Former state Sen. Charlie Justice made it official Thursday: He’s running to unseat Pinellas County Commissioner Nancy Bostock in the at-large District 3 seat, a countywide race.
SaintPetersBlog reporter Daphne Street had the chance to talk with Justice not soon after he announced he was running.
Daphne Steet: Why did you choose to run for County Commission?
Charlie Justice: I grew up in service to the community and in working in public service, and I find a lot of joy iin the work. I’ve spent two terms serving in the Florida State House of Representatives and one term in the Senate. This last year, I’ve been at home and had an opportunity to really get involved in my local community, which I love, and I miss public service. If the voters choose to elect me, I believe that new leadership is needed in the [Pinellas County Commission].
DS: Why do you think you can beat Nancy Bostok?
CJ: Again, I think we need a change in leadership, and I believe the voters want this too. There is not enough diversity that is even representative of the registered Democrats versus Republicans in Pinellas County. When you have a government body that isn;t diverse, you see extreme ideology can push policy. I witnessed that at the state level, too. We also need leadership that can communicate and work with others to create jobs and address public safety isses, and that’s not really happening. I got a lot done on the state level, and I hope to get a chance to commit that energy and knowledge to getting positive change made in Pinellas.
DS: What specific issues do you want to see addressed/changes made in Pinellas County?
CJ: We need to create more jobs, and what I mean is that we don’t need government jobs, but we need to support more entrepreneurs and small businesses with tax incentives and resources to help grow businesses in Pinellas. Unemployment in Pinellas is too high, and we need to do real things to address that such as cultivating entrepreneurs and business growth.
Also, public safety is important. We need safe and secure neighborhoods. I have small children, and I want the to grow up in a place that’s safe and secure. All parents do. That’s important.
With all issues, we need leadership to communicate to resolve differences and get things done. We need leadership that moves forward to solutions and doesn’t get caught up in arguing. The people deserve that.