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he Voter Guide 2012 is a united effort to EDuCATE, EQuIP & REMInD voters to take part in the August 14th primary election. It’s also the largest voter education project targeting African Americans in Tampa Bay during the 2012 election cycle.

and Democratic party organizations and clubs to advertise if they chose. Candidates were also given the opportunity to advertise, and many of them did. As with any other media platform – newspaper, radio, TV, etc. – some candidates have more money than others to reach and influence voters.

Thanks to the generous financial support of over 40 co-sponsoring organizations, this Voter Guide will be distributed free-of-charge to at least 33,000 African Americans in Hillsborough & Pinellas counties. That includes 15,000 printed copies that will go to 150 locations (including churches and houses of worship, community centers, non-profits and retail locations), as well as being distributed to the members of our co-sponsoring groups; along with our release of the DIGITAL Guide to the Power Broker magazine network of 18,000 digital readers.

This Voter Guide does not endorse candidates; though we do publish some of the endorsements received by candidates (if they listed them in the profile they submitted to us).

HOW WE KEPT IT nOnPARTISAn & fAIR All of the major local candidates – regardless of their party affiliation were invited to participate in the Voter Guide by submitting a free profile and photo to introduce themselves to our readers. Over 30 of the candidates chose to participate – Democrats & Republican alike – and all were painstakingly given equal space to showcase themselves. We did not allow party organizations to be co-sponsors of the Voter Guide; though we did invite both Republican

YOuR PuBLISHInG TEAM The Voter Guide 2012 is a project of Agenda 2010 & Beyond and is published by The Power Broker magazine. It leverages the financial support and distribution power of over 40 co-sponsoring organizations; and fulfills the mission shared by them all – to educate, equip and involve more voters in our community. Publisher Gypsy C. Gallardo Power Broker Co-founder Lonnie Donaldson Power Broker foundation Chair Deborah Figgs-Sanders Associate Publisher Gwendolyn Reese Creative Director Misha Wong DIGITAL Media Manager Kimberley Webb Production Assistant Brianna J. E. Miller Senior Writer Shari R. Hazlett

EDITORIAL REVIEWERS: Lou Brown, III, Co-Chair of Agenda 2010 & Executive Committee of the St. Petersburg Branch NAACP • Carl Lavender, Jr. CEO Quantum Management Resources • Darden Rice, President, League of Women Voters of the St. Petersburg Area • Rick Smith, Chief of Staff, Florida Public Service Union • Dr. Yvonne Scruggs-Leftwich, President, Center for Community & Economic Justice Gratitude for Content Providers We are grateful to The Florida Bar and the League of Women Voters of Florida for creating voter education tools, and for allowing us to reprint portions of them. HATS OFF TO THE “DIVINE 9” As always, the “Divine 9” African American Greek letter organizations put their weight behind our shared goal of educating and involving more African American voters. A total of 15 local chapters of the Greek fraternities and sororities co-sponsored this Voter Guide - accounting for a full one-third of its cosponsors. DISCLAIMER: The publisher and co-sponsoring organizations are not responsible for the accuracy of the information provided to us by the candidates; we reprinted almost precisely what they submitted, though many of the profiles were edited down to fit within the space allowed to each candidate.

*Photos unavailable for the following co-sponsors: Sean Dickerson, President, 100 Black Men of Tampa Bay and Abdul Ali, President, African American Voter Research & Education Committee.

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1. Gwendolyn Reese Co-Founder Agenda 2010 & Beyond 2. Crystal Pruitt President Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Zeta Upsilon Omega Chapter 3. Dr. Reginald Ligon President Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. - Theta Eta Lamba Chapter 4. Elder James Myles Executive Director Bethel Community Foundation 5. Judithanne Scourfield McLaughlan Associate Director Bishop Center for Ethical Leadership & Civic Engagement (Univ of South Florida St. Petersburg 6. Lakeisha Simms President Black Law Students Association (Stetson College of Law) 7. Keisha Pickett CEO

8. Dr.Yvonne Scruggs-Leftwich President Center for Community & Economic Justice 9. S. Lynette Detreville-Price President Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. - Clearwater Alumnae Chapter 10. Janette SpencerDavis President Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. - Tampa Alumnae Chapter 11. Tamaira Heyward, President, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. – St. Petersburg Alumnae Chapter 12. Dianne Hart President East Tampa Business & Civic Association 13. Dr. Glenn Cherry Publisher Florida Courier newspaper 14. Alphonso Mayfield State President Florida Public Service Union 15. Attorney James Flynn, Jr. President Fred G. Minnis, Sr. Bar Association

16. Attorney Cory J. Person President George Edgecomb Bar Association 17. Lounell Britt Executive Director James B. Sanderlin Neighborhood Family Center 18. Eddie Jackson, Jr. President Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. - St. Petersburg Alumni Chapter 19. Darden Rice President League of Women Voters of the St. Petersburg Area 20. Beverlye C. Neal President National Congress of Black Women 21. Angela Rouson President National Council of Negro Women 22. John Muhammad President Neighborhood Association of Childs Park 23. James Jackson President Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. - Eta Rho Chapter

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24. James L. Green, Jr. President Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. - Pi Iota Chapter 25. Lt. Col. Antoine L. Jenkins President Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. - Epsilon Mu Mu Chapter 26. Carrie Hepburn Board of Directors The PACT 27. Lou Brown, III President Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. - Delta Omicron Sigma Chapter 28. Michael Dove President Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. Gamma Eta Sigma Chapter 29. Watson Haynes, II President & CEO Pinellas County Urban League 30. Gypsy C. Gallardo Publisher The Power Broker magazine

31. Kimberley Webb Executive Director Project Juffure 32. Carl Lavender, Jr. CEO Quantum Management Resources 33. Rev. Louis M. Murphy, Sr. Founder The Seven x 7 Movement 34.Theresa Williams President Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. - Epsilon Beta Sigma Chapter 35. Dr. Cedric Thornton President Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity, Inc. 36. Aminta Voyce Vice President SocialLeverage 1 37. Winnie Foster CEO Sojourner Truth Center

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38. Josiah Gumbs President St. Petersburg Masonic Lodge #109 39. Rev. Dr. Manuel Sykes President St. Petersburg NAACP 40. Jeffrey Rhodes Chair, Political Action Tampa Organization of Black Affairs 41. Larry Newsome, Sr. CEO Urban Development Solutions 42. Taisha Hyatt President Urban League Young Professionals 43. Lisa Wilson President Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. - Zeta Gamma Zeta Chapter

A Big Bump


ost people don’t know it, but black voters in Pinellas County had the highest turnout rate in the 2008 primary election, compared to whites, Hispanics and other races; and as we ready for the 2012 contest, African Americans could continue to be a fast-growing segment of the local electorate. On the national stage, for the first time ever, in 2008 black voters were a larger share of the electorate than their share of the U.S. population, according to the New York Times. Here in Pinellas, black voters ranked at the top of several measures of democratic participation in 2008: black women had the highest turnout rate of any race/gender group, while black Democrats had the 2nd highest turnout of any race/party group (behind white Republicans). Not only that, but black voters saw the biggest surge in voting in 2008. Compared to 2004, the number of

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white voters dropped by over 3,600 (a -1% dip), as the number of black voters climbed by over 7,900 (a +26% bump).

A Very Big “But” Despite the big gains, the increased voting strength of African Americans hasn’t translated into increased political power or influence. Although two promising “power plays” are underway, black voters in 2012 have little more political juice in Pinellas than they did in 2004. Why? Two reasons: A. because African Americans aren’t leveraging the trends to assert more influence; and, B. because the people who currently have political power (i.e., white voters almost exclusively) aren’t giving it away voluntarily. In other words, “power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” This briefing sheds light on key trends, but more important, it lays out a consensus list of strategic priorities for increasing black voters’ influence in County politics.


New Leverage from the Surge in Black Voting: Black voters accounted for 83% of the total increase in voters in Pinellas County’s 2008 election. Plus, the 7,923 increase for African Americans was equal to 75% of the 10,611 increase in Democratic voters that year. Meanwhile, white voters lost over 3,600 votes over the same period of time.

3 BIG differences in how African Americans vote Compared to their ethnic peers, black voters have the County’s most distinctive voting patterns, including the most dramatic female-to-male voting gap of any race group. Here are 3 major differences in how African Americans vote:


African Americans vote far more at the polls

African Americans vote at the polls more than any other race group in the County. In the 2008 primary, while half of white voters and nearly half of Hispanics (45%) voted from the comfort of home (via absentee ballot), a huge majority of African Americans (74%) voted at the polls. For the 2008 general election, 28% of blacks voted absentee, while 27% voted early and 45% voted on election day.


Black women outvoted all other groups

Black women were the County’s most strident voter group in 2008: 75% of them turned out to vote in the general election. Next highest were white females at 74% and white males at 71%.

Top 5 voter

turnout rates (race/gender groups) Pinellas County’s 2008 general election

Black women 75% White women 74% White men 71% Hispanic women 67% Black men 65%


“nearly two-thirds of all black voters are female.”

thE FEmAlE-tO-mAlE GAP

Women in every race group tend to outvote men, but the difference is most dramatic for African Americans. In 2008, black women outvoted black men at a rate of 1.65 to 1, compared to the female edge of 1.29 for white voters. Though white and Hispanic women were a healthy voting majority in their race group, black women made up the lion share of black voters (at 62%).

BlACk VOtErS hAVE lImItED PrESSurE POIntS, But PrImE OPPOrtunItIES. For all the important gains, African Americans are still a regrettably small part of the population. The County’s largest city (St. Petersburg) is 25% black; but only 10.3% of the County is and 8.3% of registered voters are. That gives us a relatively limited range of options to exert political influence. But it by no means leaves us impotent. The strategies being developed by Agenda 2010/The PACT and the NAACP include, for example, leveraging our power to decide City races for Mayor and City Council (which then allows us to leverage their support on the county and state levels).

5 PrESSurE POIntS tO “PuSh” In thE 2012 ElECtIOnS

The Gap: 9,234 more black women than men voted in 2008 (23,407 women vs 14,137 men).


BlACk mEn: Af-

rican Americans could increase their voting strength some 20% simply by cutting in half the voting gap between black men and women. Take the 2008 election: it was bad enough that women were 59% of voters registered, but since women also voted at a much higher rate, black females ended up being 62% of all black voters.


If we cut the voting gap in half for black men in 2008, it would have made African Americans 10% of the County’s electorate for the first time ever.



In the 2008 primary, the margin of victory for candidates in nonpartisan races was sometimes as few as several hundred votes. That’s a perfect arena for African Americans to be highly influential. As examples, in the District 1 school board race, the 2 winners had margins of victory of 626 and 3,011 votes. Those figures are equal to 1.2% and 6.3% of black voters in the County. In other words, if just 7% of black voters had put their weight behind a candidate, it would have carried them to victory. As another case-in-point, the winners in the District 2 school board race won by margins equal to less than 5% of the black vote. Nina Hayden came in 1st, 2,540 votes ahead of Sean O’Flannery, who won by only 478 votes over Ronnie Walker. That means that a mere 1% of the black vote could have been decisive.



Turnout for the August 14th primary:

Primary elections are one of the arenas where black voters can have the greatest impact, but we often overlook them. Why are primaries important? Because they narrow the field to 2 candidates, and put us in a stronger position to steer the final outcome of the race; and because the small size of the black vote can have a far larger footprint on primaries that are often decided by a few thousand voters (or less). That gives us more influence with the candidates we help elect.


More voter registration:

It’s too late to register for the August 14th primary, but there’s still plenty of time before the October 6th cut-off to register folks to vote in the November 6th election.

Change the script – especially with no “hot races” on the ballot:

There isn’t much on the ballot to draw large numbers of African Americans to the polls for the August primary. The black vote tends to be strongest in competitive races in majority-black districts; and there’s only 1 of those on the ballot (for District 7 school board). The primary is more exciting for black Republicans (who have more hot races on their ballot), but there are too few of them to make a difference. There are only 3 major races the ballot for Democrats, none of those is expected to be competitive. So organizational leaders who call on their members to vote, will need to reset voters focus (see #5).


