It’s been a lot of years since voters in District 6 had to choose a County commissioner with no incumbent on the ballot.
John Morroni, who died May 20 while still in office, served District 6 since 2000. On Nov. 6, residents who live in Feather Sound, Pinellas Park, Seminole, northeast St. Petersburg and the Gulf beaches from Redington Shores south will get a choice between Republican Kathleen Peters and Democrat Amy Kedron to take Morroni’s seat on the Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners.
Peters has served as an elected official since 2008. Kedron is a newcomer to the political arena.
Peters served in the Florida House of Representatives from 2012-2018, representing District 69. She also served on the South Pasadena City Commission from 2008-2012 and was the city’s mayor in 2009. She has lived in Pinellas County since 1985.
She says she is running for commissioner “to bring substantive impacts to Pinellas County in areas where we truly need reform and advancement.”
“Local government is my passion, and I'm ready to hit the ground running to make our county a more prosperous place to live,” Peters wrote in her answer. “I have the experience and ideas to bring meaningful changes to all residents while meeting the core functions of local government: public safety, infrastructure, sewers and water protection/ management.
“In addition, since I led the charge, with members of the Legislature, to change the policies related to mental health and addiction at the state level, it is my goal to ensure Pinellas County has a central receiving facility and a coordinated system of care for mental illness and addiction with access through any door.”
When asked why people should vote for her, she said, “I hope to continue earning the support of the residents in District 6 because I am a true public servant with a "get-the-job-done" mentality.
“As a County Commissioner, my primary goal will to be to create a coordinated system of care in Pinellas County for the mentally ill and those battling addiction problems; oftentimes these issues are co-occurring. I will keep Pinellas County taxes low and continue bringing businesses and jobs here. I'll protect local governments from state over-reach, and ensure that all of our waterways are clean and properly cared for.”
For more information, visit kathleenpeters.com.
Kedron is originally from Buffalo, New York. According to information on her website, she has a “20-year record of dedicating herself to building healthier, stronger communities.”
She moved to Florida in 2010. Among her work history is being a “founding CEO of a social enterprise that encouraged people to support local businesses and an economy that works for everyone.” Soon after moving to Florida, she began working as a professor at USF St. Petersburg and Ringling College, “teaching students how to build stronger businesses, organizations and communities.”
Kedron says she is running for commissioner because she has experience working with small businesses and improving the environment.
“Right now we need leaders who will clean up our waters and get our beach economy booming again,” she said.
Kedron says people should vote for her because she has not taken any money from special interests.
“All my donations have been small and that helps me stay accountable to voters,” she said. “Also, I plan to start investing in small businesses. Most small businesses receive little or no help from elected officials and I want to make sure they thrive. Also I will never allow fracking or drilling to threaten Florida beaches.”
For more information, visit https://amykedron.com.
School board run-off elections
The ballot also includes run-off elections for three School Board seats, since none of the candidates in these races received a majority (50 percent plus one vote) during the August primary. School Board Chair Rene Flowers, who represents District 7, was the only candidate to win Aug. 28, receiving nearly 67 percent of the vote.
Lisa N. Cane and Jeff Larsen are competing for the District 2 at-large seats. Larsen received 46 percent of the vote in the primary election to Cane with 37 percent. Incumbent Terry Krassner, who served on the Board since 2010, received 16 percent.
Cane has lived and worked in Pinellas County since 1988, according to information at VoteLisa.org. Her professional background includes being a creative director Tampa Bay Performing Arts Academy, president of Nicola Productions Inc., musical director of Calvary Christian High School and pre-school music teacher at Young Days Preschool.
She has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Eckerd College and an Associate of Arts degree from St. Petersburg College. She attended East Lake High School, Carwise Middle School, and Highland Lakes and Forest Lakes elementary schools.
She and her husband have four children. Two attend Pinellas County Public Schools. For more information, visit VoteLisa.org.
Larsen is a middle school reading teacher at Gulf Middle School in New Port Richey, according to information at VoteJeffLarsen.com.
He has coached both boys and girls teams for Gulf Middle School in New Port Richey for the past 13 years. He has served the school as a department head of the Dropout Prevention Program, Professional Learning Community facilitator for the reading department and worked on curriculum development for Pasco County. Larsen is a member of the teachers union and currently serves as an alternate building representative.
He lives in Tarpon Springs and has served the city as a commissioner and vice mayor. He grew up in Palm Beach County and graduated from Florida Southern College with a degree in Business Administration.
Larsen and his wife, Dory, have two school age sons who are actively involved in soccer and theater. For more information, visit VoteJeffLarsen.com.
In the race for the District 3 seat, incumbent Peggy O’Shea will take on Nicole Carr, who received 31 percent of the vote Aug. 28 to O’Shea with 42 percent.
Carr is an educational specialist, who has worked as a teacher, school counselor, assistant principal, and district accountability coordinator, according to information provided to the Supervisor of Elections Office.
She has experience working as an educator at all levels of education: elementary, middle, high school and college. She earned her doctorate in school counseling from the College of Education at the University of Florida.
Carr lives in St. Petersburg with her husband, two children and two dogs. For more information, visit www.Nicolecarr.com.
Incumbent Peggy O’Shea has served on the School Board since 2006 and is currently the vice chairwoman. She served as chairwoman during the 2016-2017, 2015-2016 and 2008-2009 school years and as vice-chairperson during 2013-2014 and 2007-2008, according to information on the School District’s website.
Prior to her election, she was appointed by the Governor to serve as chairwoman of the Early Learning Coalition of Pinellas County and was a member of the Florida Early Learning Advisory Council. O’Shea serves on the board of the Council of Great City Schools, Pinellas Education Foundation, Pinellas County Health and Human Services Leadership Board and the School Transportation & Safety Committee.
Prior to her election, O’Shea, who is a resident of Palm Harbor, managed a commercial arbitration and mediation service.
The closest School Board race during the Aug. 28 election was between Matt Stewart and Bill Dudley to represent District 6. Stewart brought in in 37 percent of the vote to Dudley with 34 percent.
Dudley served on the St. Petersburg City Council for eight years, and has lived in District 6 most of his life, according to information dudley4schools.net. Before his time on the Council, he was a teacher and coach working the majority of his 38 years at Northeast High School, where he graduated in 1963. He has taught at all three grade levels – elementary, middle and high school.
His coaching career began as a basketball coach at Meadowlawn Junior High and then continued at Northeast High where he coached football for 14 years, cross country for 20 years and wrestling for 34 years.
He received an Associate of Arts degree in architecture from St. Petersburg College, a Bachelor of Arts in education from the University of South Florida, and a Master of Arts in educational leadership and administration, general from Stetson University, according to information on his LinkedIn page.
Dudley and his wife, Michelle, live in St. Petersburg. For more information, visit dudley4schools.net.
Stewart is a Pinellas County native, born and raised in Clearwater, according to information at the Supervisor of Elections website. He is a Human Resources manager for Hillsborough County. He is also an adjunct instructor at St. Petersburg College in the College of Policy, Ethics, and Legal Studies.
He is a graduate of Largo High School. He has several degrees, including a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy from St. John Vianney, Master of Arts in theology from St. Vincent de Paul, Master of Arts in philosophy and religious studies from University of South Florida, and a Doctor of philosophy from the University of South Florida College of Education, according to his LinkedIn page.
Matt and his family live in St. Petersburg, where they are foster parents with Eckerd Connects. They have assisted six foster children, ranging in age from 4 to 13. For more information, visit Matt4Pinellas.com.
For more election information, visit votepinellas.com.
Suzette Porter is TBN’s Pinellas County editor. She can be reached at email@example.com.