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Pat Kemp, Hillsborough County Board of Commissioners, District 6

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Posted at 12:22 PM, Oct 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-09 12:22:53-04

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: Patrica "Pat" Kemp
Party: Democrat
Office: Board of County Commissioners, District 6


Experience:

  • Currently serving as Hillsborough County Commissioner countywide Dist. 6
  • Lawyer, Bay Area Legal Services and private practice
  • Member of the Florida Bar - 1998 to present
  • Aide to Congresswoman Kathy Castor (2004 -2006) when she was a County Commissioner
  • Aide to state Rep. Sara Romeo 2000 -2002
  • News Director, WUSF public radio 1985 - 1995
  • Talk show host WMNF public radio
  • Boston University, B.S. Journalism, 1982
  • Stetson College of Law, J.D. 1998

Why should voters vote for you?

I should be re-elected as a countywide Hillsborough County Commissioner in District 6 so I can continue the work I have done for the past four years since I was elected in 2016.

When I was elected, no county funding was going toward affordable housing. I led the way, working along with members of HOPE, an organization of communities of faith, to create Hillsborough County’s first affordable housing fund, investing more than $10 million a year in affordable housing.

During my first four years as a Commissioner, I have fought to make development pay its fair share. In 2016, the impact fees developers pay toward schools, parks, fire, roads and water and wastewater had not been updated for years and in many cases, decades. We need to keep up with growth instead of shifting all those costs onto the taxpayers of Hillsborough County. I led the way to double the school impact fees bringing in more the $40 million dollars a year for schools. We have doubled our water and wastewater fees so we can begin to build the water & wastewater plants. I also led the charge to increase fees for transportation, fire and rescue and parks.

I have been a leader in providing transportation choices. We have the most underfunded transit system in the nation, not by a little, but by a long shot. I have supported strongly increasing support for our transit system. I support doubling our bus system, using our CSX freight rail that runs from USF to Ybor City to South Tampa for commuter rail and I support ferry service from South County to MacDill and Tampa.

I brought forward a plan to build a two-mile safety zone around every school in Hillsborough County with sidewalks, crosswalks and crossing guards and to add miles to our trails throughout Hillsborough County.

I was the only commissioner to lead the way to preserve the Upper Tampa Bay Trail, the number one park amenity in Hillsborough used by more than 300,000 people a year. When the trail was threatened to be paved over by development, I insisted that we protect this local treasure for the benefit of our residents.

I pushed for a review of the wages of county staff and was successful in requiring that all county employees be paid $15 an hour, increasing the pay of more than 500 county employees.

I worked to make Hillsborough County a leader on renewable energy. As a commissioner, I led the way to provide $5 million dollars in solar panels for our libraries, fire stations and other public buildings.

I brought into the county Solar United Neighbors, SUN, a non-profit, to work with the community to help homeowners and businesses to purchase rooftop solar panels.

I also brought the Solar and Energy Loan Fund (SELF), a non-profit lender, to help lower-income homeowners or credit-challenged homeowners to purchase low energy HVAC, appliances, roofing, insulation, and solar panels.

I worked with Congresswoman Kathy Castor for HART to get a grant for our first four electric buses and charging infrastructure.

I also worked to get LED lighting at all our parks and public facilities.

I worked with Sheriff Chad Chronister to buy 25 hybrid vehicles for use in the HCSO.

If elected, what are your top priorities?

To build walkable communities with town centers throughout Hillsborough County.

To invest in transit, transportation and renewable energy. To protect our environment.

What are three key messages of your campaign?

  1. Keeping families safe by listening to experts and following the science. Help struggling families stay in their homes, and to help local businesses survive this crisis.
  2. Fighting for smarter growth & making developers pay their fair share and building affordable housing.
  3. Creating transportation options with transit - a ferry system, doubling our bus system, and using our CSX freight tracks for commuter rail.

What areas of public policy are you personally passionate about?

All three issues above as well renewable energy. As a commissioner, I led the way to provide $5 million dollars in solar panels for our libraries, fire stations and other public buildings.

I brought into the county Solar United Neighbors, SUN, a non-profit, to work with the community to help homeowners and businesses to purchase rooftop solar panels.

I also brought the Solar and Energy Loan Fund (SELF), a non-profit lender, to help lower income homeowners or credit challenged homeowners to purchase low energy HVAC, appliances, roofing, insulation, and solar panels.

I worked with Congresswoman Kathy Castor for HART to get a grant for our first four electric buses and charging infrastructure.

I also worked to get LED lighting at all our parks and public facilities.

I worked with the Sheriff Chad Chronister to buy 25 hybrid vehicles for use in the HCSO.

I worked to create Hillsborough County’s first affordable housing fund with dedicated funds of over $10 million annually.

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?

Hillsborough County was the only county in Florida not to have the county commission determining Covid policy for the county so I had no say in the initial masking or safe at home policy. However, unlike my opponent Sandy Murman, I have supported masking since the earliest possible time. It is the recommended science and keeps us from spreading the virus. I was also against the curfew that my opponent supported in the earliest days. Finally, she has called repeatedly for an end to the public use of masks. With a positivity rate above 5% in Hillsborough County we are very far from being in a position to discontinue the use of masks.

In the role you are seeking, what will you do to address issues of racism and inequality?

Racism and inequality are key issues for me. I address them through all my public policy initiatives including affordable housing, creating a far more robust transit system and working to address food insecurity.

By making new development pay its own way, we can dedicate more dollars to providing basic services. I have brought in $40 million dollars a year on school impact fees, doubling what we can now invest in our schools. By raising our fire and rescue fees, we now have more money to build fire stations in our communities.

I also brought forward with the Bible Based Fellowship Church of Carrollwood and Reverend Anthony White and other members of local communities of faith, a Resolution Declaring Racism as a Public Health Crisis, which was supported by a five to zero vote.

What motivates you to run for public office?

Creating a better future for Hillsborough County. Preserving our environment for the next generations.