Re-set the focus to the non-partisan races: We have a prime opportunity to seize the “next level” of political power, if we can re-set voters’ focus on races that ordinarily don’t pique their interest. The big action for black voters in the August 14th primary is in the “Non-Partisan” races. If we vote like we have in the past, many African Americans will skip over 5 of the 6 non-partisan races on the ballot. Few of us consistently vote in judicial races, for example. But it would be a strategic mistake if we let that happen this year. thevoterguide 27

The facts: Black men hold

in their hands one of our best opportunities as a community to grow our political power in the Tampa Bay region. Why? Because as it stands, they are under-represented relative to their strength in our community.

So while many of us are gearing up to get more voters registered for the November 6th election, Agenda 2010 will work in partnership with other groups to help encourage more black men to cast their ballots in Pinellas County.

Join us for the Strategy Session

Thursday, September 13th 2012 from 6 to 8 pm, Agenda 2010 will co-host a 2-hour strategy & planning session about increasing black men’s participation, power and

influence during the 2012 election in Pinellas County, Florida | Dinner & background materials provided | Space is limited to 40 participants; RSVPs required.

Who should attend?

The leaders or officers or organizations interested in backing a united, streamlined 2-month project to increase the number of African American men who are registered to vote and who do vote in the November 6th election this year.

Mark your calendars & RSVP:

Strategy & Planning Session Thursday, September 13th 6 to 8 pm | Dinner provided RSVPs & for more information: Andrea Peaton, Co-Chair, Agenda 2010 at 727-488-1477

Hillsborough County has the same need to involve more African American men in the electoral process. And there may be a way for our cousins across the bay to spearhead their own version of the Ebony Vote Project. In February of 2011, a coalition of a dozen Tampa-based organizations set out to replicate the Agenda 2010 model that launched in St. Petersburg’s African American community back in 2009. They called themselves Agenda 2011, and their simple goal during the March 2011 election was to use the power of their coalition to get the candidates for Tampa

mayor and city council to go “on the record” with specific commitments in key areas such as economic development and job creation. They succeeded in that goal, but like their peers in St. Petersburg, may be looking for a tangible way to keep making political gains. If you are part of an organization that wants to convene an Ebony Vote Project strategy session in Tampa, email reachout@ or call 727-866-0873. The Power Broker staff will pitch in to help connect the interested parties.

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of the 2012 Ballot Amendments! Although they won’t appear on the August 14th primary ballot, beware - there are 12 constitutional amendments on the November 6th ballot that are hugely important to the future of Florida. You can educate yourself and others about the amendments by requesting a summary from trusted non-partisan sources like the League of Women Voters of St. Petersburg ( or 727-896-5197). Here is a snapshot of why the amendments deserve as much attention as the candidates on the ballot. A Paper Tiger? Amendment 1 may be the highestprofile of the 12 amendments, but don’t get caught up in the hype. Here’s how the League of Women Voters (LWV) summarizes the impact. Amendment 1: Health Care Services Synopsis: Amendment 1 is more of a political referendum than a meaningful change to our Constitution. Since the Supreme Court has upheld the federal governmentís right to impose the individual mandate of the Affordable Care Act, the legal standing of Amendment 1 is precarious. Its passage or defeat may have no practical implications other than to send a message that a majority of Florida voters are either for or against the

individual mandate. Background: In 2010, after the Affordable Care Act passed, Florida lawmakers proposed a constitutional amendment to nullify the individual mandate, claiming the federal government had overstepped its authority by forcing individuals to buy insurance. The proposed amendment passed the Legislature largely along party lines Republicans in favor, Democrats against. A vote YES would: • Represent an attempt to opt Florida out of federal health care reform requirements • Add language to the Florida Constitution that could be found unconstitutional under the U.S. Constitution A vote NO would: • Mean that Florida should comply with federal health care reform requirements • Ensure that the state Constitution doesn’t conflict with the U.S. Constitution

A Closer Look at “Party Lines” Some analysts see the handprint of hardcore partisanship in the 12 amendments. Over half of them won their way onto the ballot after a concerted push by the Republican-controlled legislature.

So, if you’re a party loyalist (Democrat or Republican) and want to know who’s backing what, the LWV pros and cons document is an excellent tool.

Separation of Church & State Challenged Amendment 8 could have major repercussions for churches and faith-based institutions that operate private schools. Here’s how the LWV summarizes the pros and cons. Synopsis: Amendment 8 revives longstanding debates over the separation of church and state and would repeal a 126-year-old “no aid” provision in the Florida Constitution that states, more unequivocally than the US Constitution, that state funds not be spent in support of any entity that promotes religion. If passed, the amendment removes that prohibition. An important aspect of the amendment is its impact on future school voucher programs. Past programs that included religiously affiliated schools were deemed unconstitutional. Amendment 8 would remove the obstacle to restarting programs that let parents remove students from failing public schools and send them to private schools at taxpayer expense. Supporters say the “no aid” provision discriminates against religious groups, and this proposal offers support to those that provide valuable community services like prison ministries. Opponents say Amendment 8 will divert money from public schools and blur the separation of church and state, and point out that the current law allows religious groups to receive public funds provided they don’t promote religion.

A vote YES would: • Repeal the “no aid” provision in the state Constitution and allow public money to go to private religious institutions • Allow expansion of Floridaís school voucher program to religious institutions and could result in money directed to private religious schools at the expense of public schools A vote NO would: • Maintain the ìno aidî provision in the Constitution that prohibits the government from funding groups that promote religion • Maintain the separation of church and state provided by the Constitution since 1885


All told, the amendments on the Nov 6th ballot could cost a $1.1 billion drop in funding to public schools and local government services over their first 3 years. That’s to say nothing of Amendment 3’s potential to permanently change how our state sets budget limits. According to the Center on & Policy Priorities, Amendment 3 could result in state revenues 26% below pre-recession levels in 2006-07 by 2025, potentially causing cuts to all government services. Get up to speed about the amendments by asking the League of Women Voters of the St. Petersburg Area to e-mail you information ( or 727-896-5197). thevoterguide 35

1. whAt’S thE DIFFErEnCE BEtwEEn COunty, CIrCuIt AnD APPEllAtE JuDGES? In Florida, both county court and circuit court judges are trial judges. County judges hear criminal misdemeanors (crimes with a sentence of less than 1 year in jail), and civil cases with an amount in dispute of $15,000 or less. Circuit judges deal with criminal felonies, domestic relations, probate matters and civil cases with amounts in dispute of over $15,000. Judges on the 5 District Courts of Appeal and the Florida Supreme Court review the decisions of county & circuit trial courts. 2. why ArE COunty AnD CIrCuIt JuDGES ElECtED In FlOrIDA? Florida Statute requires persons seeking a county or circuit judge position to qualify as a candidate. Once they do, candidates may run in non-partisan elections in the area where they would serve. 3. ArE All JuDGES ElECtED In FlOrIDA? No. Most circuit and county court judges are elected. If a mid-term vacancy arises -- for example, if a judge retires or dies before their term ends -- the governor fills the position by appointment. Supreme Court justices and District Courts of Appeal judges are appointed by the governor, then run in merit retention elections to stay in office. 4. whAt IS A “nOn-PArtISAn” ElECtIOn? In non-partisan elections, candidates appear on the ballot without reference to any political party (e.g. Democrat or Republican). 36 thEvotERGuiDE

Florida requires judicial elections to be non-partisan to preserve the impartiality of the judge’s position. 5. why ArE JuDICIAl ElECtIOnS nOt hElD In nOVEmBEr DurInG GEnErAl ElECtIOnS? Most judicial races appear on the primary ballot, and only appear on the general election ballot if no candidate receives a majority of votes in the primary. While this format means that many judicial races never appear on the November ballot, it allows for the second round of voting during the general, if necessary. 6. EVEn IF wE DOn’t knOw thEIr POlItICAl PArtIES, why DOn’t JuDGES CAmPAIGn On PlAtFOrmS? hOw CAn VOtErS knOw hOw A JuDGE wIll rulE? The law prohibits judicial candidates from making promises about issues that could arise once they are on the bench because their job is to make impartial decisions. Judges must consider the facts of each case and apply the appropriate law without regard to personal views. 7. whAt ArE thE QuAlIFICAtIOnS FOr runnInG FOr A JuDICIAl SEAt? A person is qualified to run after earning a law degree from a school accredited by the American Bar Association, and must be members of The Florida Bar for at least 5 years (10 years for Appellate judges). Furthermore, they must live in the geographic area they will represent. 8. hOw lOnG IS A JuDGE’S tErm? Circuit and county judges are

elected for 6-year terms and must be re-elected to retain their seats. Judges appointed through a vacancy must sit for election at the end of the remainder of those terms. Appellate judges are subject to retention votes. 9. DO JuDGES hAVE tErm lImItS? No, however, in Florida, they may not serve past the age of 70 except upon temporary assignment or to complete a term, one-half of which has been served. 10. DOES A rEtEntIOn ElECtIOn mEAn wE lOSE Our rIGht tO VOtE? No. Appellate court judges and Supreme Court justices are appointed by the governor and are subject to merit retention elections. Those receiving a majority of “yes” votes serve additional full 6 year terms before facing another retention election; those receiving a majority of “no” votes are removed from office at the end of the year. Retention votes happen during the general election. 11. why IS It ImPOrtAnt tO VOtE In JuDICIAl & rEtEntIOn ElECtIOnS? Florida requires that judges be elected or retained by voters, so the power over who holds these important positions rests with voters. Judges make decisions on issues large and small including traffic, small claims, landlordtenant, personal injury, criminal, death penalty, guardianship and others. In most cases, judges are bound to the law that applies to a particular case, but judges may interpret a law when the law is ambiguous. 12. whAt EXACtly IS A JuDGE’S JOB? Trial judges preside over trials and hearings, make decisions on the acceptability of testimony and evidence, and ensure that jurors have a clear understanding of the law. If no jury is present, the judge decides the case based on applicable law and their view of the evidence, relying on their knowledge and expertise in the law. Appellate judges preside over appeals of trial court decisions.

13. whAt mAkES SOmEOnE A “GOOD” JuDGE? InCumBEnt JuDGES SAy thEy hAVE mOrE EXPErIEnCE. hOwEVEr, whAt ElSE ShOulD BE COnSIDErED? Judges must display impartiality and understanding of the law. All judges may deal with either civil or criminal cases. Knowledge in one area is not more important than the other. Judges should be selected based on their legal abilities, temperament and commitment to follow the law and decide cases impartially. 14. OthEr thAn CAmPAIGn mAtErIAlS, whErE IS mOrE InFOrmAtIOn AVAIlABlE On thE CAnDIDAtES? • The Florida Bar established the “Voluntary Self-Disclosure Statement,” which allows candidates to publish statements available at www. – about their qualifications. Other resources include the non-partisan League of Women Voters provides information on candidates; and local bar associations that publish judicial polls to help voters make informed decisions. This article reprinted (& edited for space reasons) with the permission of The Florida Bar. For a complete copy of The Florida Bar’s Guide for Florida Voters, contact The Florida Bar Public Information Department at (850) 5615834 or

Frequently asked

questions about merit retention elections 1. Why are appeals court judges & Supreme Court justices on the ballot this year? Florida’s appellate judges and Supreme Court justices are on the ballot in non-partisan “merit retention” elections every 6 years so voters can decide whether they should stay in office. This year, 3 Supreme Court justices (out of 7) and 15 appellate judges (out of 61) have merit retention elections.

