Times Staff Writer
TIME FOR CHANGE?: Ann Hildebrand touts her record as a public servant, while her opponent, Keith Waldron, says, after 20 years, it's time for a change.
In her quest for four more years, Commissioner Ann Hildebrand points to the accomplishments of the past 20.
During her two-decade tenure, she said, the county has modernized its network of parks and libraries, built an incinerator to handle the county's garbage, widened numerous roads and laid water and sewer lines in fast-growing areas.
Tampa Bay Water has developed other sources of drinking water and dramatically reduced its pumping of Pasco well fields, said Hildebrand, who serves on the regional water supplier's board of directors.
"I think I have a good institutional knowledge and a track record as a public servant in what I've done," said Hildebrand, 66, a Republican seeking her sixth term.
Her opponent, Democratic newcomer Keith Waldron, points to the problems of the past few decades: the high rate of residents commuting out of the county to work, the deterioration of older neighborhoods and the fast pace of "uncontrolled growth."
"After being in there 20 years, sometimes it's time for a new set of eyes, a change," said Waldron, 46.
A retired Winn-Dixie manager who works in real estate, Waldron decided to join the commission race after voters approved the Penny for Pasco, a 1-cent sales tax increase that will pay for road improvements, new schools, environmental land and other amenities.
Waldron said he voted against the tax, although he acknowledged schools could use the money. But he disagreed with the commission's decision to hold the referendum in March instead of November, and he criticized officials' efforts to support the tax.
"I don't think they should have been as boisterous as they were behind it," Waldron said.
Hildebrand makes no apologies for promoting the penny, however.
"Going out and speaking as I did for the penny and what it was about was important as a public servant to do," Hildebrand said. "It allayed a lot of people's fears, and it answered a lot of questions."
She supported the earlier election date "so we can start collecting, and we can fast track some of the projects we're doing."
The District 3 race also includes a write-in candidate, Jon Kueny, head of the local Libertarian Party. Kueny, 65, belonged to the Citizens Against the Penny for Pasco, although he said he would have supported funding just for schools.
District 3 covers part of southwest Pasco County. Commissioners are elected countywide but must live in the district they represent. The County Commission sets policy and approves rezonings, expenditures and ordinances. Commissioners serve four-year terms and are paid $70,821.
ANN HILDEBRAND, 66, has been a county commissioner since 1984. She is a native of Michigan who moved to Pasco County in 1971. As a commissioner, she has served on the board of Tampa Bay Water, the regional agency responsible for the water supply, as well as other boards such as the U.S. 19 Task Force. She graduated from Michigan State University with a bachelor's degree in social science and became a social worker for the probate court. Hildebrand has held leadership roles in numerous charitable organizations, including the United Way, Red Cross, the Pasco Food Bank and the Good Samaritan Health Clinic, which she founded. She is married and has two grown sons. ASSETS: home, property in Alabama, investments, bank accounts. LIABILITIES: mortgages, boat loan, car loan. SOURCE OF INCOME: commission salary and Social Security.
KEITH WALDRON, 46, is a real estate associate for Cederman Properties Inc. in Palm Harbor. Born in West Virginia, Waldron moved to Florida in 1971 and graduated from Dunedin High School in 1976. He worked for Winn-Dixie for 30 years and held several management positions before leaving the company in 2003. He obtained his real estate associate license in 2001 and owns a couple of rental properties. He serves on the board of directors for the Tarpon Springs Chamber of Commerce, and he has lived in Holiday for 19 years. He is divorced and has a grown daughter and an 11-year-old son. ASSETS: Home, rental properties, investments, bank accounts. LIABILITIES: Home equity loan to renovate rental properties. SOURCE OF INCOME: Winn-Dixie profit sharing, real estate sales. E-MAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org