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: Maria L. Scruggs, MPA, CPM
Office: Pinellas County Commission District 7
I have over 40 years of public sector experience which include community corrections, law enforcement, public housing, community and neighborhood development, and early childhood education.
Why should voters vote for you?
I am a candidate who is not a career politician, but a public servant who has a track record of working for the people.
If elected, what are your top priorities?
- Assessing the impact of COVID 19 on our citizens;
- Greater oversight into Southside CRA and Lealman CRA;
- Livable wage paying jobs;
- Affordable Housing
What are three key messages of your campaign?
· People over the partisan politics;
· Results that move the needle;
· COVID 19 has revealed that business as usual will not work
What areas of public policy are you personally passionate about?
· Economic Equity;
· Systemic policies and practices that strategically address inequities;
· Public stakeholders’ investments in quality schools for all students
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?
During a time of crisis citizens must trust their leaders. The Pinellas County Commission placed the sheriff out front on COVID and did so while he was up for re-election. This was not the best strategic move. That role would have best been served by the head of the Pinellas County Health Department.
I would have ensured that the face of COVID 19 would have been a neutral medical professional like the Pinellas County Health Department.
The economic recovery must begin by understanding the impact of COVID 19 on families, businesses and jobs. I would propose that at the time a vaccine is eminent that the county host listening tours of county residents.
In the role you are seeking, what will you do to address issues of racism and inequality?
As the former President of the St. Petersburg Branch NAACP I launched two segments one called FACES of RACISM as a way of identifying and calling out examples of policies and practices that lead to systemic racism. The second was TRUTH Sunday which has led to TRUTH telling all seven days of the week. People have very little faith that government is willing to address the issue of systemic racism. That trust can be gained by public officials acknowledging that systemic racism exists and then having the political will to call it out before you can begin to seriously address it.
What motivates you to run for public office?
Running for public office is an extension of my legacy of service that has served as a family focus and has been the basis for my professional and civic career for over 40 years.