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District 52: Democrat

By THE TIMES RECOMMENDS
Published October 21, 2006


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Bill Heller

In this matchup of first-time candidates, both resumes are impressive. Republican Angelo Cappelli has a lengthy list of civic accomplishments, but even he can't match Democrat Bill Heller. That's a good starting point in distinguishing between two newcomers without political track records. And when you move on to the issues, Heller prevails again with an agenda that better reflects the district's values.

Heller's experience as dean of the University of South Florida St. Petersburg campus for 10 years would be helpful in Tallahassee, especially on education issues. His collaborative skills were on display in the successful tax referendum campaign he led to raise Pinellas teachers' pay. And Heller, 71, has won so many service awards, he must be running out of wall space.

Cappelli, 37, a bank trust officer, also has been active in the community and has a strong command of state issues, reflecting his financial background. His understanding of the insurance crisis is impressive, but on certain social issues he stands well outside the mainstream. In filling out a Christian Coalition form, Cappelli expressed regressive views on gay rights, sex education, gun control and even school funding.

District 52, which encompasses northeast St. Petersburg, is a more tolerant, progressive place than reflected in Cappelli's views. Heller has proved he can build bridges rather than burn them. In Florida House District 52, the Times recommends Bill Heller.

[Last modified October 21, 2006, 02:14:15]


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