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Editorials

Congressional District 5 Rematch: Ginny Brown-Waite

Hernando Today
Published:   |   Updated: May 8, 2013 at 10:44 AM

Congressional District 5 Rematch: Ginny Brown-Waite

Wins Our Vote

Democratic challenger John Russell calls U.S. Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite a go along, get along legislator. We do not see it that way.

Brown-Waite has voted against President Bush's initiatives on Social Security privatization, the recent bailout plan and the amnesty plan for illegal immigrants to name a few.

Russell, who garnered 100,000 votes in the 2006 general election against Brown-Waite, is back to try to finish what he started.

He's been called combative, abrasive and mean-spirited on some campaign trails in the past. Now, Russell admits that he needs to smile more and speak in a more congenial tone. It's probably too little, too late.

Russell, 52, a resident of Dade City since 1995, is a nationally certified acute care nurse practitioner with a master's degree in nursing from the University of South Florida. He also holds an MBA in health systems management from Niagara University and the State University of New York at Buffalo.

He sees himself as an expert on health care and carries the credentials to boast of such. He's very smart, but simply wound too tight to be an effective lawmaker in Washington, D.C.

Brown-Waite has been an advocate for veterans and has been successful in bringing veteran resources to the district. Brown-Waite understands our economy and advocates lifting a capital gains tax. Brown-Waite has been tested and has proven to effectively represent the constituents in the 5{+t}{+h} District. Her accomplishments on behalf of the constituents have earned our recommendation.

Brooksville City

Council, Group 3 Seat:

Keep On A Steady

Course With Burnett

Stay with the incumbent while progress is being made. Brooksville voters are blessed to have three qualified candidates for the City Council's Group 3 seat.

Joe Johnston, a longtime veteran in Brooksville politics, has served three times as mayor and says he is ready to bring back his experience. Jason Sharp, a political newcomer, has a passion for his own town and promises to bring a fresh perspective to the council. Frankie Burnett, the incumbent, is a south Brooksville resident and has a good fit with the others on the city council. He has quietly gained knowledge of the issues and has demonstrated good judgment, cooperation and has respectfully but firmly spoken out on issues where he disagreed with others on the council.

The council has made great progress in the last couple of years. First, they have hired a very qualified city manager in Jennene Norman-Vacha. Her administrative experience and familiarity with the county and city has paid off for our current city council members and the residents of Brooksville. Under her management and recommendations to the council, the city has managed to reduce expenses, lower the millage rate beyond that of what the state required and has developed a better working relationship with the county.

There are still challenges for the city in the areas of infrastructure and revitalization of Brooksville. However, Burnett and the rest of the council seem to have the right mix of personalities working together for success.

Although both of the other candidates seem to be qualified and would probably do a good job, we recommend keeping Burnett, who has earned the trust of the voters and his peers on the council.

Fifth Circuit Court

Judge, Group 3:

Sandy Hawkins Will

Make A Great Judge

Voters will have another tough choice in the Tuesday, Nov. 4, primary when they pick a nonpartisan judge in Group 3 of the Inverness-based Fifth Circuit Court, which encompasses Hernando, Citrus, Sumter, Marion and Lake counties.

Both candidates - Sandy Hawkins and Denise Lyn - are well-qualified and outstanding individuals to fill the seat being vacated by retiring Judge Barbara Gurrola. While each has followed different career paths, both possess the experience, integrity and track record to decide cases in the best interest of the community.

However, one candidate stood out: 53-year-old Sandy Hawkins. In addition to her courtroom experience - 11 years as an assistant state attorney prosecuting criminal, civil, domestic violence and family law cases - Hawkins has a wealth of life experiences of which few candidates can boast. As a single mother of six boys, Hawkins decided later in life that she wanted a better, more secure future for her and her family. A graduate of the police academy, Hawkins decided to go back to school, earning a bachelor's degree at the University of Florida and then going on to earn her juris doctorate degree from Stetson College of Law. She did both while raising a family and working two jobs.

"My life experiences have given me the ability to look at both sides of an argument," Hawkins told Hernando Today's editorial board.

That and her experience in the courtroom are the main reasons why we are recommending Hawkins for the judge's post.

Hawkins, a member of the Florida Bar since 1997, is also a member of the Marion County Bar Association, the National District Attorney Association, Ocala Lion's Club, Justice Teaching Program and Golden Key National Honor Society. In 2006, she lost a bid for a newly created judgeship in Marion County to Edward Scott in a three-way race that included local attorney Peyton Hyslop.

Hernando County voters should not miss out on the opportunity to put Hawkins on the bench this second time around by voting for her on Nov. 4.

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