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Fed up, she starts political party

Cindy Cino of Citrus County says she is discontented with the established parties and corrupt, misguided politics.

By COLLEEN JENKINS, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published March 30, 2003


Cindy Cino has been both a Republican and a Democrat. She's fed up with each party.

On Friday she switched her registration to nonaffiliated. But she's got a bigger plan. She's not seeking quite the revolution advocated by Thomas Paine in his famed pamphlet Common Sense, but her latest cause has a similar ring to his title.

Identical, in fact. The 46-year-old Homosassa woman is starting her own political party, and she's calling it Common Sense.

Corrupt, misguided politics have prompted Cino's most recent reincarnation, she said Friday. And Cino claims at least "several thousand" people are ready to switch their party loyalties to the new party.

"I think people need to wake up because there is something going on here," she said. "Government is about people, and if we don't get it back to that, then this country is down the tubes. We can't hope that the Democrats or Republicans are going to take care of people."

Cino hasn't filed the official paperwork to establish the Common Sense party. But the idea has marinated in her head for quite some time now, she said.

Some might view the creation as self-promotion. Cino and her husband, Joe, parents of seven children, have been perennial candidates in Citrus County for more than a decade. An outspoken advocate on various issues, Cindy Cino has run unsuccessfully for the School Board and the Inverness City Council.

Last year, she dropped her bid for a County Commission seat.

She also relinquished her role as vice chairwoman of the Democratic Executive Committee in January after her husband gave up an ardent fight to remain committee chairman.

But Cino said she has no desire to become the new party's leader. This is not a power trip, she explained. She just wants a party to represent what she dubs "basic values:" encouraging work and responsibility, supporting families, saving the environment, promoting good health and listening to the "little guy."

"I'd rather take care of my kids, but my goodness, we're throwing (the country) away," Cino said. "I don't think either one of (the parties) are interested in solving the problems in America today."

Upon hearing news of Cino's plan, her former party peers were mildly surprised. Wes Stow, chairman of the Republican Executive Committee, remembers when the Cinos left his party to become Democrats.

"What can I say?" he asked. "It seems kind of an exercise in futility because the (alternative) parties never really have much of an impact. But if anyone can energize a group, Cindy can do it. I certainly hope that no Republicans do that!"

Her former Democratic colleague, Democratic Executive Committee chairman Frank Yetner, said he had no idea Cino was considering another party switch. Though she stepped down as the party's vice chairwoman, she still is a state party representative, he said.

"She didn't tell us," Yetner said, noting she hadn't attended party meetings in three months. "That means we've got to hold a new election."

But he didn't seem to harbor any hurt feelings.

"I wish her luck," he said.

As of Friday, Joe Cino wasn't planning to follow his wife's lead -- yet. He already has declared his candidacy for the seat held by County Commissioner Josh Wooten, and he's not sure he can change his nonaffiliated party status.

Still, he backs the idea.

"I will always be whatever my wife is," he said. "If she forms a new party, I'll be with her."

Does Cindy Cino think her husband would make a good Common Sense member?

"Absolutely," she said. "He's got more common sense than most people I know."

-- Colleen Jenkins can be reached at 860-7303 or cjenkins@sptimes.com.

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