, something that is particularly critical in these uncertain financial times. The pitch Says keeping taxes low is the best way to foster the economy. Also supports efforts to lure new businesses to town, and says building the economy is the way to pay for transportation fixes, parks, recreation and social programs. He advocated the countyÍs largest tax rate decrease ever in 2006.
"We need to come together as a board and say, 'What is our vision and what are the real global priorities of our county?Í ThatÍs the first thing IÍd work on." Quote "I have worked hard to make sure your taxpayer dollars are spent wisely."
Yes, supports the November ballot proposal that would renew the program to buy up to $200-million worth of environmentally sensitive lands for posterity. Extend ELAPP, yes or no? Opposes doubling to $200-million the amount that could be spent to buy environmentally sensitive lands. The current program was permitted to buy up to $100-million.
Home, car, investments Assets Home, rental property, stocks, bonds, IRA, cash
Credit card, mortgage. Liabilities None
$791,804 Net worth $1.33-million
Salary from American Financial, investments Income Commission salary, rental income, investments
In a committed relationship Personal Married to Toni; two sons
www.kevinbeckner.com Web site brianblair.com
kevin@kevinbeckner.com E-mail brianblair@brianblair.com
About the job: Commissioners approve the county budget, currently at $4-billion, run the Environmental Protection Commission and approve local ordinances and zoning. District 6 is countywide. The job pays $91,995 a year.

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