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District 1 Pasco County Commission

Both east county candidates in this race face the challenge of a countywide campaign.

By CHASE SQUIRES

© St. Petersburg Times, published November 1, 2000


The battle for Pasco County Commission District 1 pits a pair of San Antonio residents in a fight for an open east Pasco seat that must be won by campaigning on the west side.

Under the county's system, commissioners must live in their respective districts, but they are elected at large. In a county so split by population, distance and traffic that many residents from one side rarely travel to the other, the challenge for the District 1 candidates is to woo the vote-heavy west side.

"You have to get out there to really present your issues," Republican candidate Ted Schrader said. "It's easier to walk the precincts on the west side because the homes are closer together ... Hopefully we've built a base over there where people know us."

"It's amazing," said his Democratic opponent, Charlotte Kiefer. "On the west side, it's totally different from here. We have people who are upset because their roads need repaving. On the east side, we have roads that have never been paved at all."

The race pits Kiefer, a 54-year-old political newcomer, against Schrader, a 44-year-old relative veteran of area politics. Schrader served on the San Antonio City Commission for six years in the 1980s and ran unsuccessfully for the County Commission District 1 seat in 1996, losing to longtime incumbent Sylvia Young by 13,000 votes.

The race this year is to fill the seat that Young, a Democrat, has held since 1980. She announced her retirement this year.

Kiefer is a fixture on the east Pasco business scene. Until last year, she ran a Badcock Home Furnishings store in Dade City, as well as two other Badcock stores farther north. She challenged the Mulberry-based corporation last year, leading a dealer revolt against the firm's contract arrangements that eventually was settled in mediation.

Kiefer now describes herself as an entrepreneur and volunteer while her family runs a furniture store formed after she split from the Badcock operation.

She said her priorities are dealing with growth and the area's water needs. She favors desalination and wouldn't oppose a plant in Pasco County if it would mean more jobs. She said she is not against growth but wants the county to prepare for it better.

Although she said she would oppose more taxes, she is open to impact fees as a way to pay for the county's needs. Growth is coming no matter what, she said, as the result of decisions made and permits issued years ago.

Her biggest asset, Kiefer said, is her experience as both a businesswoman and a mother, which lets her understand both development and quality-of-life arguments.

"People see me and we talk, and they realize I'm just like them," she said.

Schrader, a citrus grower and real estate broker, served on the county Soil and Water Conservation District board in addition to his six-year stint on the San Antonio governing board.

His main issues are water, roads and growth management.

Schrader said one key to water and land conservation could be to allow large landholders to sell their development rights so they are not enticed by rising property values to develop their land. That would free landholders to create green space that could accommodate wildlife and water recharge areas at no cost to the county, he said.

But for those who do choose to develop, Schrader says navigating the bureaucracy in Pasco County can be a frustrating and expensive process, one he would like to see streamlined.

Development can't be prevented, he said, but it should be done carefully to avoid sprawl. He said the "new town" concept of development, concentrating growth around community hubs, is attractive.

Developing more water sources would allow growth in Pasco County without further draining the aquifer, he said.

THE JOB

County Commission District 1 covers eastern Pasco County. Commissioners are elected countywide but must live in the district they represent. The commission sets staff policy and the county budget and creates ordinances. Commissioners serve four-year terms and are paid $61,926 a year.

REPUBLICAN

TED SCHRADER, 44, is a native of Tampa who is a citrus grower and real estate broker. He served on the San Antonio City Commission between 1982 and 1988. Schrader has served for years as a director of the Pasco County Farm Bureau and was a board member of the Pasco Regional Medical Center. Schrader earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Florida in 1978. He is married with three children. ASSETS: land, real estate, stock, mutual funds, IRA. LIABILITIES: credit cards, loan. SOURCE OF INCOME: Schrader Realty, Handcart Cattle Co., Prairie Creek Citrus Inc., SCF Farms Inc.

DEMOCRAT

CHARLOTTE KIEFER, 54, is a native of Dade City. Kiefer works for herself as a Mary Kay Beauty consultant after transferring ownership of three furniture stores to family members. Kiefer serves as vice president of the Greater Dade City Chamber of Commerce and vice president of the Catholic Women's Club of St. Joseph. She graduated from Hernando High School in 1963. Kiefer is married and has five children. ASSETS: IRA, home, checking and savings accounts, vehicle. LIABILITIES: home mortgage. SOURCE OF INCOME: Novacare of Tampa.

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