Who’s on the local ballot and what they’re running for? Below is a summary of priorities for candidates on the August 18 ballot.
Candidates for Congress, District 13 House Representative
(Republican primary; running against Charlie Crist in the general election)
Florida currently has 27 representatives, each serving a two-year term with no term limits. Florida’s 13th Congressional District covers most of central and southern Pinellas County.
George Buck (R) – Buck is an U.S. Army and Air Force veteran, retired firefighter and author. Buck is a pro-life, pro-Second Amendment and a pro-business America-first conservative. Buck plans to stop illegal immigration and reform the Veteran’s Administration.
Sheila Griffin (R) – Griffin supports term limits for Congress members, Second amendment rights, a strong immigration policy, reduction in government size, prohibition on drilling in the Gulf, and early childhood education supported by federal funds.
Anna Paulina Luna (R) – Luna is a U.S. Air Force veteran and vows to fight government corruption, defend the Second amendment, reform immigration, and push back against socialism.
Amanda Makki (R) – Makki wants to jump start the economy post COVID-19, prevent tax increases and “overregulation of small businesses,” reduce out-of-pocket costs for healthcare, stop socialism, ensure veterans’ care, reform transportation and traffic systems, and advocates term limits for members of Congress.
Sharon Barry Newby (R) – Newby supports the Second amendment and defense and veteran’s healthcare issues, wants to eliminate fraud and waste in the government, enforce immigration laws and support ICE. Newby also wants to require professors to take an “Oath of Allegiance to America” and opposes reparations.
Candidates for Florida State Representative District 70 – Universal Primary
According to the League of Women Voters website, “The state House has 120 districts, with one representative per district. State representatives serve two-year terms and can only serve four terms.”
Keisha Bell (D) – Bell is a St. Petersburg native and an attorney with a diverse professional background in family, personal injury, and workers compensation law. Bell plans to focus her efforts on affordable healthcare and to expand Medicaid and funding for public schools. Bell is pro-choice, anti-discrimitaion and will work to increase wages.
Michelle Grimsley (D) – Grimsley is a St. Petersburg native and her primary priority is affordable healthcare for all.
Mark Oliver (D) – Oliver supports affordable healthcare for all Floridians, addressing funding disparities and achievement gaps, raising teacher pay, and investing in 21st century infrastructure for schools. He wants to expand transportation choices, reenact environmental protections and regulations and plans to make a commitment to help all Floridians with disabilities.
Michele Rayner (D) – Raynor plans to work towards housing, healthcare and education equity, as well as criminal justice reform and ways to protect Florida’s waterways, beaches and communities.
Candidates for Pinellas County Sheriff – Democratic Primary
James McLynas – McLynas wants to protect constitutional rights, end the war on drugs and revive tourism. He also wants to reduce high costs of policing and lower taxes, end warrantless spying on citizens, apply preservation of life policies, limit use of force and use body cams. McLynas wants to end mass incarceration, petty arrests and debt prison, and create a more “user friendly” community sheriff’s office.
Eliseo Santana – Santana vows to work to reduce use of force and increase the use of de-escalation tactics. He intends to require officers to use body cameras, demilitarize the police force and better utilize taxpayer resources.
Pinellas County School Board District 1 – At-Large
According to the League of Women Voters website, the Pinellas County School Board consists of seven members: three who are elected at-large, which means they are voted on by all county residents, and four who are elected by the registered voters within each single-member district. Terms are four years.
Laura Hine – Hine is a U.S. Naval Academy graduate who spent 10 years in the Navy as a Surface Warfare Officer. Hine believes in adequate teacher pay for recruitment and sustainment and supports teacher autonomy. Hine vows to focus on changing standardized testing, adjusting the school grading system and school safety.
Stephanie G. Meyer – Meyer is a local school teacher who believes in redirecting funding into the classroom. Meyer plans to recruit and retain professional teachers, provide them with better pay, more flexibility and autonomy. Meyer intends to expand mental health counseling, advocacy for ESE students and encourages community engagement and parent participation in schools.
Tom Topping – Topping spent 23 years as a public school teacher, coach and district administrator. Topping’s priorities include safer schools for students, teachers, administrators, parents and other stakeholders. He plans to work to ensure academic rigor and reduce achievement gaps. He believes equity and access for all means that schools and departments are funded fairly, based on needs of students and teachers.
Pinellas County School Board District 4
Chris Hardman – Hardman is an educator with more than 10 years experience in the Pinellas County School system.
Eileen Long – Long is currently a school board member with over 22 years of teaching in Pinellas County.
Pinellas County School Board District 7
Caprice Edmond – Edmond is a St. Petersburg native and local educator. Edmond plans to focus on equity in education, academic success, safety in the schools, family and community engagement, and plans to recruit and retain educators and staff professionals.
Corey Givens Jr. – Givens is a St. Petersburg native and if elected will be the youngest school board member. Givens plans to Increase family engagement and community partnerships and increase teacher pay. Givens also plans to work on school safety and student potential
Sharon D. Jackson – Jackson has more than 30 years’ experience as a teacher, school counselor, principal and college professor. Jackson believes in a student-first leadership.
Karl J. Nurse – Nurse is a 34-year business owner and believes that with Pinellas County School’s budget of $1.5 billion he can run it like a business.
Board of County Commissioners District 7 – Democratic Primary
According to the League of Women Voters website, the board governs all unincorporated areas of the county and is responsible for setting the millage rate for the county. The board approves the budgets for the clerk of the circuit court, the sheriff, and the supervisor of elections, and serves as the Emergency Medical Services Authority, the Fire Protection Authority, the Mosquito Control Board, the Countywide Planning Authority, and the Water and Navigation Control Authority.
Rene Flowers – Flowers says she is committed to improving student graduation rates, keeping students safe, increasing teacher and support staff pay, building and rehabilitating schools, and increasing administration diversity.
Wengay “Newt” Newton – Newton is a St. Petersburg native and has 12 years of governance experience on St. Petersburg City Council and the Florida House of Representatives.
Frank Peterman Jr. – Peterman plans to focus on economic development and affordable housing.
For more information on all August 18 candidates at vote.lwvspa.org/election-guide. Find out more about the election, including voting locations, at votepinellas.com. The Gabber used information from vote.lwvspa.org for this piece.