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Waters' job interests 2 on council

Published May 11, 2005

SEMINOLE - The next election may be a year and a half away, but two Seminole council members say they may try to replace state Rep. Leslie Waters, who is terming out.

To make matters more interesting, the two - Mayor Dottie Reeder and council member Janet Long - would run from different parties. If they survived the primaries, they would face each other.

"That would be an interesting race," said Reeder, who would run as a Republican. "We do have very different points of view."

Reeder, 56, said she plans to decide in the next month after meeting with some friends and advisers.

Reeder said it is a little early to discuss potential platforms, but said she thinks her 18 years in local politics would give her an edge.

She has also served as president of the Florida League of Cities and, as such, has traveled the state and lobbied in Tallahassee.

The experience, she said, has given her a chance to see the local impact of legislative votes. It has also allowed her to understand that different parts of the state have various opinions about issues because they are affected in conflicting ways.

Sometimes, Reeder said, the Legislature fails to take the opportunity to work out solutions that will help all parts of the state.

Long, 60, said she will likely decide in the next two weeks whether to run.

"I'm trying to make a thoughtful, deliberate decision about whether I am going to run," Long said. "Right now, I am leaning very heavily toward that."

Long, who would run as a Democrat, was also reluctant to discuss a possible platform. Like Reeder, she touted her local experience as well as time spent as a legislative aide and as senior manager of a state agency.

"My biggest desire would be to raise awareness of issues," Long said.

Democracy works best when there is a balance, and currently there is no balance in the Republican-dominated Legislature, she said.

"It's been "my way or the highway,' " Long said.

Her candidacy, Long said, would give local voters a chance to change things.

"For too long, we haven't had a choice in this district," Long said.

Another Seminole council member, Jimmy Johnson, was also rumored to be considering Waters' seat. But Johnson said he does not plan to run at this time.

[Last modified May 11, 2005, 00:46:18]

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