State Rep. Chris Latvala took a few moments out of his re-election campaign Thursday to praise a Pinellas County School Board candidate.
Bill Dudley, a former St. Petersburg council member, is running for the School Board District 1 at-large seat that’s voted on countywide. Dudley has three opponents in the nonpartisan race: Matt Stewart, Joanne Lentino and Robert J. Beal. The incumbent, Janet Clark, is not running for re-election.
Dudley is a former teacher who coached basketball, football, cross-country and wrestling during his career. Latvala said he had known Dudley for years and praised his experience and knowledge of the education system. He also criticized Clark, saying, Dudley was running for a seat held by a “School Board member who is not the brightest of the bunch. She is a liberal.”
Latvala, a Republican, made his remarks during a meeting of the Pinellas Suncoast Black Republican Club.
Latvala, who is running for re-election to HD 67 against Democrat David Vogel, said that being a state representative is one of the greatest jobs he’d ever had. District 67 covers parts of Clearwater and Largo.
He spoke about working to get insurers to approve treatment for a critically ill child, saying it was one of his proudest moments while in office.
Latvala also talked about his success in getting a bill passed that would allow juvenile offenders to have their records expunged when they reach 21 years of age. Previously state law had required them to wait until age 24. His expungement bill, he said, also allows certain offenders to receive early expungement when they turn 18 if they have not reoffended and meet other requirements.
“That really was one of my proudest moments,” Latvala said.
That’s why he’s running for his second term, he said.
“I want to keep being a fighter for the people who don’t have lobbyists,” Latvala said.
The School District election is Aug. 30. The election for HD 67 is Nov. 8.