2. What do “Yes” and “No” votes mean? A “Yes” vote means you want the judge or justice to stay in office. A “No” vote means you want them to be removed from office. The majority of voters decides. 3. Do appellate judges and Supreme Court justices have opponents? No. Your vote determines whether each judge stays in office. They do not run against opponents or each other. 4. How do appellate judges and Supreme Court justices get into office? The governor appoints them from lists submitted by Judicial Nominating Commissions, which screen candidates and make recommendations based on applicants’ merits. Newly appointed judges go before voters for the first time within 2 years after appointment. If the voters retain them, they then go on the ballot again every 6 years. 5. Which courts are subject to merit retention elections? The Florida Supreme Court and the five District Courts of Appeal are subject to merit retention elections. 6. Do appeals court judges or justices run election campaigns? Usually they cannot campaign or even raise money. However, they can do those things if they certify through the Secretary of State, Division of Elections, 38 thevoterguide

that their candidacies have drawn active opposition. 7. Can judges who commit unethical acts be removed from office? Yes. This can result after an investigation by the Judicial Qualifications Commission, which is an independent agency created by the Florida Constitution solely to investigate alleged misconduct by Florida state judges. Through this system, judges have been removed from office for ethical violations. For more information, visit 8. Have any political parties endorsed the justices and judges? A Florida statute (Section 105.09) makes it illegal for a political party or partisan political organization to endorse, support or assist any candidate in a campaign for election to judicial office. 9. How have the appellate judges and justices voted in cases? Complete records of their votes are on the Opinions pages of the websites for the District Courts of Appeal and the Supreme Court. You can reach those sites through TheVotesInYourCourt. 10. Can I watch videos of the justices and appellate judges at work? Yes. Court arguments are webcast live and archived on court websites, accessible via www.FloridaBar. org/TheVotesInYourCourt. For the Second District Court of Appeal, video can be requested to be mailed. 11. What are the appeals court judges’ and justices’ stands on particular issues? The Code of Judicial Conduct forbids the judges and justices from saying how they will decide future cases, because they must remain truly impartial. However, their votes in prior

cases are available on the Opinions pages. 12. how can I learn more about the judges’ and justices’ backgrounds? Their bios are on their courts’ websites accessible through www.FloridaBar. org/ TheVotesInYourCourt. 13. how did Florida decide to use the merit retention election system? In the mid-1970s, Florida voters overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment requiring the merit retention system for all appellate judges. This vote came after the public became concerned about abuses that occurred because of the earlier system of contested elections. 14. where can I find results from prior merit retention elections? The Florida Division of Elections (accessible via www. TheVotesInYourCourt) maintains a searchable database of election results since 1978. Merit retention elections occur only during General Elections in even-numbered years. This article reprinted (& edited for space reasons) with the permission of The florida Bar. for a complete copy of The florida Bar’s Guide for florida Voters, contact The florida Bar Public Information Department at (850) 561-5834 or


Some of the candidates you may have seen out-and-about on the campaign trail will not appear on your ballot for the primary election. That’s for several reasons. Some of them simply don’t have opponents in the primary (they go straight into the general election). But for others, it’s because they dropped out or got disqualified, or because their opponents dropped out and they no longer need to compete in the primary.

CAnDIDATES WHO BYPASS THE PRIMARY AnD GO STRAIGHT TO THE GEnERAL ELECTIOn u.S. Representative Kathy Castor, Dem, District 14, is up for reelection but doesn’t have an opponent in the primary; she will in November, though, when she faces off against a Republican opponent either Eddie Adams, Jr. or E.J. Otero depending on which of them wins their primary. Jessica Ehrlich, Dem, will compete for the District 13 seat in the U.S. House of Representatives (now held by long-term incumbent Rep. C.W. “Bill” Young, REP). Ehrlich thought she would have a Democratic competitor in the primary, but Nina Hayden, DEM, failed to be qualified by the supervisor of elections, and though she later secured an emergency injunction to put 40 thEvotERGuiDE

her name on the ballot, Hayden was again disqualified. Hillsborough County Commissioner Kevin Beckner, Dem, Dist. 6, won’t face a competitor until the general election, when he’ll grind it out against the Republican who wins the primary (either Margaret Iuculano or Don Kruse). Janet Cruz (Dem) v. Wesley Warren (Rep) will face off for the House District 62 seat in November. Cruz, the incumbent, was first elected in a 2010 special election after Rep. Mike Scionti resigned to accept a Defense Department position with the Obama administration. This newly drawn district encompasses a good portion of Central and West Tampa. Dwight Dudley (Dem), won’t face an opponent until November 6th while the 2 republicans vying to represent House District 68 battle in the primary. Dudley, a local attorney and St. Pete native, entered the race as the incumbent Rep. Jeff Brandes decided to run for the Florida Senate. Frank Farkas (Rep), a local chiropractor and one-time member of the Florida House of Representatives, will face challenger Daryle Hamel (Rep) in the primary. Matt Weidner (NPA) will also appear on the ballot in November for this 3-way race.

OTHERS WHO BY-PASS THE PRIMARY Pinellas Scott Swope (Dem) for Pinellas County Sheriff

Josh Shulman (Dem) for House Dist. 69 Ben Farrell (Dem) for House Dist. 67 Carl Zimmerman (Dem) for House Dist. 65 Larry Ahern (Rep) for House Dist. 66 Hillsborough Sheriff David Gee (Rep), for Hillsborough County Sheriff Bruce Barnett (Dem) for House Dist. 57 Gail Gottlieb (Dem) for House Dist. 59 Shawn Harrison (Rep) for House Dist. 63 Mark Nash (Dem) for Hillsborough County Commission, Dist. 4 Wes Johnson (Dem) for State Senate, Dist. 17 Elizabeth Belcher (Dem) for State Senate, Dist. 24

CAnDIDATES ELECTED/RE-ELECTED unOPPOSED In a redistricting year, hundreds of would-be candidates waited to file until the district maps were certified and partisan lines drawn. Although most districts have competitive races, several incumbents are re-elected without opposition. Hillsborough County Commissioner Leslie Miller, Dem, District 3. The two would-be Republican competitors that he might’ve faced in the general election are out of the race: Julianne DePriest withdrew; while Willie Lee Lawson was disqualified.

State Rep. Darryl Rouson Dem, District 70, was elected without opposition in this newly drawn district. Rouson, first elected during a special election in 2008, has since risen through party leadership ranks and is now considered by many as one of the more effective Democratic legislators in a Republicandominated House.

Hillsborough County Commissioner Sandra Murman, Rep, District 1, also a former State Representative, never drew competition in this race for her second term in office. State Senator Arthenia Joyner, Dem, Senate District 19, was unopposed in her fourth successful bid to for the Florida Senate, which covers areas in both South St. Petersburg and Hillsborough County. A fEW OTHER CAnDIDATES ELECTED unOPPOSED: Karen Seel (Rep) - Pinellas County Commission, Dist. 5 James Grant (Rep) - House Dist. 64 Dana Young (Rep) - House Dist. 60 Pat Frank (Dem) - Hillsborough Clerk of Court

Excerpts from article by Brentin Mock, appearing in the July 1623, 2012 edition of The Nation In May 2011, Gov. Rick Scott signed into law HB 1355, a bill that once again put Florida at the center of the national debate over free and fair elections. The law dramatically changed the rules for both early voting and voter registration, creating a process so complex and legally risky that groups like the League of Women Voters opted out of registering in the state altogether. Instead they sued, charging that the law is unconstitutional and violates the National Voter Registration Act. In late May of this year, a federal judge blocked the law’s most controversial provisions pending a trial. (In June, in a separate case, the Justice Department sued Florida to stop Secretary of State Ken Detzner from purging the rolls of 2,600 alleged noncitizens, hundreds of whom have since been shown to be legal voters.) HB 1355’s still unfolding story offers a stark example of the changes that have taken place in the conversation about voting rights nationally over the past 2 years. Besides Florida, dozens of other states have passed or debated onerous changes to voting rules. Advocates of these measures claim that the true threat to democracy isn’t low voter registration or turnout—it’s fraudulent voting. But as the Florida ACLU recently pointed out, voter fraud is rarer than shark attacks in the state, a claim backed up by PolitiFact, which found just 49 investigations of fraud in Florida since 2008. In June the Orlando Sentinel reported that 178 cases of alleged voter fraud had been referred to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement since 44 thEvotERGuiDE

2000, with just 11 arrests and 7 convictions. So if fraud is virtually a nonexistent problem, what does Florida’s HB 1355 accomplish? As its sponsor, State Senator Mike Bennett, made clear when the bill passed last year, its intent is to make voting more difficult. “I don’t have a problem making it harder,” Bennett said. “I want people in Florida to want to vote as bad as that person in Africa who walks 200 miles across the desert. This should not be easy.” If reinstated, Bennett’s bill could unravel years of work by voting rights activists to tear down the barriers that discourage African-Americans, Latinos and young people in particular from participating in our democracy. The law mandated for the first time in Florida history that people who conduct voter registration drives must themselves register with the state before signing up new voters. Once they register a new voter, they have 48 hours to submit that registration to the county. Late or improper applications can result in stiff fines or even felony fraud charges and jail time. These requirements were burdensome enough to scare away even national groups with sophisticated processes for ensuring their registrations are valid. As the League of Women Voters’ Florida chapter president, Deirdre McNab, told MSNBC’s Al Sharpton, “These new laws frighten people from registering voters.” The racial impact of Bennett’s bill is clear. According to the Brennan Center for Justice, black and Latino Floridians are more than twice as likely as white voters to register to vote through community-based voter registration drives. In 2008, more than 1.1 million black voters cast ballots in Florida, a

record turnout driven in no small part by registration campaigns led by black churches. In addition, black and Latino turnout was boosted by then-Gov. Charlie Crist’s 2007 restoration of ex-offenders’ voting rights. Before 2007 Florida was 1 of 3 states that disenfranchised all people convicted of felonies. But Crist amended the law so that nonviolent felons could more easily have their voting rights restored. More than 150,000 Floridians regained the right to vote as a result, according to the Brennan Center. One of Scott’s first moves as governor was to reverse Crist’s reforms. Now, those with nonviolent felonies must wait 5 years after release from jail before being considered for voting rights restoration. Those convicted of violent felonies must wait 7 years. If you have unpaid restitution, you’re ineligible for restoration.

Brentin Mock is a New Orleans– based journalist who serves as lead reporter on Voting Rights Watch, a reporting partnership of and The Nation, covering new voter suppression attempts, and other efforts to limit electoral power of people of color.

These changes have dramatically scaled back the number of people who do apply. As of March 1, 2011, the week before Scott signed the law, there were close to 99,000 pending clemency cases involving restoration of civil rights. As of May 2012, there were only 22,958 cases pending.

According to the New York Times, 81,471 fewer Floridians had registered to vote as of May 2012 than during the same period before the 2008 elections.

The changes in the voter registration process were equally stark. Although these rules are now blocked pending the resolution of the federal suit, they may have already had their intended effect. According to the New York Times, 81,471 fewer Floridians had registered to vote as of May 2012 than during the same period before the 2008 elections.

Souls to the Polls

Cancelled! But will that have a negative impact for African Americans?


A June 2012 press release by U.S. Representative Corrine Brown says “Statistics show that in the 2008 general election in Florida, 33.2% of those who voted early on the last Sunday before Election Day were AfricanAmerican, while 23.6% were Hispanic.

46 thEvotERGuiDE

f you’ve heard the term “Souls to the Polls” but don’t know what it means, let’s just say it became a just lightning rod issue in 2011, when the Florida Legislature passed HB 1355, a new election law that, among other things, eliminated early voting on the Sunday before Election Day. That effectively ended the Souls to the Polls initiative carried out in some Florida counties to inspire people to go vote after attending church on that final Sunday. Why is it such a big deal? Because, critics say, the move was a deliberate attempt by the Republican-controlled

Legislative and governor to suppress the minority vote in the upcoming Presidential Election, particularly African Americans & Latinos. But proponents predict that the new rules won’t negatively impact the minority vote. Chris Cate, a Florida Division of Elections spokesman, told the PolitiFact service “Advocates of Sunday voting should actually favor the new law because it requires a day of Sunday voting, which the previous law did not.” Under the old law, only 10 counties offered voting on the Sunday in question (Pinellas included, Hillsborough not).



