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    Indian Rocks official to run for state Senate

    By CURTIS KRUEGER, Times Staff Writer
    © St. Petersburg Times
    published June 14, 2002

    Joanna Kennedy, an Indian Rocks Beach city commissioner and hair salon owner, has announced plans to run for the state Senate.

    "We need a lot of energy in Tallahassee," Kennedy said. "I don't think we need more of the same that's going on. I think we need new blood."

    Kennedy, a Democrat, said her experience as a two-term commissioner would serve her well in Tallahassee, where state officials don't always seem to understand the needs of local governments.

    "Between the local level and the state level there's this missing link, and that's what I think I can bring to the table."

    Kennedy is running in new Senate District 13, which extends from St. Pete Beach to Dunedin. Senate districts were redrawn by the Legislature this year. Kennedy, 42, may face longtime former state Rep. Dennis Jones, a Republican, who intends to run for the same seat.

    "I think that people in general want to see some change, they want to see fresh blood, fresh faces, not career politicians," Kennedy said.

    Kennedy said she wanted to fight for better education funding. "I know that Gov. Bush cut $3-billion in taxes and if we would have had that, we could have given it for teachers' salaries, we could have used it for the lowering of class size" and other needs.

    She said she also intends to work on senior issues such as affordable medications and to push policies favoring "smart growth," meaning that development should happen in a way that does not harm the environment and does not overtax existing infrastructure.

    The four other members of the Indian Rocks City Commission, including the mayor, have endorsed Kennedy's candidacy. Later this year Kennedy will resign her commission seat, as required for candidates seeking higher office. Her term expires in March.

    Kennedy, who is divorced and has one son, grew up in Pinellas County, graduated from Largo High School and attended St. Petersburg Junior College and Eckerd College.

    She owns the Cookie Cutters salon in Indian Rocks Beach.

    She also has been active in the Florida League of Cities.

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