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  1. Florida Politics

State House | District 70, Christopher John "CJ" Czaia v. Dan Fiorini v. Wengay "Newt" Newton

State House | District 70, Democrats

The three St. Petersburg candidates are running to replace state Rep. Darryl Rouson, who is seeking a state Senate seat. The Democratic winner will face Republican Cori Fournier in November.

About the job: The district includes southeastern Pinellas and portions of Hillsborough, Manatee and Sarasota counties. State representatives serve two-year terms and earn $29,697 a year.

Christopher John "CJ" Czaia

Profession:

Attorney

Attorney

About the candidate:

The former leader of the Manatee County Democratic Party operates a law office in Tampa and Minnesota. Before opening his own firm, Czaia, 56, worked as a public defender in Manatee, Sarasota and DeSoto counties. He recently moved to St. Petersburg.

The former leader of the Manatee County Democratic Party operates a law office in Tampa and Minnesota. Before opening his own firm, Czaia, 56, worked as a public defender in Manatee, Sarasota and DeSoto counties. He recently moved to St. Petersburg.

Education:

Florida International University, bachelor's degree; Western Michigan University Cooley Law School, law degree

Florida International University, bachelor's degree; Western Michigan University Cooley Law School, law degree

Are you in favor of legalizing medical marijuana for those with debilitating conditions? Why or why not?

"Absolutely. The prohibition of drugs, like marijuana have harmed communities of color. We need to legalize medical marijuana and then look at legalizing recreational marijuana to invest in education and other things that would improve conditions for poor communities like in Colorado. These kinds of approaches will uplift our state into not just greatness, but justice. In my experience as an attorney, crimes as a result of alcohol have been much more severe than marijuana."

"Absolutely. The prohibition of drugs, like marijuana have harmed communities of color. We need to legalize medical marijuana and then look at legalizing recreational marijuana to invest in education and other things that would improve conditions for poor communities like in Colorado. These kinds of approaches will uplift our state into not just greatness, but justice. In my experience as an attorney, crimes as a result of alcohol have been much more severe than marijuana."

Are you in favor of stricter gun control measures and if so, why? If you oppose gun control, then what do you believe the government can do to prevent mass shootings?

"Gun control is a funny word, because it's a political connotation socially assumes we're applying unfair burdens to what is largely known as a constitutional right. But what's unfair is living in fear of disturbed or deranged individuals walking into our establishments and causing hell. I absolutely support common sense gun legislation that protects people's ability to defend themselves, while reasonably defending them from the real dangers of the present."

"Gun control is a funny word, because it's a political connotation socially assumes we're applying unfair burdens to what is largely known as a constitutional right. But what's unfair is living in fear of disturbed or deranged individuals walking into our establishments and causing hell. I absolutely support common sense gun legislation that protects people's ability to defend themselves, while reasonably defending them from the real dangers of the present."

As a toxic algae bloom chokes several state waterways, how should the state respond and who do you believe is to blame?

"I believe that the sugar farms and others that fight against moral environmental policy are to blame. Florida's environment is it's strongest resource, and we need to hold a special session to talk about that state of our environment. It's situations like algae bloom that threaten Florida, not progressive legislation. We need to buy back sugar and lands for raising cattle to avoid dangerous runoff. We need to elect a leadership that respects Florida's future and starts to work to protect this environment we're all lucky to live in."

"I believe that the sugar farms and others that fight against moral environmental policy are to blame. Florida's environment is it's strongest resource, and we need to hold a special session to talk about that state of our environment. It's situations like algae bloom that threaten Florida, not progressive legislation. We need to buy back sugar and lands for raising cattle to avoid dangerous runoff. We need to elect a leadership that respects Florida's future and starts to work to protect this environment we're all lucky to live in."

Assets/liabilities/ income:

Assets: Sail boat, three motorcycles Liabilities: None listed Income: $12,128 from law firm

Assets: Sail boat, three motorcycles Liabilities: None listed Income: $12,128 from law firm

Campaign fundraising:

Contributions: $23,240 Expenditures: $22,445

Contributions: $23,240 Expenditures: $22,445

Personal:

Lives with partner of 20 years; four children

Lives with partner of 20 years; four children

On the web:

Website: www.cjforflorida.com Email: voteforcj2016@gmail.com Twitter: @cjforflorida

Website: www.cjforflorida.com Email: voteforcj2016@gmail.com Twitter: @cjforflorida

Dan Fiorini

Profession:

Small business owner

Small business owner

About the candidate:

The owner of Tyrone Frame and Mirror once served as a legislative aide to former state Rep. Helen Spivey. Fiorini, 60, also worked as a civilian employee at the Pentagon and MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa. He lives in St. Petersburg.

The owner of Tyrone Frame and Mirror once served as a legislative aide to former state Rep. Helen Spivey. Fiorini, 60, also worked as a civilian employee at the Pentagon and MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa. He lives in St. Petersburg.

Education:

Attended Southeastern University, Washington, D.C.

Attended Southeastern University, Washington, D.C.

Are you in favor of legalizing medical marijuana for those with debilitating conditions? Why or why not?

"Yes. I am in favor of anything that relieves pain and suffering. I watched my mother die of cancer over eight months when I was 17-years-old. I wish she had access to a medication that would have made her comfortable. That event has left a lasting impression on me all my life."

"Yes. I am in favor of anything that relieves pain and suffering. I watched my mother die of cancer over eight months when I was 17-years-old. I wish she had access to a medication that would have made her comfortable. That event has left a lasting impression on me all my life."

Are you in favor of stricter gun control measures and if so, why? If you oppose gun control, then what do you believe the government can do to prevent mass shootings?

