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.