Will the new rules hurt Tampa Bay’s black vote? It’s unclear, but it doesn’t appear to be a major blow to African Americans in Pinellas & Hillsborough. In Pinellas, Sunday early voting was not offered during the 2008 primary election; and although a large number of African Americans (10,140) voted early in the 2008 general election, when Souls Sunday was in effect, black voters were roughly 28% of the people who voted that day (3,157 people voted on

Sunday, November 2nd, 2008, and 889 of them were African American). In Hillsborough, early voting regulations remain unchanged, since the County is one of 5 in Florida where the state is required to get federal approval for any changes in voting laws, due to past voting problems.

The convenience of early voting was implemented in Florida in 2004, but the individual counties got to decide whether to offer it on the Sunday before Election Day. Only 10 of Florida’s 67 counties did. The 2011 passage by the Florida Legislature of HB 1355 made several changes: It cut the number of early voting days from 14 to 8, and eliminated voting on the Sunday before Election Day; it also requires all* counties to offer early voting on 2 Saturdays and 1 Sunday. The old law only allowed 8 hours total per weekend of early voting, while the new law requires 6 to 12 hours per day of early voting.

(-) (+) (-)


MOVING BEYOND THE RHETORIC A commentary by Gwendolyn Reese


oting is a right. Being an informed voter is a responsibility. But it doesn’t start or end there.

Too often I’ve heard comments such as, “I’m not voting because we don’t have a qualified candidate to choose from”, or “I’m tired of simply voting for the lesser of two evils”. Those comments, while truthful in the mind of the speaker, don’t have to be The Truth. We’ve had candidates forced upon us, candidates unknown to us, candidates who’ve never shown an interest or been involved with our community before announcing their intent to run for a particular office. For too long have we been under-served or not served by many of those we elected to serve us.

To me young people come first; they have the courage where we fail And if I can just shed some light as they carry us through the gale. The older I get the better I know that the secret of my going on Is when the reins are in the hand of the young who dare to run against the storm.” The words quoted above are from Ella’s Song composed by Bernice Johnson Reagon and performed by Sweet Honey in the Rock. These words epitomize for me the role of elders in a community; “to shed some light” and “to pass on to others.”

One of the first steps in developing a pool of qualified pool of candidates for local and state offices is to mentor.

For many years I have been plagued by the need for what I call intergenerational leadership. There is a dearth of elders willing to mentor the next generation of leaders. There’s been many, for I’ve been the beneficiary of such noble warriors and personal mentors as Peggy Mitchell Peterman, Perkins T. Shelton, Ernest Fillyau, Olive B. McLin, Rubye Wysinger, Adelle Vaugh Jemison, Charley Williams, to name a few, (I humbly apologize for my inadvertent omission of other community heroes and she-roes) but the number is miniscule when compared to the need.

“And that which touches me most is that I had a chance to work with people Passing on to others that which was passed on to me.

This vacuum of intergenerational leadership mentoring is not solely caused by the lack of elders. As my young friend Nikki Gaskin Capehart, shared in a conversation, it is also

As a community we can begin to identify, support, nurture and provide the skills needed to be an effective public servant. WE can train them in the way we would have them to go; a way that is not self-serving, a way that benefits not one or a few but ALL.

48 thevoterguide

There is a need for intergenerational leadership development and an equally urgent need for leadership succession planning in the Black community. I have been mentoring individuals for more than 30 years and I believe the informal mentoring that has and is taking place is important but I am now of the humble opinion that the focus needs to change to a more formal mentoring arrangement; one that includes not only mentoring but indepth skill building, leadership development and leadership succession planning. I’ve been involved in several conversations with people on both sides of the bay and there is agreement that the need exist and it is now time to move beyond the rhetoric and begin to address these issues. Chloe Coney, Nikki Gaskin-Capehart and I met several months ago to begin to develop the Black Intergenerational Leadership & Succession Planning Institute. Seminars will include basics of city government; introduction to community organizing; politics of oppression; power analysis; cross-cultural community movement building; conflict resolution; base-building; media strategy and succession planning.


Lou Brown iii: Officer with a half dozen community organizations, currently chief executive of 2


caused by, a mindset among some young people that elders have nothing significant to contribute, they’re antiquated in their thinking, and most commonly a devaluing of the history and experience of the elders and the relevance of these things in today’s society. Intergenerational is a way of life that requires overcoming the individualistic mindset and developing a community mentality in which all generations are valued and involved with each other in significant ways.

> Gypsy Gallardo: Chief strategist and founder, Agenda 2010; Publisher, The Power Broker magazine

The need is there. Why are we waiting and who are we waiting for? I opened with lyrics from a Sweet Honey song, it is fitting that I close with the words of another song, “We are the ones we’ve been > Rita Wesley: Officer with numerous waiting for”. community & service organizations; Deputy Director, Tampa Bay Host Committee 2012

National Urban League Applauds Twin Victories in Florida in the Fight Against Voter Suppression Submitted by the Pinellas County urban League

WASHInGTOn, DC Recent attempts to keep voters of color in Florida from fully exercising their constitutional right to vote suffered twin blows yesterday. National Urban League President and CEO Marc Morial hailed these victories as important steps in the larger war on voter rights. Morial commended a decision by the Federal District Court in Miami granting a preliminary injunction effectively blocking key provisions of Florida’s new and restrictive voter registration laws. “The Federal District Court in Miami did the right thing by putting a stop to these illegitimate and burdensome restrictions which had only one purpose—to suppress the vote of millions of Floridians,” he said. “This ruling is a victory for Floridians and for those of us on the front lines working to protect one of our most precious rights—the right to vote.” The Urban League president also applauded the finding by the U.S. Department of Justice that Florida’s effort to purge its voter rolls of suspected non-citizens may violate Section 5 of the U.S. 1965 Voting

Rights Act and the National Voter Registration Act 1993. “This so-called purge is clearly designed to demoralize and disenfranchise people of color in this important election year.” Morial added, “Florida is a key battleground in the unprecedented war on voter rights underway across the country. The Urban League Movement, including our Florida affiliates—The Urban League of Greater Miami, Urban League of Broward County, Jacksonville Urban League, Central Florida Urban League, Tallahassee Urban League and Pinellas County Urban League—is on the ground and committed to work tirelessly to empower all voters to fully exercise their constitutional rights.” About the national urban League The National Urban League ( is a historic civil rights organization dedicated to economic empowerment in order to elevate the standard of living in historically underserved urban communities. Founded in 1910 and headquartered in New York City, the National Urban League spearheads the efforts of its local affiliates through the development of direct service programs; and through the public policy research and advocacy activities of the National Urban League Policy Institute in Washington, DC. Today, there are nearly 100 local Urban League affiliates in 36 states and the District of Columbia, providing direct services that impact and improve the lives of more than 2 million people nationwide.

Big & Small Changes to How and Where You Vote By Shari R. Hazlett Many social justice organizations and civil rights groups point to absentee voting and early voting as having the most significant impact on overall voter participation. Convenience directly contributes to the increasing voter turnout among younger voters, the elderly, and African Americans. In 2011, HB 1355, now known as Florida’s controversial “voter suppression bill,” turned back the clock on many of our state’s measures to encourage voter participation. These more restrictive laws could impact you, your family, and your community. Here are just a few of the changes that could impact your ability to vote in August: Fewer Early Voting Days Early voting has now been reduced from 14 days to only 8; early voting on the Sunday before election day has been eliminated. In 2008, black voters comprised almost 32% of the early-voting turnout in Florida, according a study cited by the ACLU in a letter to the Department of Justice. Black voters will influence the outcome of this election in 2012, but it’s important to take note of the exact early voting locations and shortened schedule so nobody misses an opportunity to vote. Address Changes at the Polls Voters are no longer permitted to change their address at the polls and expect to vote using a traditional ballot. Instead, registered voters must submit any address changes to their Supervisor of Elections office before election day so they can vote in their assigned precinct and vote with a traditional ballot. Provide A Valid Photo ID and Signature At the polls, voters are also required to provide a valid photo ID with proof of

signature. If you don’t provide the required identification, you will be given a provisional ballot. In Pinellas County, there are now 3 locations for early voting: Largo Election Service Center Starkey Lakes Corporate Center 13001 Starkey Road Clearwater Pinellas County Courthouse 315 Court Street, Room 117 St. Petersburg County Building 501 First Avenue North

In Hillsborough County, there are 13 locations for early voting throughout the county, including the Elections Service Center on Falkenburg Road, and at a dozen public libraries in West Tampa, Upper Tampa Bay, Temple Terrace, South Tampa, Ruskin, North Tampa, Valrico, and downtown Tampa. Check Your “Mail Ballot” Status to be Sure it’s current If you’ve gotten into the habit of voting by absentee ballot (many of us receive them in the mail automatically prior to each election), don’t let yourself be caught off guard – your mail ballot request may be expired! When you request to vote by mail, that “order” remains in effect through the calendar year of the second regularly scheduled general election after the request. You can check your ballot status by calling the Pinellas Supervisor of Elections at 727-464-VOTE (8683) or the Hillsborough Supervisor of Elections at (813) 744-5900. thevoterguide 51


G r O u P 15

(A Non-Partisan Race, Pinellas & Pasco)

Andy Steingold

Bill Burgess 727-642-4915

family: Married, 2 adult children Years in District: 20 Education: Juris Doctor • Master of Public Administration • BS Political Science • Author, Florida Sentencing, Vol 16, West’s Florida Practice Series Endorsements: Bernie McCabe, State Attorney, 6th Judicial Circuit • Fraternal Order of Police, State Lodge • Fraternal Order of Police, District 3 • Fraternal Order of Police, Lodges 10, 29, 43 • Sun Coast Police Benevolent Association Career: Assistant State Attorney, 1995present • U.S. Army Special Forces, 1977-95 • Board Certification by The Florida Bar, 2001-present • Former Adjunct Professor, St. Petersburg College and Stetson Law School • Lecturer on sentencing law for the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (FACDL) and other attorney professional organizations throughout Florida • West Key Author, 2006-present Priorities: “I believe that the power of a government official is not personal to him or her, but is held in trust for the benefit of the people he or she serves. I understand the importance of upholding the law, the value of hard work and individual responsibility, the virtue of showing compassion toward others, and why it is important to always seek justice.”

Winner take All Race: If either of these candidates takes a majority of the vote in the primary election, that’s the end of the road. He wins the race and will be seated on the bench. T H E


family: Married, 3 children Hometown: Safety Harbor Years in District: 12 Endorsed by: The Tampa Bay Times; Bob Dillinger, Public Defender; Pinellas County Firefighters; Mayor Bill Foster, St. Petersburg; Mayor Bob Consalvo, New Port Richey; Mayor David Archie, Tarpon Springs; Mayor Dave Eggers, Dunedin; Mayor Pat Garard, Largo & many others Education: BA Psychology, USF; JD, Cumberland Law School Career: Three-term Mayor, City of Safety Harbor • Asst State Attorney, 13th Judicial Circuit • Civil Litigator (presently) Maney & Gorden Community: Past President, Pinellas Mayors Council • Volunteer Speaker, Great American Teach In • Member, Pinellas Emergency Medical Services Advisory Council • Appointed member, 2010 Pinellas County Charter Review Commission • Annual Volunteer, Paint Your Heart Out & many others. Priorities: “Having experience as both a prosecutor and as a criminal defense attorney has provided me with a unique perspective and broad experience working with clients of many different socio-economic backgrounds in criminal, juvenile, civil and family law cases. This gives me the well-rounded experience necessary to serve as judge, no matter the courtroom. As Mayor of Safety Harbor, I have presided over quasijudical hearings and, through this experience, I believe I have proven myself to be a fair and impartial decision-maker. My commitment to serve the people is demonstrated by my commitment to the community.” G U I D E

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Vote on August 14 “As an attorney for over 26 years, I have treated each case as if it was the most important case I’ve ever had because—for those I’ve represented—it was. I have provided counsel to my clients at the most meaningful moments in their lives and I have never lost sight of that.” ~ Brian Battaglia

Community Leader Brian Battaglia was an organizing member of the Community Law Program, helping people who could not afford legal services

get the help they need, and has served as its President, Vice President, and was on the Board of Trustees for 18 years. Brian also served as President of the Pinellas Opportunity Council, working to pull Pinellas County families out of poverty.

