After a long tenure in politics, County Commissioner Dave Russell figures it’s time to step away, enjoy his three grandchildren and concentrate on his pool business.
Russell said he will not seek re-election to the District 4 county commission seat in 2014.
“I’ve spent 16 years in public service: eight on the county commission and eight in the state legislature,” Russell said. “That’s a pretty good run. It’s time to step back for a little bit.”
Russell said he will devote his remaining time to righting the budget and get spending in the plus column.
“My entire tenure on the board has been fighting to play (budget) catch-up,” Russell said. “Hopefully during my remaining tenure, we can accomplish and achieve some of the budgetary goals we’ve been after for years.”
Blaise Ingoglia, chairman of the Hernando County Republican Executive Committee, said Russell’s presence on the board will be missed.
“We would like to thank Commissioner Russell for his years of dedication and service to the people of Hernando County,” Ingoglia said. “He’s been a good friend and we will miss his contribution to the community on the commission.
“We will obviously look to put up some strong candidates to make sure that seat stays in Republican hands and to make sure that person is committed to small, responsible government that meets the needs of the residents of Hernando County.”
So far, only one person has pre-qualified for Russell’s District 4 seat. Teamsters steward and county facilities maintenance technician Dan Oliver, a Democrat, pre-filed last Friday.
Oliver said friends had urged him to run for county commission for several months and he was resistant at first.
But last Friday, Oliver took the plunge.
Oliver, who hired on with the county in November 1989, said he no longer is content remaining on the sidelines watching Hernando County come apart at the seams.
“I’ve sat here the last eight years and just watched this community go down the drain,” Oliver said. “I just dispute the way they’re running it right now. We’re losing our libraries, we’re losing our parks. Everything’s turning into a mess.”
Oliver, 58, said there needs to be more emphasis on job training in Hernando County. County commissioners talk about it but don’t do much to bring new jobs, he said.
He intends to be an active commissioner, out of the office and mingling with citizens to get the pulse of their concerns.
He believes his role as union steward has been an asset because he knows the employees, gets out in the community and is familiar with the issues.
Oliver said there also needs to be more activities for young people in the county and he will work on forming ideas.
This is Oliver’s first attempt at politics but says he is ready for the challenge.
“I’m a bulldog,” he said. “Once I get hold of something I don’t let go.”
Paul Douglas, president of the local branch of the NAACP, bowed out of the race last December after determining he could not mount a strong offensive battle against incumbent Dave Russell.
Douglas said he is throwing his support behind Oliver and will work with him on his campaign.
Douglas said he is considering other political opportunities.