Tuesday, October 23, 2018
Editorials

Times recommends: Kathleen Peters for Pinellas County Commission

There is only one credible candidate in the race for Pinellas County Commission District 6, which covers Seminole, Pinellas Park, northeast St. Petersburg and the south Pinellas beaches. Kathleen Peters is a former South Pasadena mayor who served six years in the Florida House. The mainstream Republican won a three-way primary in August, and she has the experience and temperament to fit in well on a collegial commission that works in a bipartisan fashion.

Peters, 57, of Treasure Island became an authority on mental health issues in the House by visiting prisons, mental hospitals and judges. On the county commission, she would explore the creation of a central receiving facility for people suffering from substance abuse or mental health issues and who may be involuntarily committed because they pose a threat to themselves or others. She also wants to focus on upgrading infrastructure, supports bus rapid transit and seeks to add incentives for developers to build more affordable housing.

As a state legislator, Peters was not shy about addressing local issues or challenging Republican leadership. She helped pass legislation to reform the Pinellas Construction Licensing Board after a Tampa Bay Times investigation found abuses. She also criticized the city of St. Petersburg for failing to properly notify residents of spills of partially treated sewage, and she helped pass legislation that now requires the public to be notified within 24 hours of a discharge.

Pinellas Democrats failed to field a viable candidate in this race. Amy Kedron, 42, of Madeira Beach, is a first-time candidate who recently said she is unemployed and has a law degree but has never taken the Florida Bar exam to work as an attorney. The Tampa Bay Times reported that Kedron also faced accusations of physical abuse and stalking from her former fiance, who twice sought court-ordered protection from her. Both allegations came after she filed to run for office in May, records show. Kedron has denied the claims.

Peters is a strong choice to fill the commission seat that was long occupied by another Republican, John Morroni, who died in May. For Pinellas County Commission District 6, the Tampa Bay Times recommends Kathleen Peters.

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