Experienced Lawyer Brian Battaglia has practiced law for 26 years in a variety of areas, and has practiced at every level of court in the state, including the Florida Supreme Court. Brian’s peers have given him the highest rating for legal

ability and ethics.

Family Man Brian Battaglia has been married to his wife Nancy for 25 years. The couple are raising their two sons Jason and Matthew not far from where Brian grew up.

Endorsed by:

The Honorable Bob Dillinger, Public Defender, 6th Judicial Circuit Political advertisement paid for and approved by Brian Battaglia, nonpartisan, for Circuit Court Judge, Group 31, Sixth Circuit.

CAnDIDAtES FOr CIrCuIt COurt JuDGE, 6th CIrCuIt ( A Non-Partisan Race, Pinellas & Pasco)

Group 31

Kimberly Campbell 727.542.5097

family: Married, 1 son Hometown: Johnson City, TN Years in District: 14 1/2

Brian Battaglia

Endorsed by: Rep. Darryl Rouson; Rev. Clarence Williams; Gregory Showers Esq.; 727-342-2013 Recommended by Tampa Bay Times; Linda

family: Married, 2 sons Hometown: St. Petersburg Years in District: Life-long Endorsed by: West Central FL Federation of Labor • Tampa Bay Transit Workers & many others Education: BS, FSU; JD, Drake Univ Law School; LLM, Loyola School of Law Career: Attorney, Battaglia, Ross, Dicus, & Wein (24 years) • Adjunct Professor, Stetson College of Law • Appointed to Belleair Planning & Zoning Board, a quasi-Judicial position Community: Board member with the Pinellas Opportunity Council (and former President); Bay Area Legal Services; the St. Petersburg Bar (as former Secretary & Exec. Committee member); UPARC Foundation & others Priorities: “Three core values have guided my practice as an attorney: commitment to excellence in the law, professionalism and civility toward others, whether handling civil disputes or arguing a case successfully in the Florida Supreme Court. Being a lawyer isn’t about the advanced degree; it’s about living by a code, one where you treat colleagues, opponents, the court, and the public with respect. I am now an AV Rated attorney (the highest ranking a lawyer can receive from peers for legal ability & ethics), and I’ve remained dedicated to serving my community. I’m most proud of my 18 years work with the Community Law Program, helping people who cannot afford legal fees, as President, Vice President, and as a Board member.” T H E



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Lerner; Ron Nelson Esq. Education: JD, Stetson College of Law; MBA, Stetson Univ; BS, Milligan College Career: Asst State Attorney, Pinellas/ Pasco • Private Practice, Family Law & Criminal Defense • President, Clearwater Bar & Trustee, Bar Foundation • Asst Statewide Prosecutor, Office of Attorney General Community: Black Belt & Volunteer Women’s Self Defense Instructor • Boy Scouts Merit Badge Counselor • Pro bono attorney, Gulfcoast Legal Svcs • Guardian ad Litem

Priorities: “Community service is not an action, it’s a way of life in my family. My parents taught me the value of treating each person with respect. My husband and I continue that tradition with our son. As a circuit judge, my goal is to ensure that every person who comes before me is treated the same, regardless of race, and that our court system continues to operate as intended –fair and impartial. My life experiences have prepared me to assume this important role. As a breast cancer survivor and the first in my family to earn a graduate degree, I understand perseverance, and if elected, will continue to be a role model for young people, setting an example of ‘service.’”



Political advertisement paid for and approved by Jack Day, Non-Partisan, for Sixth Circuit Judge, Group 45


AGnES thErESA mCCABE 727-481-8559/ Hometown: Old Bridge, NJ Years in District: 13 in Pinellas, 5 in Tampa


family: Married, 4 children Hometown: St. Petersburg Years in District: 63 Endorsed by: AFL-CIO West Central FL Federation of Labor, David Archie, Bill Heller, Rick Kriseman, Darryl Rouson Education: BA & JD, Univ of FL Career: Circuit Judge (current) • Partner, Skipper & Day • Partner, Lyle & Skipper • Partner, Carey & Harrison Community: Board, Pinellas Opportunity Council • Treasurer & Board member, Gulf Coast Legal Services • President, Suncoast Epilepsy Assoc • Senior Warden, St. Thomas Episcopal Church • Executive Committee member, St. Petersburg Bar Experience: 5-1/2 years on the bench (2 in felony, 3-1/2 in Unified Family Court), following 29 years law practice in Tampa Bay with work in all 5 divisions of the circuit court and 20 years in dispute resolution, mediation & arbitration. • Reputation: Endorsed by 285 local attorneys, Suncoast Police Benevolent Association, and all 3 Fraternal Order of Police lodges in Pinellas & Pasco. • Credentials: Board Certified Civil Trial Specialist, top “AV” Rating, Certified Circuit Court Mediator. • Professionalism: (Current) Board of Directors, FL Council of Family & Juvenile Court Judges, Chair, Dependency Court Improvement Committee; (Past) FL Bar Grievance Committee, Chair, Professional Responsibility Committee. • Service: Recognized by the Secretary of DCF in 2011 with Excellence in Child Welfare Services Award, and winner of 2001 Pro Bono Law Firm of the Year Award, among others.

Endorsed by: St. Petersburg Councilman Steve Kornell, Jan Press, Esq., Mary Lou Wagstaff, Esq., Thomas Fischgrund, Esq., Julie Plummer, Esq. Education: BA History, Emory Univ; J.D., Univ of Denver Career: Asst State Attorney, 6th Circuit • Senior Attorney, Florida Dept of Children & Families • Asst Public Defender, 13th Circuit • Asst District Attorney, Coweta Circuit (GA) • Staff Attorney, Georgia Governor’s Office of Consumer Affairs Community: Member, League of Women Voters, St. Petersburg Bar, Clearwater Bar, and Florida Assoc of Women Lawyers • Volunteer, Big Brother/Big Sisters and Gulfcoast Community Care Priorities: “In my 27 years as an attorney, I have had a positive impact on the lives of children, as well as the victims of crimes. I am running for judge because I believe I could have a more significant positive impact on those connected to the judicial system. I am committed to treating all who appear before the court with dignity and respect; to being fair and impartial; and to ruling in a timely manner on all cases. Having been a government attorney and a trial attorney for 25 of my 27 years practicing law, I can apply my experience moving court calendars efficiently, ensuring that all parties have their concerns heard, and rulings are entered promptly.”

Cathy Ann McKyton (727)422-2591

family: Married, 2 children Hometown: St. Petersburg Years in District: 17 Endorsed by: Rep. Darryl Rouson & many others Education: BS, FSU; JD, Stetson Career: Assistant State Attorney, Sixth Judicial Circuit, 1997-2004 • Assistant Statewide Prosecutor, Office of the Attorney General, 2004-present Community: Junior League of St. Petersburg, Community Vice President • Great Exploration Children’s Museum, Board of Trustees • All Children’s Hospital, Development Committee • Volunteer Guardian ad Litem Priorities: “Pinellas County, our community, is very important to me. My husband and I live, work, and are


Group 2

(A Non-Partisan Race, Pinellas County) raising our family here. Our judges make decisions every day that impact the people, property and businesses of Pinellas County. We need and deserve capable, experienced, hard-working and fair minded judges, who treat everyone with respect, to make those decisions. My reputation in the legal community is that I am diligent, prepared, experienced and, most of all, fair. I want to use my personal, professional, and community experiences to make Pinellas County a better place for all of us.” HER OPPOnEnT: The second candidate in this rate is Scott Andringa, who did not submit his profile to this Voter Guide. To learn more about him: 727-712-1600 or attorney@


family: Married, 2 children Hometown: St. Petersburg Years in District: 47 Endorsed by: Gov. Charlie Crist; Rep. Darryl Rouson; Mayor Rick Baker; Rev. Clarence Williams; West Central FL Federation of Labor & many others Education: BA Accounting, USF; MBA, FAMU Career: Associate VP, St. Petersburg College • Financial Systems Administrator and Senior Account, Florida Power Corp. • Software Development Supervisor, Raymond James • 1st VP, FL Assoc. of Counties Community: Pinellas Homeless Leadership Board Chair • PSTA Vice Chair • Pinellas Career Education Board • YMCA Board • St. Petersburg College Board A lOOk AhEAD tO thE nOV 6th ElECtIOn - By ShArI hAZlEtt Virtually all the local pundits predict that Commissioner Welch will win the August 14 primary to face general election challenger, Buck Walz (Rep), a political newcomer. Walz is on record as a member of local tea party-affiliates that in 2011 vowed to field a candidate against Welch to oppose his positions on affordable housing and human services. Some are concerned that we’ll see a repeat from 2010, when Commissioner Calvin Harris was ousted by tea party republican - and perennial candidateNorm Roche. To date, Walz has raised just over $7000 plus a donated gun club membership, versus Welch’s $44,000. Despite the advantage, Welch is gearing up for a grassroots fight to save the only seat held by a Democrat on the County Commission. Insight sponsored by Shari R. Hazlett, Co-Founder of Bardine-Hazlett Consulting, providing strategy, communications, and direct mail services for candidates, campaigns, and organizations.




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Commissioner Ken Welch 727-490-9266



Priorities: “If re-elected as your Commissioner, I will continue to lead efforts that make a difference in the lives of citizens. As examples, I led the County’s Housing and Homeless initiatives, including $34 million in new affordable housing funding; led the effort to defeat a 30% EMS tax increase for south county neighborhoods; supported a County partnership with CHC/Johnny Ruth Clarke for health care access; supported a County CRA designation that enabled construction of a Sweetbay Supermarket in Midtown; and as JWB Finance Committee Chair, I led the effort to save childcare and after-school programs for 8,500 children. In the days ahead, as budgets are even more constrained, I pledge to continue developing balanced solutions to the needs of our citizens.”

HIS OPPOnEnT: Welch’s challenger is Maria Scruggs, who did not submit a profile to this Voter Guide. To learn more about her: or 727-798-5361. ABOuT DISTRICT 7’S DIVERSITY Although District 7 was created to give black voters greater representation in county government, it has also become the most culturally and economically diverse district in the county. Housing ranges from multi-million dollar waterfront condos and renovated Craftsmen bungalows, to multifamily homes and low-income apartments. District boundaries extend from Downtown St. Pete, to 38th Ave north, through parts of Pinellas Park, and all the way to Tyrone and the beaches. thEvotERGuiDE 63

Proven Leadership for Pinellas County Youth Services As a member of the Juvenile Welfare Board and Chair of the JWB Finance Committee, Commissioner Welch led an initiative to save services for more than 8500 Pinellas County Children and families.

Jobs & Community Development Commissioner Welch has

supported Job Corps and jobs creation programs, county redevelopment designation for the Tangerine CRA/Sweetbay project, and expansion of health care through a partnership with CHS/Johnny Ruth Clarke Health Center.

Housing & Homeless Commissioner Welch led a $34 million investment for affordable housing. As a founding member and Chairman of the Pinellas Homeless Board, Commissioner Welch led efforts to build effective, countywide homeless solutions, including Pinellas Hope and Project Safe Harbor, and other homeless initiatives. Public Safety Commissioner Welch worked with the courts and law

enforcement to help over 1500 youth break the cycle of incarceration through the Juvenile Arrest Avoidance Project.

Endorsed By: Rev. John Evans Rev. Clarence Williams Rev. Frank Peterman, Jr. Vyrle Davis

David & Theresa McEachern Luke Williams Oretha Pope Gwen Reese Rep. Darryl Rouson Mayor Rick Baker (Ret.)

