The issues on the minds of voters in Pinellas County's House District 50 haven't changed much from September's primary election. The only major change for the November general election will be Republican Ed Hooper's opponent.
Hooper defeated Nancy Riley in the primary by garnering 58 percent of the vote and will face Democrat Candice Jovan in the Nov. 7 general election. Jovan, a community activist, didn't have a primary challenger.
The District 50 seat is being vacated by Republican Kim Berfield, who is seeking a state Senate seat. District 50, which includes Clearwater, Largo, Safety Harbor and Feather Sound, has been a Republican stronghold.
Hooper, a former Clearwater city commissioner and a retired city firefighter, said he will do what he did in the primary: continue to knock on doors. He said in his canvassing, homeowners insurance is still on voters' minds the most.
"I believe we are going to have a special session called to address homeowners insurance and commercial insurance prior to Thanksgiving," Hooper said.
"(Insurance) is the thing every candidate running for office has said was the most important issue. We need to start addressing it."
Jovan, a political newcomer, said she has been canvassing the district and hearing residents' concerns, too.
"As a grass roots person, I don't have the money of special interest groups," Jovan said.
"I don't think people like that. They like to know that you are for them individually. You don't need special interest groups. You need to be fair and open-minded. I think it's simple."
Going into the general election, Jovan has trailed far behind Hooper in fundraising, according to figures they filed in campaign finance reports.
Jovan, who has a television show on cable access, has made education and affordable housing the focuses of her platform. Like Hooper, she thinks homeowners insurance is a problem.
"We need to establish a bipartisan, independent, blue ribbon commission to uncover ways and means to resolve the Florida property insurance problem," Jovan wrote recently. "This commission would review and offer recommendations not yet identified."
Ed Hooper, 59, was educated in public schools in North Carolina, where he was born. He attended St. Petersburg Junior College, where he studied emergency medicine and fire science. He worked as a firefighter for four years in Statesville, N.C., and then for 24 years in Clearwater. He served on the Clearwater City Commission from 1996 to 2000, when he ran for House District 50 and was defeated by Kim Berfield in the Republican primary. He is married and has two adult children. Assets: Home, IRA, savings accounts, automobiles, jewelry. Liabilities: Small mortgage and a car loan. Source of income: Pension from the city of Clearwater and partnership in Consus Group, a limited liability company that provides government and community relations consulting. Web site: www.edhooper2006.com.
Candice Jovan, 61, was born in New York and graduated from Cliffside Park High School in New Jersey. She has been a Florida resident for 27 years and has lived in Safety Harbor for five years. Jovan has worked as an insurance agent and a business manager, and she produces a public access television show. For the past three years, she has chaired Democracy for America. She is married to Vic Jovan and has two adult children. Assets: Annuities, owns condominium, jewelry. Liabilities: None. Source of income: Independent life, health and annuities insurance agent. Web site: www.votejovan.com
State representative, District 50
District 50 covers parts of Largo, Clearwater, Safety Harbor and Feather Sound (see map, Page 22). State representatives serve two-year terms and are paid $30,996 per year.
[Last modified November 3, 2006, 09:51:25]
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