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District 49 Florida House

A three-term incumbent faces a low-profile Democratic challenger.

By KATHERINE GAZELLA

© St. Petersburg Times, published November 1, 2000


The race in state House District 49 pits three-term lawmaker Larry Crow against Democrat Sue Humphreys, Crow's first opponent since 1994.

For Humphreys, a 53-year-old real estate property manager, running against an incumbent is nothing new. In 1996, she made an unsuccessful bid to unseat state Sen. Jack Latvala.

Her grassroots, low-profile campaign has Humphreys going door-to-door to get her name out. She says she and her campaign workers have visited thousands of homes. "People respond very positively -- even when I interrupt their Bucs game," she says. "Some people are just flabbergasted that you're standing there at their door."

If elected, Humphreys says, she would walk into Tallahassee "with a plan in hand" for revising campaign finance laws.

"Nothing else is going to happen in Tallahassee until we get the money out," she says.

She also is campaigning on a platform of changing the way the state oversees education. Humphreys has taught in public schools in Florida and public and private schools in Louisiana. She says the state should move away from adding new levels of testing and concentrate instead on reducing class sizes.

Crow considers himself a fiscal conservative. He also points out that he has sided with environmentalists on some issues and secured money for the cleanup of Stevenson Creek in Clearwater.

Crow is chairman of the Financial Services Committee in the House. His sponsored bills include legislation that would create and fund a statewide public guardianship office that would oversee guardians for elderly, mentally disabled people and developmentally challenged people who are indigent. "I really believe that government has a role to provide for people who are less fortunate," he says.

THE JOB

State House District 49 snakes from Tarpon Springs to Pinellas Park and includes parts of Dunedin, Palm Harbor, Clearwater and Largo. State representatives serve two-year terms and are paid $27,900 annually.

REPUBLICAN

LARRY CROW, 40, was elected to the Legislature in 1994. He is a real estate attorney whose clients include the company that runs SunCruz gambling boats out of several Gulf of Mexico ports. He has been active in politics since he was 18. A St. Petersburg native, he holds a bachelor's degree from the University of South Florida and a law degree from the University of Florida. He lives in Palm Harbor and is married and has two sons. ASSETS: house, stocks, law practice. LIABILITIES: two mortgages, boat loan, personal loan, two car leases. SOURCE OF INCOME: legislative salary, law practice.

DEMOCRAT

SUE HUMPHREYS, 53, is a real estate property manager with Arvida Realty Services. She has lived in Pinellas County for 48 years, and now resides in Dunedin. She has a bachelor's degree from the University of Florida. She is a longtime volunteer with the League of Women Voters, and also is involved with Leadership Pinellas and as a board member for the Family Service Center in Clearwater. She is divorced and has two grown children. ASSETS: house, real estate, mutual funds, savings account. LIABILITIES: three mortgages, auto lease, credit cards. SOURCE OF INCOME: real estate job. WEB SITE: http://www.ebusinesspage.net/ suehumphreys/.

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