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: Janet C. Long
Office: Pinellas County Board of Commissioners, District 1
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Why should voters vote for you?
Pinellas County needs to move past partisan politics and focus on commonsense leadership rooted firmly in what is best for all our residents. I’m the best candidate to continue to make that a reality.
If elected, what are your top priorities?
- Covid-19 response and recovery
- Transportation infrastructure / redevelopment
- Climate resiliency / sea level rise
- Affordable Housing
What are three key messages of your campaign?
- Pinellas County needs to move past partisan politics and focus on commonsense leadership rooted firmly in what is best for all our residents.
- The Coronavirus pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on every aspect of our lives, and conditions are changing nearly every day. It’s crucial now more than ever that our local elected officials listen to residents and small business owners, understand the issues they are facing, and make informed decisions based on data and feedback. We must implement effective policies aimed at protecting the health and safety of our residents, like passing mask ordinances and supporting accessible healthcare services for our residents. We have been working overtime communicating with constituents to learn about their unique challenges and striving to find commonsense solutions that work for everyone.
- A deep understanding of federal, state, and local issues is critical to help our community rebound. My institutional knowledge at all three levels will better enable us to partner and get things done for our citizens.
What areas of public policy are you personally passionate about?
Transportation, Climate Resiliency, Affordable housing, and public health and safety.
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?
We supported providing county grants to small businesses and individuals to help them cope with the economic fallout from the pandemic. We also supported the bipartisan efforts to implement state orders regarding the closing and gradual re-opening of businesses and restaurants. Additionally, the commission’s bipartisan decision to follow the recommendation of health experts and require masks to be worn inside businesses to limit the spread of the virus has saved countless lives. In an ideal world – we would allocate more money...
In the role you are seeking, what will you do to address issues of racism and inequality?
- I do not support defunding the police. However, I am committed to taking a serious and in-depth look at the Sheriff’s office budget to see where we can shift resources for social services. I’ve worked very closely with Sheriff Gualtieri for years and will continue to work with him to push forward-thinking policies and procedures that keep citizens safe and hold officers accountable. Our Sheriff's office has taken on a lot of responsibility outside law enforcement - caring for the homeless etc. - and we should reassess if that is the best place to administer those types of services. As the mother of children who serve in law enforcement, these issues are incredibly personal to me and drive me to find balanced solutions.
- I also believe that affordable housing is key to a more equitable community. I advocated for $80,000,000 to be allocated over the next 10 years from the recent Penny for Pinellas renewal.
What motivates you to run for public office?
My family and making this community the possible place to live, work, and play for future generations.