Council Member Karl Nurse Council Member Steve Kornell Council Member Charlie Gerdes Pinellas Realtor Organization West Central Florida Federation of Labor

Vote on August 14

Political advertisement paid for and approved by Ken Welch, Democrat, for Pinellas County Commission, District 7.


(A Non-Partisan Race, Pinellas County)


727 560 8980

family: 2 sons, one granddaughter Hometown: Akron, OH Years in District: 44 in Florida, 6 in Pinellas Education: PhD Community Mental Health, FSU; 2 years post doctoral work in Institutional Racism; BA & MA Sociology, Ohio State Univ Career: Intervention Specialist, FACE-IT Program, Pinellas County Schools • Adjunct Professor, St Pete College • Professor of Psychology, Miami-Dade College Community: Member of Fund Education Now; The Childrens Education Movement; League of Women Voters; Concerned Orgs for Quality Education for Black Students; Elected delegate, 2008 Democratic Presidential Convention. Priorities: “I come from a family that stressed education as a requisite to the American Dream. My 44 years in public education has shown me that children are hardwired to learn differently and must be educated with the proper strategy for their learning style. While I want to raise the bar for all Pinellas students, my priorities are to: shift resources to struggling schools to the gains that we see in other large urban counties; double the available seats in Fundamental Schools, Magnet Programs & Career Academies; ensure children are ready to learn when they enter school; and expand vocational training in emerging areas such as technology and green energy. Our public schools must continue to be the one door where all children eceive a free, quality education.” T H E


EllIOtt StErn 727 480 3030

family: Married, 1 daughter, 2 grandchildren Years in District: 46 Education: BA & MBA, USF Endorsed by: Rick Baker, Craig Sher, Monte Trammer, Carl Lavender, and Richard O. Jacobs. Career: Self-employed, Owners Representative Consultant • Senior VP, Raymond James & Associates • Financial Analyst, Red Lobster of America Community: Board, Pinellas Education Foundation • Better Business Bureau, Past Chair • SPJC Corp. Development Advisory Board • Boys & Girls Club, Board • Council for Educational Change, Board Priorities: “Our schools are facing tough times. My pledge is to bring positive results to our education system, using not only the experience of a successful business background and strong community involvement, but a deep commitment to education. With commitment and cooperation we can help all students excel. My priorities are • Removing Waste at all levels, bringing site-based management to our schools; • Classroom Support, giving teachers the resources, tools and compensation they need to succeed • Leadership, promoting high student achievement, core studies, state of the art tools, and practical exposure to life experiences; • Student retention, with stronger interventions among “at risk students”; increased participation in programs like “Doorways Scholarship,” and more emphasis on Career Academies; and • Certifying a future, through Centers of Excellence that allow high schools students to earn college credits and Industry Certification at the same time.” G U I D E

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More about

District 1

THEIR OPPONENTS: There are a total of 4 candidates in the District 1 race. Beside Jackson and Stern, the other 2 are Janet Clark (the incumbent) and Shelly Ladd-Gilbert. About them: JANET CLARK www., 727365-7995 or; SHELLY LADD-GILBERT www., 727-5369045 A LOOK AHEAD TO THE NOV 6TH ELECTION: The top 2 vote getters in the August 14th primary will compete in the general election, so voting in the primary is important to narrow the field to the 2 best candidates. WHAT YOU HAVEN’T HEARD ABOUT DISTRICT 1: Black voters were highly influential in the District 1 race in 2008, in both the primary and general elections. In the primary, black voters turned out at a higher rate than white voters countywide; but a precinct analysis also shows that Midtown voters had a higher turnout rate in the District 1 race (13.7% vs 11.4% for non-Midtown precincts). In fact, Midtown voters were a deciding factor for the top vote getter: Janet Clark won first place over Jennifer Crockett by 626 votes; and 547 of those came from Midtown. That means that Midtown was responsible for 87% of Clark’s margin of victory.


Keisha Bell

(727)282-4235 | Hometown: St Petersburg Years in District: 21 years Education: JD, FSU; BA, UCF Career: Family Law Project Lead Attorney • FAB Families Project Director • Executive Office of the Governor-Office of Drug Control Law Clerk • Elected Student Senator-UCF Community: Sanderlin Center, Board • Pinellas Council on Adoptable Children, Board VP• Pinellas Education Foundation Stakeholder • St Petersburg Midtown Rotary Club, VP • St. Petersburg NAACP Member & Legal Regress Chair

Priorities: “I believe that all students deserve a quality education. In support of anti-bullying campaigns that create safer learning environments, I will • collaborate with policy writers to review and amend district anti-bullying policy; • Advocate for updated, age-appropriate anti-bullying materials & programming; and • Advocate to establish new programs and expand those already in existence. During a time when families face so many obstacles, we need all hands on deck to position our children for a better tomorrow. We must do a better job in promoting positive messages and raising expectations for all students. I will work to • Increase parental & community engagement and strengthen communication between schools, parents, students, and communities. • Increase “mentoring” and expand the definition to emphasize simply “being available” to students; and • Support students and staff as-a-whole by advocating for healthy menu options.” Continued on next page

CAnDIDAtES FOr SChOOl BOArD DIStrICt 7 (Continued)

Corey Givens, Jr. 727.217.6217 Years in District: 20

rené Flowers

(727) 238-5585 Hometown: St. Petersburg Years in District: All of my life! Endorsed by: Pinellas Classroom Teachers Assoc • Pinellas Educational Support Personnel Assoc • AFL-CIO West Central Florida Labor Union • SEIU/FPSU • Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance • State Rep. Darryl Rouson • Mayor Bill Foster • Rep Richard Kriseman • Mayor Mike Yakes • Councilmember Steve Kornell • Councilmember Jim Kennedy • Councilmember Karl Nurse • Councilmember Barbara Banno, and many more! Education: AA, Tallahassee Community College; BA Organizational Studies, Eckerd College Career: Former St. Petersburg City Councilwoman • Former President, Florida League of Cities • Corporate Trainer, Gulf Coast Jewish Family & Community Services • VP, Coalition for a Safe & Drug Free St. Petersburg • Community Health Centers of Pinellas Inc, Manager of Health Education and Prevention Programs Community: Founder & Chair, St. Petersburg Affordable Housing Committee • Former Officer, WorkNet Pinellas • Chair, AMI Kids Pinellas • Neighbor to Neighbor Program with the Childs Park YMCA • St. Petersburg College Village Square Charter Member Priorities: “My priorities are simple, and the citizens of Pinellas County are comfortable with my track record of ‘keeping the main thing the main thing.’ If elected, I will focus on working together to close the achievement gap; support the expansion of Career Academies; champion the Pre-Kindergarten Readiness Program; engage greater parental support; and provide full support for classroom teachers.” 68 thEvotERGuiDE

Endorsed by: Dr. Clarence Givens; Detective Michael Hawkins; Acosta, Whittemore, Denson Law Group; 7 Principals; and 30 Teachers Career: Labor Market Researcher,Leon County • Litigation Specialist, Family Law and Civil Litigation Community: City of St. Petersburg, Student Ambassador to Takamatsu, Japan • President, Pinellas County Student Rights & Responsibilities Committee, St. Petersburg NAACP • Big Brother Big Sisters Mentor • 5000 Role Models • Ebony Scholars • Concerned Organization for Quality Education for Black Students Priority: “A product of the Pinellas Public School System, I have always appreciated the opportunities my public school education created. I believe the funding of, and the dedication to, public education will provide ALL students with an opportunity to fulfill their dreams and give them hope for a better tomorrow. My candidacy is built on my belief in increasing student potential. As a member of the school board I will join forces with the community, schools, and parents to bridge the achievement gap amongst Black and White students. I am a strong supporter of Student Centered Learning. Running as a candidate who is “Unbought & Unbossed, I am seeking the school board seat because of my desire to put students, not politics first.If anyone knows what the students of Pinellas County need, it’s someone who has been there Years in District: 20 recently!”

Cassandra D. Jackson

727-385-1606 family: Married, 4 children Career: Pinellas County Schools Thurgood Marshall, Paraprofessional (current) • Licensed Day Care Provider – Precious Jewels, Inc., Operator • Family Service Centers, Inc. – Family Development Specialist • People Matter, Inc. – President – Midtown Technology, Adult Basic Education • Pinellas County Housing Authority – Commissioner • 6th Judicial Nominating Committee – Commissioner • St. Petersburg Code Enforcement – Board Member Community: Lealman Elementary, SAC Board • Sexton Elementary, SAC Board • Lakeview Fundamental, PTSA President • Southside Fundamental, Intervention Appeal Committee • Fundamental High School Taskforce 2006 – Osceola High Fundamental • Gibbs High School, SAC Board, Football Booster President and PTSA Treasurer • Area IV, Title 1 Advisory Board • NAACP, Education Chair • Weed and Seed, Prevention Intervention Treatment • CONA, Graduate • St. Petersburg Junior League • American Cancer Society, Relay for Life Priorities: Parental Engagement • Increase Fundamental, Magnet Schools • Closing Achievement Gap & Gains • Encourage Advance Placement Classes • Closing Court Ordered Green Factors

THEIR OPPOSITIOn: There are a total of 5 candidates in the District 7 race. Besides the 4 profiled in this section, Glenton Gilzean (the incumbent) is the 5th candidate; he did not submit his profile to this Voter Guide. HOW TO LEARn MORE:, 727-488-5403, A LOOK AHEAD TO THE nOV. 6TH ELECTIOn: The top 2 vote getters in the August 14th primary will compete in the general election, so voting in the primary is important to narrow the field to the 2 best candidates.



ut of the 7 school board districts, DISTRICT 7 has the largest population of black voters. In fact, in 2010, the last time this seat was on the ballot, 64.3% of all African American registered voters in Pinellas County lived in DISTRICT 7. In addition, black voters in District 7 often have a higher turnout rate than their peers across the county. In 2010, for example, African American turnout was 22% in district 7, higher than the 18.6% countywide. DISTRICT 7 is also 1 of 4 school board districts that is “Single Member,” which means that only the voters who live within the district vote to elect this official. There are 3 school board seats that are elected by the entire county voting population (Districts 1, 2 and 3).

