In an effort to help you make informed decisions during the General Election, ABC Action News has reached out to dozens of candidates running for office. The following statements have been submitted to ABC Action News by the candidate. Every candidate was given the same set of questions. These are their responses in his/her own words.
Name: Charlie Justice
Office: Board of County Commissioners, District 3
Pinellas County Commissioner 2012-Present
Florida State Senator 2006-2010
Florida State Representative 2000-2006
Why should voters vote for you?
Thoughtful sensible leadership is what I have offered and will continue to offer as your County Commissioner. There is important work to do in our community and we need to have a Commission that takes this job seriously. Under my leadership, we have built partnerships with our 24 municipalities, invested in our unincorporated areas, and improved our infrastructure for the long term. We are tackling areas of poverty with community redevelopment, occupational skills training, and a growing small business enterprise program.
We have responded to the COVID crisis with bipartisan science-based initiatives. We have not let political pressures sway our decision making.
If elected, what are your top priorities?
- Maintain a County Government where decisions are made in the best interest of our entire community, not just the loudest voices in the room on a particular day.
- Continue improving the quality of life through better transportation, improved inventory of affordable housing, economic development that creates good jobs
- Protect our beautiful natural resources including our Estuary, our bays, and our gulf.
What are three key messages of your campaign?
- We need an effective County Government to respond to today’s and tomorrow’s issues. Let’s not turn back the clock. There’s still important work to do.
- Improving quality of life through better jobs and better communities
- Protecting our environment is protecting our economy
What areas of public policy are you personally passionate about?
- Advocating for our seniors in Pinellas like I do as a Board member for the Area Agency on Aging of Pasco-Pinellas
- Safeguarding Tampa Bay and our Gulf as I do as Chair of the Tampa Bay Estuary Program
- Cultivating and maintaining strong partnerships between the County and our 24 municipal and multiple community partners to get things done for our citizens.
As it relates to the role you are seeking, how has that governmental body handled the Covid-19 pandemic? What would you do differently/the same in handling both the public health risk and the economic recovery?
Pinellas County has responded with a science-based approach while limiting interference with peoples’ businesses and day to day lives as least as possible. The area in most need of improvement is the coordinating of information that comes from our federal and state partners and how that is relayed to the public.
In the role you are seeking, what will you do to address issues of racism and inequality?
The Elected and appointed leadership needs to a) be aware b) listen c) respond for opportunities to address these issues. Ensuring government services and activities are available countywide is critical. Ensuring that our Board, our professional staff, and our appointments to boards and committees reflect our community is one simple example. Our Small Business Enterprise program which makes sure that our local small businesses bid on county contracts is making huge strides for economic equity for our small and minority-owned businesses.
What motivates you to run for public office?
I love my hometown. It is really that simple. I believe that we have a responsibility to try and make tomorrow better than yesterday. This is the best job I never knew I wanted. I get to work with all different types of folks across Pinellas with that same goal. I have two daughters. I would love if they felt the same way about their hometown someday.