CLEARWATER - Pinellas County Commissioner Norm Roche has filed to run for re-election to his District 2 at-large seat, a position also being sought by longtime Largo Mayor Pat Gerard and Republican State Rep. Ed Hooper. Roche, a Republican, said today he always planned to seek a second term and wants to keep the county focused on economic growth. He is frequently the lone nay voice on the commission, including on recent decisions to hold a referendum to expand public transit and to introduce a new storm water fee for residents in unincorporated Pinellas.
“I intend to focus on keeping our minds abreast of taxation and keeping control of our spending and budgets,” Roche said. “I want to bring the focus back on economic development and job creation.”
Elections for county commissioners are partisan. If no other candidates file to run, Roche and Hooper will square off in a Republican primary in August. The winner will challenge Gerard, a Democrat, in the Nov. 4 general election.
Roche has opposed the Greenlight Pinellas campaign to raise sales tax for expanded bus service and a 24-mile light rail network linking the downtowns of Clearwater and St. Petersburg.
“We are 275 square miles of 100 percent urban sprawl,” Roche said. “Building a light-rail and hoping we develop around it does not make sense to me.”