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2 challengers file to take on Young in congressional race


© St. Petersburg Times, published May 13, 2000

PINELLAS PARK -- Randy Heine isn't exactly what you'd call a traditional candidate for public office.

He's fighting pending criminal charges of growing marijuana in his house. In the early 1990s, he pleaded guilty to a federal charge of selling drug paraphernalia across state lines. And back in the 1980s there was that incident in which he shot a duck -- charges that he beat at trial.

Randy Heine, 48, qualified Friday to challenge U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young for the 10th Congressional District seat that represents south Pinellas and parts of Clearwater. Josette Green, 43, of St. Petersburg also qualified for the race. The job pays $136,673 a year.

"I don't think people are in control of the government," said Heine, 48, who owns the Tobacco Emporium in Pinellas Park. "Bureaucrats are in control."

Heine's platform is a meandering amalgamation of the politics of personal freedoms, campaign finance reform and the need to check burgeoning governmental bureaucracy.

Heine, who is running without party affiliation, said he has saved $100,000 to pay for his campaign against Young, a Republican who has held the seat for 30 years. For the last two years, Young has held the powerful position of chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.

The other candidate, Green, who markets student loans and payment plans to colleges, is affiliated with the Natural Law Party. She said the party's philosophy jibes with her own and that realization brought her to the congressional race.

"One of my main tenets in life is that of peace," Green said. "There is a very strong emphasis (in the Natural Law Party) of living in harmony, and that's what I am. That's what I represent."

Though Heine has a conviction, his civil rights were restored in 1997, according to the state clemency board office. That means he may run for office, said Frank Gould, elections specialist in the Pinellas Supervisor of Elections Office.

While Heine has not previously held political office, he made an unsuccessful run for the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office in 1984.

That was the same year he faced charges of animal cruelty and discharging a firearm in public.

Heine said the charges stemmed from an incident in which he encountered a duck that had been run over by a car and was in pain. He said he shot it to put it out of its misery. Heine said he went to trial, but was found not guilty.

About the pending drug charges, Heine said he wasn't there when police searched his house. Police say they found marijuana in Heine's house. But a judge recently said the search warrants were based on lies and suppressed much of the evidence in the case against Heine.

- Times staff writer Tim Nickens and researcher Kitty Bennett contributed to this report.

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