Starkey wins over Stempien in District 3 Pasco commission race

Starkey wins a third term on the Pasco County Commission
Candidates for the District 3 seat on the Pasco County Commission, Kathryn Starkey and Jessica Stempien.
Candidates for the District 3 seat on the Pasco County Commission, Kathryn Starkey and Jessica Stempien. [ Kathryn Starkey and Jessica Stempien ]
Published Nov. 4, 2020|Updated Nov. 4, 2020

NEW PORT RICHEY — With final precinct counts coming in two hours after polls closed, Republican Kathryn Starkey pulled out a win for a third term on the Pasco County Commission over her opponent, Democrat Jessica Stempien.

Starkey, 63, will hang on to District 3 seat. She also previously served on the Pasco County School Board, the governing board of the Southwest Florida Water Management District and the Governor’s State Greenways and Trails Council.

She is a California native who came to Florida in 1973. She attended Florida State University.

“I’m very grateful for all of the people in the county who voted for me and I’m excited to continue four more years of the good work we’ve been working on," Starkey said as the vote tally neared completion. “More trails, more jobs, less flooding, more parks. That’s what we’ve got in store for the next four years and I’m happy to be a part of it.”

Starkey’s family owns a blueberry farm and the Starkey Market at their blackberry farm. She has worked to improve the aesthetic of the community through her Scenic Pasco group, and she points to economic and workforce development programs as examples of issues she would continue to champion.

She also cites her positions on the federal committee of the Florida Association of Counties and the workforce committee of the National Association of Counties as evidence of her leadership skills.

Among her priorities for another term are continuing to help businesses and individuals navigate the coronavirus pandemic and continuing to make Pasco County an affordable place to live without sacrificing quality of life.

A Pasco native, Stempien, 40, is the water policy coordinator for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Stempien has a bachelor’s degree in environmental science and was inspired to run after working on flooding issues in her community.

She also has a meeting facilitation company and has been a leader of a local 4H club.

She ran to be an advocate for Pasco citizens who need help from their county government. She said she wanted to see government be more transparent and accessible, and supported the idea of teaching people more about how the county works so they can better understand how to participate.

Stempien also wanted the county to better protect natural areas and to update its comprehensive plan for future growth with the help of 1000 Friends of Florida in that process.

Her platform also included finding ways to address homelessness, substance abuse and human trafficking.

County Commission District 3 includes southwest and south-central Pasco County. The job pays $94,180.

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