ST. PETERSBURG – State Rep. Larry Ahern, R-St. Petersburg, plans to file as a candidate for State House in the proposed House District 66.
Ahern currently represents District 51 and was elected to a two-year term in 2010.
“I look forward to continuing to represent the residents in west central Pinellas County,” Ahern said in a press release. “The Florida Legislature has made much progress and continues to do so in helping to improve the state’s economic climate. Jobs and the economy will continue to be my priority.”
Ahern’s announcement comes as the Florida House passed new State House boundaries in the once-in-a-decade task of redistricting.
“It’s an enormous responsibility drawing new political boundaries for all of Florida,” Ahern said. “I think Chairman (Will) Weatherford did an outstanding job of soliciting public input and making the process open and honest.”
A 35-year resident of Pinellas County, Ahern’s decision to run for proposed House District 66 was based on the fact that the proposed district includes many of the volunteers and communities he now represents.
“My wife and I, along with a large group of volunteers, knocked on more than 10,000 doors last election, a big portion of those in Seminole and Largo,” Ahern said. “I feel it’s my responsibility to continue to serve the same people who not only elected me to office, but shared their stories and concerns with us on their front porches.”
Though the state Legislature has not approved final legislative boundaries, all of the proposed State House maps put the communities of Seminole, Indian Shores, Indian Rocks Beach, Belleair, Belleair Shore, Belleair Beach, Belleair Bluffs, and parts of Clearwater and Largo into the same legislative district.
“It’s tough to lose any part of my current district because each neighborhood is so unique and special,” Ahern said. “I’ve met so many inspiring and supportive people, and I hope to continue to represent many of those same individuals come November 2012.”
During his first session in the Legislature, Ahern sponsored legislation that clarified some regulatory language to improve childcare facilities in Florida to allow these small businesses to operate more effectively and efficiently. During Ahern’s first year in office, the Legislature passed a balanced budget without raising taxes, as well as major legislation to help improve the state’s economy, enhance public education and reform Medicaid.