Former state Rep. Ed Hooper ousts Norm Roche from Pinellas Commission

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There will be at least one new face on the Pinellas County Commission.

Former state Rep. Ed Hooper is up 64 to 36 percent over incumbent Norm Roche.

Hooper will now face Democrat Pat Gerard in the November general election.

Hooper ran against Roche because Roche voted against fluoridation in the county’s water.

Hooper served in the Florida House for eight years and is a retired fire lieutenant. As such, Hooper has a plan to improve the county’s EMS process. His five-step plan includes using fire departments that already have transport-ready trucks to transport patients instead of Sunstar and leaving Sunstar services in place for those districts that don’t have an adequate fleet. His plan would close some fire stations. It would also allow Sunstar paramedics to wait at fire stations for calls. As it is now, those vehicles wait at various places around the county like parking lots and gas stations, leaving their vehicles running the entire time. 

Hooper is opposed to the Greenlight Pinellas transit plan that would fund passenger rail and improved bus service by raising sales tax from 7 percent to 8 percent. He questions whether rail would work in Pinellas County. Hooper also suggests using Penny for Pinellas funds for transit improvements instead of a tax. Currently a part of a homeowner’s property taxes pay for public transportation.

Roche was also opposed to Greenlight Pinellas.

Janelle Irwin has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. She also hosts a weekly political talk show on WMNF Community radio. Janelle formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for Patch.com and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a diehard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and the ongoing Pier debacle. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also the devoted mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder. To contact, email janelle@floridapolitics.com.