Charlie Justice has early guide versus compact business enterprise proprietor in Pinellas Commission District 3 race

Two-term Pinellas County Commissioner Charlie Justice on Tuesday took an early lead from compact small business operator Tammy Vasquez, who ran a marketing campaign essential of the county’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Charlie Justice in a suit and tie sitting in front of a laptop: Pinellas County Commissioner Charlie Justice attends a meeting in downtown Clearwater on Wednesday, March 25, 2020, to deliberate and vote on a proposed u00d2safer at home" order to legally encourage the countyu00d5s 1-million residents to stay at home except for essential activity like trips for groceries, medical needs and jobs deemed essential. The order would also permit residents to exercise outside as long as they keep six feet from others in groups no larger than 10 people as a strategy to slow the spread of coronavirus. Although county administrator Barry Burton has authority under the county's state of emergency resolution to unilaterally issue an order on his own, he said such a measure will be left up to the seven commissioners.

© DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD/Times/Tampa Bay Situations/TNS
Pinellas County Commissioner Charlie Justice attends a conference in downtown Clearwater on Wednesday, March 25, 2020, to deliberate and vote on a proposed u00d2safer at house” purchase to lawfully motivate the countyu00d5s 1-million inhabitants to remain at residence except for crucial activity like outings for groceries, healthcare requires and positions deemed important. The get would also allow inhabitants to physical exercise outside the house as extensive as they continue to keep six ft from other people in groups no greater than 10 men and women as a approach to gradual the unfold of coronavirus. Despite the fact that county administrator Barry Burton has authority underneath the county’s condition of crisis resolution to unilaterally situation an order on his individual, he said this sort of a measure will be remaining up to the 7 commissioners.

With early and partial mail-in ballots, Justice leads the at-big District 3 race by just about 10 details, in accordance to outcomes from the Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections Business office.


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The race was underscored by Vasquez supporters who have rallied against Justice’s vote for the County Commission’s June 23 ordinance demanding facial area coverings in most indoor community places amid the pandemic. Anti-mask advocates have flooded social media and commission assembly cellular phone strains, pledging to vote Justice out of office. They also specific County Commissioner Janet Very long, the only other incumbent up for reelection, rallying driving her Republican challenger.

Justice, 52, also threw h2o on Vasquez’s platform that blamed the county for organizations staying forced to shut for months all through the peak of the pandemic. On April 1, Gov. Ron DeSantis issued his to start with coronavirus similar govt buy that restricted all action in Florida to crucial providers. He did not, even so, define what was important, leaving counties to establish which industries to near. DeSantis’ afterwards orders specified businesses as he authorized them to reopen in phases.

In an e mail very last thirty day period, Vasquez, 48, declined to make clear what she would have completed in another way. Vasquez grew up in Treasure Island and owns Bark Everyday living, a canine grooming, boarding and retail business enterprise.

For a third term, Justice campaigned on prioritizing regions of poverty, infrastructure improvements and boosting modest enterprises and neighborhood companies.

A St. Petersburg indigenous who served in the Florida Legislature from 2000 to 2010, Justice pointed to initiatives that have helped the financial state and quality of lifestyle during his eight years in county business. He is credited for spearheading endeavours to open up the Lealman Exchange, a group center meant to assist revitalize the location.

The Compact Business enterprise Organization plan enhanced the worth of items the local authorities buys from modest enterprises from $250,000 to $7 million. Whilst chair of the Tampa Bay Estuary Program, drinking water quality has enhanced to its finest “in around 50 a long time,” Justice reported. And he highlights enhancements built for very first responders, which includes “better protective gear, an up to date fleet, new rescue units” and thousands and thousands for wage improvements.

Justice’s campaign was boosted with $114,589 in contributions, outpacing Vasquez’s $85,671, according to financial experiences.

Vasquez earned endorsements from Republicans like point out Rep. Chris Latvala and Treasure Island Mayor Larry Lunn. But she skipped virtual discussion boards and interviews with popular teams like Gals Chat Black, League of Women of all ages Voters St. Petersburg, the Sierra Club and Suncoast Tiger Bay discussion board.


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