Quick Facts:


CAnDIDAtES FOr COunty COurt JuDGE, GRouP 12 (A


mAtt luCAS Ann OBEr


family: Married Hometown: Tampa Years in District: 36 Education: BA, USF; JD, South TX College of Law Endorsed by: West Central FL Police Benevolent Assoc • Tampa Police Benevolent Assoc • West Central FL Federation of Labor • Tampa Fire Fighters Local #754 • Hillsborough County Fire Fighters Local #2294 Career: County Court Judge, elected 1996, re-elected 2000 & 2006, Asst State Attorney -Tampa, Asst Public DefenderTampa Community: Board, Spring of Tampa Bay • Board, Northside Mental Health Center • Jefferson High School Law Studies Program Advisory Board • Volunteer Big Brothers Big Sisters Priorities: Presided over 150,000 cases and over 450 Jury Trials, assigned to all divisions in county court. I am known to be a fair Jurist with legal acumen and decisiveness. I have dedicated my position to the people of Hillsborough and have earned their trust with this enormous responsibility. HER OPPOnEnT: Judge Ober is the incumbent; her challenger is John Grant, III, who did not submit his profile to this Voter Guide. To learn more: 813-2861700 or


family: Married, 2 sons Hometown: Tampa Years in District: Entire life Education: JD, U of FL; BS, FSU Endorsed by: State Attorney Mark Ober • Public Defender Julianne Holt • Past President of George Edgecomb Bar Assoc Henry Gyden & many others Career: Adjunct Professor, Stetson College of Law • Shareholder, Bricklemyer Smolker & Bolves • Associate, Carlton Fields • YoungLife Youth Director & Church Partner Community: Supreme Court Committee, Standard Jury Instructions in Civil Cases • FL Bar Business Litigation Certification Committee • St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church Lay Eucharistic Minister • Teen Court of Hillsborough Priorities: “My wife Alexis and I are both natives of Tampa and graduates of the same high school. Our community roots run deep. My father, the late Rev. Norman Lucas, was pastor of a local church for 25 years. Alexis’ family goes back 5 generations in Tampa. In May 2010, I left a successful private practice, litigating cases throughout Florida, to accept an appointment to the county bench. The skills I gained as a board certified business litigation specialist and certified mediator, combined with the work ethic my father instilled in me and a sense of respect toward everyone, have served me well as a judge.” HIS OPPOnEnT: Judge Lucas is the incumbent; his challenger, Nancy Jacobs, did not submit her profile to this Voter Guide. To learn more: 813-789-7173 or

Candidates for hillsborough County Court Judge

Group 4

A Non-Partisan Race

FrAnCES mArIA PErrOnE 813-335-0338 | family: Married, 1 daughter Hometown: Tampa Years in District: Lifetime Endorsed by: Attorney General Pam Bondi; State Attorney Mark Ober; Tampa Firefighters Local 754; Teamsters Local 79; West Central Florida and Tampa Police Benevolent Assocs Education: BS Criminology, FSU, BA Business USF; JD, FSU Career: Asst State Attorney, 13th Judicial Circuit State Attorney’s Office • Attorney, Tison Law Group • Attorney, Taracks Gomez & Rickman • Intern, Office of the Attorney General Employment Discrimination Division Community: Appointed to Florida Bar Standing Committee on Professionalism • DUI Counterattack Hillsborough, Board of Directors • VP, Pepin Heart Hospital Community Advisory Board • Co-chair, Columbus Juvenile Center Community Advisory Committee, Hillsborough County Bar Law Week Committee Priorities: “I am committed to public service and the administration of justice. I have strong values and a steadfast work ethic. I believe no individual is above the law and no person should be treated differently from another when appearing in court. Every person should be evaluated without regard to race, gender, or economic status. However, every action results in a consequence. A person’s actions should be evaluated under the laws. I look forward to serving the people as a county judge. My patience, professionalism and even-tempered demeanor are qualities necessary for service on the bench. I am prepared to work diligently to bring equal justice under the law.”

BArBArA twInE 813 699-0258 family: Married, 1 son Education: J.D., U of FL; B.A., USF Endorsed by: Rev. Bart Banks, Sr.; Michael S. Hooker; Lansing Scriven; Gwendolyn Miller, West Central Florida Federation of Labor & many others Career: Private Practice – Barbara TwineThomas, P. A. • Stewart, Joyner and Jordan Holmes – Civil Litigation, Family Law, Labor Law • Senior Asst County Attorney – Hillsborough • Board Counsel – City of Tampa • General Counsel – U.S. Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority Community: Hillsborough Association for Women Lawyers – Past President • George Edgecomb Bar Association – Past President • Hillsborough County Bar Foundation - Past President • Hillsborough County Bar, Past Board of Directors • U.S. District Court – Middle District of Florida • Life Member, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. & Natl Council of Negro Women Priorities: “After serious contemplation and prayer, I humbly offer myself for service as a Hillsborough County Court Judge in the same manner in which I have served as an officer of the court over the past 34 years. I will not betray the public trust and I will work tirelessly to assure fair, effective and equal access to justice and court processes for all persons. It is my hope that my performance as a judge will be enhanced by my past work, life experiences and longstanding good relationships with the bar and the community.” T H E



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Lanell WilliamsYulee 813-394-6363

Family: Married, 4 children Hometown: Pensacola Years in District: 21 Endorsed by: Col. Parrish, Ice Cream Magazine, Eddie Davis, Dep. Thomas Mitchell, Sean Dickerson Education: BA, UWF; JD, MS College of Law Career: Asst Public Defender • Asst State Attorney (Circuits 1, 10 13) • Asst Attorney General - Darryl Rouson • Associate Attorney - Morgan & Morgan • Attorney Del Stewart

Community: Inns of Court • Great American Teach In • Pro Bono in Walker Middle School case & for numerous community organizations Priorities: “My top priority is to impart justice to all, regardless of race, religion or economic background. Having been a public servant on both sides of the law - as Assistant Public Defender and Assistant State Attorney, I gained invaluable experience with people from all walks of life. Whether a person is the accused or victim, he or she has the same expectation that the judge will listen to evidence from both sides, pay attention to details, apply the law; apply discretion wisely during sentencing; and most of all, be fair and impartial in each case. In our jurisprudence system, every individual is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Based on my extensive experience, coupled with life experiences as a mother and wife, it is my opinion that I am the candidate best suited to serve.” 877-238-1139


Don Kruse


illsborough has three primary races on the ballot for County Commission seats. Possibly the hottest race of them all is the Republican primary between Sharon Calvert and Victor Crist for the District 2 seat, because theirs is a winner take all race. The winner on August 14th will not have to compete in the general, since there are no Republican or other party contenders in the running. The District 4 race will be a three-way match-up in the general election, between Independent Joy Green, Republican Al Higginbotham and Democrat Mark Nash. Candidates for County Commission, District 6 (A Republican Primary, Hillsborough County) In District 6, Democrat Kevin Beckner (the incumbent) is sitting out the primary, as he prepares to battle the Republican primary winner. In that race, Don Kruse is running against Margaret Iuculano, who did not submit her profile to this Voter Guide. To learn more about her: or 866-235-8401.

CAnDIDAtES FOr COunty COmmISSIOnEr, hIllSBOrOuGh COunty, FlOrIDA family: Married, 3 children, 2 grandchildren Hometown: Tampa Years in District: Lifetime Career: President, Beauty & Health Institute • Bill Currie Ford Sales Manager 1991 - 2011 Community: 2012 Event Chair, American Cancer Society Relay for Life Town N’ Country • Past president, Board of Wheels of Success, providing cars to needy families • Board, The Veterans Day Parade Group Priorities: “I am committed to bringing greater fiscal responsibility to taxpayers through smaller, more efficient county government, boosting job creation, and reducing excessive regulation that impedes business growth. Among my priorities is aiding local economy recovery by incentives to drive new construction jobs. According to a recent story in the Tampa Bay Times, “for the 12month period ending in January, the bay area lost more construction jobs than any other metro area in the country. Construction employment fell 14% for the year and a staggering 55% from a market peak of 95,300 jobs in June 2006”. I am proposing a 24-month plan to spur construction jobs by incentivizing property improvement for homeowners, businesses and investors. The PIWA PLAN (Property Improvements Without Assessments) would allow improvements of up to 50% of the current assessed property value, without an additional tax assessment, as a mechanism for putting people back to work, while increasing future tax revenue for our County.” T H E



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SuSAn VAlDES family: Married, 3 children Hometown: New York City, relocated age 9 to FL Years in District: 38 Education: BS Business Admin., Nova Southeastern Univ.; Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters, Everest Univ. Endorsed by: Greater Tampa Bay Realtors Assoc; American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees; Marvin Knight; Sol Davis, Sr.; Doris Ross Reddick Career: Two terms as elected School Board Member, Hillsborough County School Board • School Board Chair 2009 & Vice Chair 2008 • Clinic Manager, St. Joseph Community Care Clinic Community: Southern Region Director, Natl School Boards Assoc (and member, Steering Committee of the Urban Boards of Education) • Chair, Central FL Coalition • Vice Chair, FL School Boards Assoc Multicultural & Diversity Committee • Active member, Back to School Coalition Priorities: “My motto is that ‘An education can never be erased,’ and if re-elected, I will continue to focus on concrete steps that improve student achievement and access to extra-curricular and career & technical education for non-college bound students. For example, one of my passions was to restore the Automotive & Electrical programs at Leto High, my alma mater, and to help several schools secure brand new instruments to jump start their band programs. In addition to specific gains such as these, I will prioritize equity, fairness, transparency and accountability to our children and our citizens.” HER OPPOnEnT: Valdes’ opponent is Eduardo Calcines, who did not submit his profile to this Voter Guide. To learn more about him: 813-884-6979 or Eddy.Calcines@gmail. com.




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Candidate for School Board

District 3

(A Non Partisan Race, Hillsborough County)

Cindy Stuart 813-505-6155

family: Married, 3 children Years in District: 33 Education: BA Business, FIU (HCA Guidance Advocate of the Year 2011-12) Career & Community: Systems software manager, Financial Data Planning (19951998), before becoming a full-time mom and school volunteer • PTA Treasurer for 2 schools • PTA Vice President • Neighborhood Crime Watch Coordinator • Local softball team manager Priorities: “I have spent the last year and a half walking my district, meeting voters and personally participating in the daily activities of the community. I’ve immersed myself in the issues facing education in this district by talking to parents, teachers and students. I currently have 3 children enrolled in Hillsborough County Schools;

which gives me a true vested interest in the decisions being made. During my 10 years volunteering in public schools, I’ve held many executive positions in the PTA and worked closely with administration to ensure that my children and their classmates have everything they need to succeed. I believe that students and parents deserve a school board member who understands today’s challenges to public education, and who will fight for our right to a quality education for all children, and support teachers as the most critical component of that vision. I intend to bring transparency, accountability and a fresh new perspective back to the board.” HER OPPOnEnT: There are 2 candidates in this race. Besides Stuart, the other is Jack Lamb (the incumbent), who did not submit his profile to this Voter Guide. Learn more about him: 813-935-6653 or jlamb23@



Doretha Wynn Edgecomb


family: Widow of Judge George Edgecomb, 1 daughter Education: BA English, Talladega College; MA Reading Educ., USF Endorsed by: Hillsborough County Classroom Teachers Assoc • Greater Tampa Assoc of Realtors • West Central FL Career: Two term member & elected chair, Hillsborough County School Board • English teacher • Title I parent involvement coordinator and reading supervisor • elementary school principal • Technical Advisor, Educational Testing System • Testing System, a global corporation Community: Service on the boards of the Florida School Boards Assoc, Hillsborough

Education Foundation, Hillsborough Children’s Board and many other organizations • Awards for service from the Community Education Coalition, Phi Beta Sigma, Delta Sigma Theta, Omega Psi Phi & many others Priorities: “My priority is to continue to make progress in critical areas: Sustaining student achievement gains, especially for our lowest-achieving, with an emphasis on African-American male students • Increasing employee satisfaction in environments that maximize their knowledge and talents • Implementing transparent business practices that build public trust • Connecting with parents as partners in their children’s education • Engaging community & business partners as advocates for public education • Finding solutions to address unfunded mandates as we continually face decreasing resources and increasing loss of local control • Creating processes to support major reform efforts adopted by the district.”

