Pinellas County Commissioner Janet Long donated $100 to Chris Latvala’s re-election campaign.
Long is a Democrat. Latvala is a Republican.
“I support those who I think are really, really good leaders,” Long said. “I have found him to have quite a bit of depth for a man of his age.”
Long said Tuesday that, at the beginning of the campaign season, she said she would not work against any incumbent who had done good things for Pinellas. Latvala, whom Long has known since he was a child, fit in that category.
Latvala, she said, always has had an open-door policy and has helped with some issues important both to her and to Pinellas.
“He’s very positive about helping me with my transportation issue,” said Long, who is urging that transportation issues be handled on a more regional basis.
“Do I agree with everything he does?” she asked. “No, I do not.”
But, she said, it’s important for the county to have good relations with all elected officials in order to get things accomplished. And that means crossing party lines to collaborate and work to achieve goals.
“Do you have to hate someone because they’re a member of a different political party?” Long asked.
Long said she has nothing against Latvala’s opponent, Democrat David Vogel. Long has never met Vogel and has only heard him speak once. During that forum, Long said Vogel did not explain why he’s running. Instead, “all he did was tear down Chris, and I don’t like that,” Long said.
Latvala, the son of state Sen. Jack Latvala, is running for his second term in state House District 67. Like Long, Latvala says he prides himself on being able to work across the aisle to “do what’s right.”
Among his first-term accomplishments are laws that would bolster resiliency and self-motivation in the classroom by teaching resume writing and job interview strategies, and another that makes it easier for nonviolent, non-habitual juvenile offenders to overcome past mistakes and find work.
District 67 covers a portion of Clearwater, Largo, Pinellas Park and the unincorporated High Point area. The election is Nov. 8.