"Yes. I am a gun owner who believes in common sense protections for the general public. Nobody needs an AR-15 or AK-47 semiautomatic rifle to go hunting or for home protection. I will introduce legislation that bans all military-style weapons, large ammo clips, imposes background checks, closes the so-called "flea market" loophole and restricts anyone on the "no-fly" list from obtaining a permit."

"Yes. I am a gun owner who believes in common sense protections for the general public. Nobody needs an AR-15 or AK-47 semiautomatic rifle to go hunting or for home protection. I will introduce legislation that bans all military-style weapons, large ammo clips, imposes background checks, closes the so-called "flea market" loophole and restricts anyone on the "no-fly" list from obtaining a permit."

As a toxic algae bloom chokes several state waterways, how should the state respond and who do you believe is to blame?

"These algae blooms are largely due to fertilizer and other pollutant runoffs that react to sunlight and blossom. Additionally, the decimation of the Everglades, also known as the sea of grass, by Big Sugar removes a natural filter of these pollutants. Lawn fertilizers and farm runoff are the biggest contributors to algae blooms. We must use the Amendment One money for its intended purpose of Everglades restoration, rather than supplanting general fund revenue for DEP operations. Regulation of fertilizers and runoff would greatly reduce the incidents of algae blooms."

"These algae blooms are largely due to fertilizer and other pollutant runoffs that react to sunlight and blossom. Additionally, the decimation of the Everglades, also known as the sea of grass, by Big Sugar removes a natural filter of these pollutants. Lawn fertilizers and farm runoff are the biggest contributors to algae blooms. We must use the Amendment One money for its intended purpose of Everglades restoration, rather than supplanting general fund revenue for DEP operations. Regulation of fertilizers and runoff would greatly reduce the incidents of algae blooms."

Assets/liabilities/ income:

Assets: Condo, autos, rental property Liabilities: None listed Income: $51,000 from business and rental property.

Assets: Condo, autos, rental property Liabilities: None listed Income: $51,000 from business and rental property.

Campaign fundraising:

Contributions: $22,211 Expenditures: $18,379

Contributions: $22,211 Expenditures: $18,379

Personal:

Single, no children

Single, no children

On the web:

Website: www.danfordistrict70.com Email: danfordistrict70@gmail.com

Website: www.danfordistrict70.com Email: danfordistrict70@gmail.com

Wengay "Newt" Newton

Profession:

Small business owner

Small business owner

About the candidate:

The former eight-year member of the St. Petersburg City Council is the only candidate who has been on a ballot. Newton, 52, served under three mayors during his council tenure. Term limits prevented him from seeking that office again. He lives in St. Petersburg.

The former eight-year member of the St. Petersburg City Council is the only candidate who has been on a ballot. Newton, 52, served under three mayors during his council tenure. Term limits prevented him from seeking that office again. He lives in St. Petersburg.

Education:

Northeast High School, diploma; ITT Technical Institute, associate's degree, electronic engineering

Northeast High School, diploma; ITT Technical Institute, associate's degree, electronic engineering

Are you in favor of legalizing medical marijuana for those with debilitating conditions? Why or why not?

"Yes, 23 out of 50 states and Washington D.C. have legalized the medical use of marijuana. If it is another medical option to help relieve pain and suffering from symptoms of cancer, AIDS, multiple sclerosis, glaucoma and epilepsy, I say let the people vote."

"Yes, 23 out of 50 states and Washington D.C. have legalized the medical use of marijuana. If it is another medical option to help relieve pain and suffering from symptoms of cancer, AIDS, multiple sclerosis, glaucoma and epilepsy, I say let the people vote."

Are you in favor of stricter gun control measures and if so, why? If you oppose gun control, then what do you believe the government can do to prevent mass shootings?

"Yes, I support legal gun ownership. I support extensive background checks; I support fixing loop holes in the law, and I support "No Fly, No Buy." We have the responsibility to do everything we legally can to keep guns out of the hands of people that shouldn't have them."

"Yes, I support legal gun ownership. I support extensive background checks; I support fixing loop holes in the law, and I support "No Fly, No Buy." We have the responsibility to do everything we legally can to keep guns out of the hands of people that shouldn't have them."

As a toxic algae bloom chokes several state waterways, how should the state respond and who do you believe is to blame?

"Gov. Rick Scott wants lawmakers to fund a 50/50 grant matching program for communities affected by discharges from Lake Okeechobee. The money would be used to move residents from septic tanks to sewers systems to curb pollution. Septic tank runoff is a major contributor to the pollution in these water bodies, and I look forward to working with the Legislature to fund efforts to curb it. We need to fund current projects on the books and look at the whole picture from a 30,000 feet view and take into consideration everything that impacts water quality."

"Gov. Rick Scott wants lawmakers to fund a 50/50 grant matching program for communities affected by discharges from Lake Okeechobee. The money would be used to move residents from septic tanks to sewers systems to curb pollution. Septic tank runoff is a major contributor to the pollution in these water bodies, and I look forward to working with the Legislature to fund efforts to curb it. We need to fund current projects on the books and look at the whole picture from a 30,000 feet view and take into consideration everything that impacts water quality."

Assets/liabilities/ income:

Assets: Home, four vehicles Liabilities: Mortgage, credit card bills Income: $6,000 from photography business

Assets: Home, four vehicles Liabilities: Mortgage, credit card bills Income: $6,000 from photography business

Campaign fundraising:

Contributions: $43,995 Expenditures: $24,640

Contributions: $43,995 Expenditures: $24,640

Personal:

Married to Melissa Newton, four children, six grandchildren

Married to Melissa Newton, four children, six grandchildren

On the web:

Website: www.newthd70.com Email: newt@newthd70.com, Twitter: @newtfl

Website: www.newthd70.com Email: newt@newthd70.com, Twitter: @newtfl

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