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: Karen Cox Jaroch
Office: Soil and Water Conservation District Group 2
Karen is licensed by the State of Florida as a Professional Engineer and certified by the Florida Department of Environmental Regulation as a Stormwater, Erosion, and Sediment Control Inspector.
Karen represented residents of Hillsborough County for six years on the Hillsborough-area Regional Transit (HART) Board. During her six-year tenure she chaired the Finance & Governance Committee and was elected Vice-Chairman of the 14-member Board. Karen worked with HART's management to ensure HART was financially sustainable and balanced the mobility needs of all residents in the community.
Karen will bring her engineering experience and her executive board skills to the Soil and Water board and ensure our domestic food production thrives while our precious natural resources are preserved.
Karen is the best candidate to supervise the agency: she is technically competent, she will provide necessary oversight, and she will be a good steward of our precious resources
Why should voters vote for you?
I have the technical competence to work with professionals in the environmental and agriculture field. Serving as a county representative for unincorporated Hillsborough residents for six years on the HART board of directors, I acquired executive-level experience to make strategic and rational decisions that will guide the agency to successfully fulfill meet its mission and objectives.
Furthermore, I have a passion for community service for the county where my husband and I chose to raise our four children.
If elected, what are your top priorities?
I will build consensus with the other board members and work together to strengthen our pursuits and partnerships with local farms, civic groups, environmental groups and the school system. I believe strengthening current agricultural education with school children at a participatory level instills valuable life lessons such as that hard work, diligence and patience can yield a bounty and enrich our lives in more ways than just an edible harvest or beautiful blossoms. I plan to advocate for more of these opportunities for our children.
What are three key messages of your campaign?
1) Conservation of our natural resources is a critical and non-partisan issue.
2) Agricultural and Conservation education and hands-on experience enrich us at all ages.
3) Agriculture is vital and life-sustaining and must be respected by policymakers.
What areas of public policy are you personally passionate about?
Agriculture education and student participation in gardening/farming and conservation efforts.
What do you believe is the most urgent issue facing the environment and should be done about it?
This board isn’t directly involved in this aspect, but I’m very concerned about two issues for Hillsborough County: 1) overdevelopment while under-funding infrastructure needs
and 2) untreated wastewater being dumped into Tampa Bay which exacerbates algae blooms and harms fish and birds.
What motivates you to run for public office?
The desire to serve the community that has given me much. I view public service as a civic duty
that all of us should engage in to “keep our Republic”.