SPRING HILL - Robert Anzalone, 21, said he did a three-year stint as a disc jockey in the Tampa Bay area and was exposed to the best of humanity as well as the seamier side of life.
Anzalone said he could tell some sordid stories of some of the gigs he worked, especially around Ybor City.
Anzalone left that line of work, moved back to Spring Hill in March and now takes pictures for an automotive dealership Internet services company out of St. Petersburg.
He also has a new mission: to become county commissioner for District 2.
This week, Anzalone prequalified for the District 2 seat, which is currently held by Republican Wayne Dukes.
For Anzalone, this is his first stab at politics and he is running as a no-party affiliation candidate. He said he doesn't want a political party label to interfere with his mission.
And his primary mission, he said, is to bring the community together.
Anzalone said he believes Hernando County is too fragmented. People don't know anything about their neighbors.
He wants to change that by holding more community-based events, perhaps a barbecue at the bandshell in downtown Hernando Park.
Anzalone said he also wants to give small business a greater opportunity to showcase their wares and will work toward creating a website where business owners can post all their job openings.
"My goal is to bring those businesses up and make them known in the area," Anzalone said. "That would lower our unemployment rate."
Anzalone said there are jobs to be had in Hernando County but most people are unaware of them. Walking around his rented apartment at Bridgewater Apartments in Spring Hill, he's seen two signs in the window asking for workers, he said.
But these businesses have no way to get the word out, and that is where a central clearinghouse of job openings would benefit them, he said.
Anzalone moved from his native Rochester, N.Y., to Spring Hill when he was 7 years old. He graduated from Springstead High School in 2010, and the next day, he said, he moved to Tampa, where he freelanced as a DJ at weddings, private parties, bars and clubs. "I decided I didn't want that life," he said.
When he returned to Spring Hill, he got a job with AutoExact, which maintains automobile dealer inventory sites. Anzalone visits dealers in Hernando, Citrus and Pasco counties and takes pictures of vehicles and uploads them to websites.
He's had a yearning to enter politics and saw his chance when the seat opened on the commission, which is in his district.
"I've always been interested in politics," he said. "I saw the chance that seat 2 was coming up for election and I saw the opportunity. I figured this would be the perfect way to get my foot in the door of politics."
Also running for District 2 is Democrat Jimmy Lodato, a retired businessman, and Charles McBrearty, a student at St. Leo University who is running as a Libertarian party candidate.
All three are running against incumbent Dukes, a retired firefighter and businessman.
"The more the merrier," Dukes said of his newest challenger.