CAnDIDAtES FOr SChOOl BOArD DIStrICt 5 (A Non-Partisan Race, Pinellas Count

Candidates for School Board DiStRiCt 7 (A Non-Partisan Race, Hillsborough County)

Joseph JordanRobinson, Jr. 813-254-0907

henry Ballard Jr. 813-924-1818

family: Married, 2 children Education: BS Industrial Educ. & MS VocTech Educ., FAMU Endorsed by: Pete Busto Plumbing; Jimmy Sod Co.; Ortega & Associates; Jim Riley Construction Co.; Southern Telecom; and others Career: Director of Maintenance, St. Pete Housing Authority • Supervisor of Clock & Bells, then Construction Inspector, then Maintenance Inspector, then Director of Office of Supplier Diversity, all with Hillsborough County Public Schools Community: NAACP President’s Award 2003, 2004, 2010 • MBE Coordinator of Year 2004, Florida Minority Supplier Diversity Council • Achievement Community Service Award, New Saint Matthew Missionary Baptist Church • Florida Dept. of Management Services Director’s Award 2009 • OMEGA PHI Fraternity Citizen of the Year Award • Who’s Who Award, Mt Zion A.M.E. 2008 Priorities: “I truly believe in the American Dream and believe that we and our children cannot afford to lose this dream. My priorities if elected are to maximize the use and efficiency of school district dollars; increase accountability for school district spending; implement proper policies and procedures for the School Board’s management; increase the economic development of District 5 using my experience as Director of the Office of Supplier Diversity, where I increased District spending from $1084 to $127 million in contracts with minority/small businesses; increase student proficiency, particularly reading skills; and reach for the goal of having no failing schools in the District.” T H E



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family: 1 daugther Hometown: Tampa Years in District: 58 Endorsed by: Jetie Wilds Jr., Marvin Knight, Sol Davis, Theresa Jones, Officer Orlando Gudes Education: BS Mechanical Engineering, U of Iowa Civic: Gubernatorial Appointee, Vice Chair Southwest Florida Water Management District • Member, Hillsborough County 2010 Charter Review Board • Board Member, City of Tampa’s Enterprise Community Based Partnership • Vice Chair, West Tampa Community Development Corp. Community: President, Natl Society of Black Engineers Tampa Bay Chapter • Hillsborough NAACP Economic Development Committee Chair • Grand Knight, Knights of Columbus-Sacred Heart Council No.12110 • Member, Tampa Organization of Black Affairs Priorities: “Some of the top challenges for our County include mismanagement, the need to improve graduation rates, and inadequate oversight of Title I funding. The School Board is responsible for fiscal oversight as well as all policy decisions and ensuring that the superintendent carries out board policies. As a board member, my job is to stay informed on the condition of our schools and education countywide. I would pay special attention to proven practices for high quality education for all students. My top priorities are the proper implementation of the Common Core State Standards; a return to the basics in reading, writing & arithmetic in elementary and remediation in middle and high schools; fiscal responsibility and accountability; and transparency.”

Candidate for School Board

District 7

(A Non Partisan Race, Hillsborough County)

mIChAEl wEStOn g 813-250-9217 family: Married, 3 children, all attending Hillsborough County public schools Experience: Mathematics teacher, Freedom High School, Hillsborough County, working with students requiring remediation in math. Education: BS Biology & MS Oceanography, Old Dominion University Priorities: “Our schools are no longer run for the benefit of our children. Adherence to the socalled measures of success such as FCAT is now more important than the actual benefit derived by our children. My pledge when elected will be to: • • • • •

• • •

Reduce reliance on high stakes testing Let teachers teach. Our children need critical thinking skills, not just test-taking prowess Make children the beneficiaries of the system; not politicians, bureaucrats or the education industry Stop funding programs that do not produce Stop the unsustainable growth of administrative positions and focus funding were it can achieve real results—the classroom Develop technical & career training paths for non-college bound students rather then feed them to the drop-out pipeline Eliminate all administration bonuses based on FCAT. This only intensifies pressure to teach the test Return to basics. Technology has a place in our classrooms, but a calculator has no place in elementary schools.”

THEIR OPPOnEnTS: There are 6 candidates in the District 7 race. In addition to Robinson (previous page) and Weston, the other 4 did not submit profiles to this Voter Guide. To learn more about them: Terry Kemple, 813-653-4822 & tkemple@integrity. com Carl francis Kosierowski, 813-5469440, Carol Kurdell, 813-254-3369, Robert McElheny, 813-899-4102, RMcElheny@

FEDERAL RACES ON THE PRIMARY BALLOT Candidates for u.S. Senator A 5th generation Floridian, Bill Nelson has always been an unrelenting advocate for all Floridians. He’s also become a respected voice in a political time when increasing incivility in the public square makes finding solutions all the more difficult.

There are three federal primary races on the ballot for Republicans this year, but only one for Democrats.

Bill first began serving Floridians as a state legislator, then congressman, then state Cabinet officer, and now as a senior U.S. senator. He firmly believes public service is a noble calling - and has devoted his life to serving his community, his state and his country, including his 6 years in the U.S. Army and Army Reserve. But the defining event in his life came in 1972, when he married Grace Cavert Nelson. The couple has raised 2 children. Since being elected to the U.S. Senate in 2000, Bill

has, among other things: Prevented oil companies from drilling in vital military training areas off of Florida’s Gulf Coast; • Fought for restoring the Everglades; • Passed a law to send BP fines directly to the communities harmed by the oil spill; • Stopped the federal government from confiscating lower-cost prescription drugs from consumers who bought them from Canadian pharmacies. Now, he wants to keep fighting for Florida and for our country – to create jobs and expand the middle class, to get our country’s financial house back in order, to protect and preserve Social Security and Medicare, and to strengthen national security. HIS OPPOnEnT: To learn more about him: Glenn Burkett, DEM, did not submit his profile to this Voter Guide. To learn more about him: 850-814-6235 or

Profile submitted by Senator Bill Nelson


Voter turnout is notoriously low for primary elections, even during a Presidential election year. In 2008, only 12.5% of Pinellas voters cast a vote in the primary, as compared to 72.5% in the 2008 general election. These primary elections typically feature school board and judicial candidates battling it out in low information races that just don’t draw voters to the polls. Voting by mail and early voting have improved turnout slightly, but this year’s abundance of state level democratic and republican primary races have garnered some extra attention from both the media and the public, which could translate to higher turnout at the polls. Here’s a look at a few of the state races: Rep. Betty Reed (Dem) and challenger, Tatiana Denson (Dem) are facing off in a “winner take all” open primary election for House District 61. Traditionally, partisan primary elections, known as “closed” primary elections, are an opportunity for democrats and republicans to vote for the candidate they each want representing their respective parties in the general election. In this race, there isn’t a Republican challenger, which enables all registered voters eligible to vote for either candidate. Jim frische, pictured left

90 thEvotERGuiDE

Rep. Jim frishe (Rep) and Rep. Jeff Brandes (Rep) are squaring off in this closely-watched and well-funded primary race for State Senate, District 22. After much speculation, one-term Rep. Jeff Brandes (Rep) jumped into the ring- gloves on- to duke it out with Representative Jim Frishe (Rep), State House Majority Whip since 2010. With a write-in candidate on the ballot in this race, only Republican voters will be able to vote in this “winner take all” closed primary. Other state Senate and House races that have competitive primary elections: SEnATE: District 17- John Korsak (Rep), John Legg (Rep), and Rob Wallace (Rep) District 20- Jack Latvala (Rep) and Zahid Roy (Rep) District 24- Rachel V. Burgin (Rep.) and Tom Lee (Rep.) STATE REPRESEnTATIVE: District 57- Brian Hollands (Rep.) and Jake Raburn (Rep) District 59- Michael “Mike” Floyd (Rep), Ross Spano (Rep), Betty Jo Tompkins (Rep), and Joe Wicker (Rep) District 63- Mark Danish (Dem) and Z.J. Hafeez (Dem) District 65- Marg Baker (Rep), Peter Nehr (Rep), Tory Perfetti (Rep), and Philip Tropea (Rep) District 66- Mary Louise Ambrose (Dem) and Joanne “Cookie” Kennedy (Dem) District 67- Ed Hooper (Rep) and Christopher Shepard (Rep) District 68- Frank Farkas (Rep) and Daryle L. Hamel (Rep) District 69- Jim Dobyns (Rep), Kathleen Peters (Rep), and David Phillips (Rep)

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the dreaded “summer slide” — a time when children often lose months of reading achievement in just a few critical weeks. To help prevent this loss, your Children’s Board — in partnership with Hillsborough County Public Schools and other local organizations — now offers children in our county myON

Reader; a FREE, interactive online library of 2,000+ digital books available 24 hours a day, everyday.

Just visit and register your kids for this all-important program that’ll make reading fun while preparing them for future school success.


he JWB of Pinellas County invites you to become more involved in maximizing the resources being invested in our children! Get connected to one of the JWB’s three Community Councils (for South, Mid and North Pinellas County), whose primary task is to help us identify the key needs and newest trends in local communities, and develop potential solutions that improve the quality of life for children and families in their part of the County. Council members include leaders and consumers of communitybased organizations, businesses, faith-based institutions, educational and government agencies. If you or someone you know wants to become more involved: Council meetings are held on the 1st Thursday of each month at 3:30 p.m. (South), and 6 p.m.

(Mid and North) and open to the public. If you are interested in attending or becoming a member, please contact a JWB regional planner in your area: North County serves Clearwater, Safety Harbor, Oldsmar, Tarpon Springs, Dunedin, Palm Harbor, Belleair, Clearwater Beach, Crystal Beach, and Ozona. John White, North Council Council Chairperson JWB Sr. Planner - Danielle Ricciardi, M.A.,(727) 547-5696 Mid County serves Pinellas Park, Lealman, Seminole, Largo, Madeira Beach, Belleair Shores, Indian Rocks Beach, Kenneth City, Redington Shores, and North Redington Beach and Shores. Ray Neri, Mid County Council Chairperson JWB Sr. Planner - Yaridis L.

Garcia, M.A., (727) 547-5662 South County serves Gulfport, St. Petersburg, St. Petersburg Beach, South Pasadena, and Treasure Island. Judy Hall, Ph.D., South County Council Chairperson JWB Sr. Planner - Delquanda S. Turner, M.B.A., (727) 5475647 County-wide JWB faith Based Coordinator Trenia Cox, (727) 547-5624

Learn more about the JWB at

Become a co-spon Election Voter Gu

African Americans in th

The 2012 Presidential Election Voter Guide (releasing preGeneral Election on October 3rd 2012) This special publication will include 100+ pages of photos, features and the latest trends for African American voters in the Tampa Bay region. Special features will include: The Races & Candidates: a line-up of the major local candidates competing in the November 6th election How big is the Black Vote? with surprising recent trends and the newest national, state and local data.

In search of “Black Power,” unveiling the latest research and insider information about the state of black political power – including the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and secret weapons of the bay area’s civil rights and civic organizations. Straw Poll: 500 black voters will be polled for their top candidate picks, and the reasons for their choices. Co-sponsorship RSVPs: by Monday, September 17th Details available at: www. or contact Publisher Gypsy Gallardo at 727-866-0873 or gypsy@

onsor of The 2012 Presidential Guide, releasing October 3 to 33,000 rd

the Tampa Bay region.

Special thanks to the Co-Sponsors of the 2012 Primary Election Voter Guide: 100 Black Men of Tampa Bay • African American Voter Research & Education Committee • Agenda 2010 & Beyond • Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. • Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. • Bethel Community Foundation • Bishop for Ethical Leadership & Civic Engagement at University of South Florida • Black Law Students Association (Stetson University College of Law) • • Center for Community & Economic Justice • Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. • East Tampa Business & Civic Association • Florida Courier newspaper • Florida Public Service Union/SEIU • Fred G. Minnis, Sr. Bar Association • George Edgecomb Bar Association • James B. Sanderlin Neighborhood Family Center • Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. • League of Women Voters of the St. Petersburg Area • National Congress of Black Women • National Council of Negro Women • Neighborhood Association of Childs Park • Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. • The PACT • Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. • Pinellas County Urban League (and Urban League Young Professionals) • The Power Broker magazine • Project Juffure • Quantum Management Resources • Seven x 7 • Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. • Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity, Inc. • SocialLeverage1 • Sojourner Truth Center • St. Petersburg Masonic Lodge #109 • St. Petersburg NAACP • Tampa Organization of Black Affairs • Urban Development Solutions • Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.

Stetson University College of Law

Part-time Law School Information Sessions

Aug. 2, 6 p.m. Tampa Law Center or Aug. 23, 6 p.m. Gulfport campus

Earn your law degree from Stetson’s evening program. Our part-time students learn from the same talented professors who teach full-time students, and many part-time students become campus leaders.

Seating is limited – RSVP today

(727) 562-7802

Florida’s First Law School

Applicants must take the LSAT and have a baccalaureate degree from an institution accredited by an agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

The Voter Guide 2012  

Voter Guide for the 2012 Primary Elections in Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties, with detailed coverage of the major local candidates and r...

The Voter Guide 2012  

Voter Guide for the 2012 Primary Elections in Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties, with detailed coverage of the major local candidates and r...