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IN’s 2010 Endorsements

It’s ok, dear readers, we know some of you haven’t paid much attention to this upcoming election. All those direct mail advertisements from the candidates probably went straight into the garbage, didn’t they? They’re annoying and, hey, who really has the time, right? Luckily, we do, and we’ve done your homework for you.

Here at the IN we like to fancy ourselves expert politicos. So we actually look forward to election season the way most people do college football season or Dancing With The Stars. After reading the candidates’ responses to our Election Guide questions, and a lot of Googling, digging, heated in-office debating and a coin toss or two, here are our expert opinions. So, what are you waiting on–go vote already!

STATEWIDE RACES

UNITED STATES SENATOR
Republican: Marco Rubio
The former Florida Speaker of the House must rekindle before November the enthusiasm that forced one-time frontrunner Gov. Charlie Crist to drop out of this primary. He is the poster boy for the Conservative Right, which will serve him well.

Democrat: Kendrick Meek
The Congressman from South Florida has spent more time in Northwest Florida than any other Democratic candidate. He knows our issues and our people, but he has been bloodied by opponent Jeff Greene and will be lucky to survive past Aug. 24.

GOVERNOR

Republican: Bill McCollum
How much money does it take to buy the Republican nomination? If Rick Scott beats out the Florida Attorney General, then we will know. It’s a shame that Alabama-style mud-slinging has dominated the race. McCollum is the most qualified.

Democrat: Alex Sink
Of all the elected officials from Tallahassee that visited the Escambia County Emergency Operations Center, Sink understands the best the frustrations and needs of Northwest Florida. A fiscally-responsible Democrat. Wow, what a concept!

ATTORNEY GENERAL
Republican: Holly Benson
Northwest Florida needs a member on the Florida Cabinet. Benson is our only shot.

Democrat: Dave Aronberg
Intelligent and aggressive. Florida needs a more proactive attorney general, reminiscent of Bob Butterworth. Aronberg, like Sink and Meek, has spent time in our area. We believe he has earned our endorsement.

REGIONAL RACES

STATE SENATOR, DISTRICT 2
Republican: Greg Evers
When “None of the Above” isn’t an option, vote for the least Conservative.

STATE REPRESENTATIVE, DISTRICT 1
Republican: Ferd Salomon
The former naval aviator and Executive Officer at NAS Whiting Field has the leadership experience. Having served on TEAM Santa Rosa, Salomon is keenly aware of the economic challenges of his district.

STATE REPRESENTATIVE, DISTRICT 2
Republican: Clay Ingram
This is the only house or state district that will have a representative that lives in Escambia County. As former chairman of the Escambia County Republican Executive Committee, Ingram got to know many of the powerbrokers in Tallahassee, which will serve our area well.

CIRCUIT COURT JUDGE, GROUP 3
Non-partisan: Michael Flowers
The Escambia/Santa Rosa and Okaloosa/Walton Bar Associations conducted a survey of their members on the candidates. Flowers got the highest scores for ethics and professionalism, experience, intellect, preparedness and work ethic.

ESCAMBIA COUNTY RACES

COUNTY COMMISSIONER, DISTRICT 2
Republican: Karen Sindel
The IN has battled Murzin, Touart and Valentino over the years. Each has had their time in public service. It’s time for new leadership, unencumbered by past political dealings and, at times, missteps. Sindel offers a chance to start anew.

COUNTY COMMISSIONER, DISTRICT 4
Republican: Grover Robinson
No local politician stood up to BP and state and federal officials more consistently and forcefully than Robinson. Sometimes it takes a crisis to hone one’s leadership skills. This crisis was Robinson’s finest moment. His opponent, Dennis Green, has much to offer, but not this time, for this position.

ESCAMBIA SCHOOL BOARD, DISTRICTS 1, 2, 3
Until we elect to this board citizens who aren’t retired educators or school administrators and government workers or educators, we will see the school system meander, flounder and declare victory for not slipping further behind. We will not see innovation. By the way, Brownsville Middle School is still vacant, has been vandalized several times and still has broken water pipes. These are “You pick’em” races.

EMERALD COAST UTILITIES AUTHORITY, DISTRICT 2
Republican: Lois Benson
It is not a coincidence that the relocation of Main Street Sewage Treatment Plant and curbside recycling have happened during her tenure on the board. We need her leadership on the ECUA board.

EMERALD COAST UTILITIES AUTHORITY, DISTRICT 4
Republican: Ron Ward
It’s time for a change. Perkins has had a nice, long political career. He has had a chance to accomplish all that he wanted to do at ECUA. Ward wants more transparency at the utility, something that we would love to see.

SANTA ROSA COUNTY RACES

COUNTY COMMISSIONER, DISTRICT 2
Republican: Ron Scott
Two four-year terms are enough for any elected official. What is sad is only one of the four Republican candidates has a college degree, Claude Duvall. Two have associate degrees, Bob Cole and Ron Scott. We are endorsing Scott because of his stances on economic development and reducing the size of county government.

COUNTY COMMISSIONER, DISTRICT 4
Republican: Jim Melvin
Gordon Goodin has done his public service for eight years. New blood is needed. Melvin has a master’s in accounting and is a retired CPA. His education and experience are needed in Santa Rosa County government.

SCHOOL BOARD, DISTRICT 1
Non-partisan: Diane Scott
The University of West Florida professor was active in the school system prior to being elected in 2006, having served on the Pea Ridge Elementary Advisory Council and the district’s Title I Parent Advisory Council. She has earned a second term.

SCHOOL BOARD, DISTRICT 3
Non-partisan: Carol Boston
The mother of two substitutes in the Santa Rosa school system. She offers a fresh representation for Navarre, one of the fastest-growing areas in the county.

SCHOOL BOARD, DISTRICT 5
Non-partisan: Tom Naile
The long-time Gulf Breeze resident is the perfect replacement for the retiring Ed Gray. He offers sound, quiet leadership and has already served on the Oriole Beach School Advisory Council and as co-chair of the Little Red Schoolhouse project.

CITY OF PENSACOLA

MAYOR
Non-partisan: Ashton Hayward
Last year, Independent News supported vigorously the new Pensacola city charter with its provisions for a strong mayor. Of all the candidates, Hayward embodies what we believe is the strong, independent and progressive leadership this city needs. The last decade was to be Pensacola’s shining moment when our historic city finally reached its potential. Unfortunately, hurricanes, military cutbacks, petition drives and the inertia of city leadership kept the Pensacola in the 1970s. Hayward’s election is the next logical step forward after our recent victories with the Community Maritime Park and the city charter.

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IN ENDORSEMENTS
(Take this with you to the polls.)

STATEWIDE RACES

UNITED STATES SENATOR
Republican: Marco Rubio
Democrat: Kendrick Meek

GOVERNOR
Republican: Bill McCollum
Democrat: Alex Sink

ATTORNEY GENERAL
Republican: Holly Benson
Democrat: Dave Aronberg

REGIONAL RACES

STATE SENATOR, DISTRICT 2

STATE REPRESENTATIVE, DISTRICT 1
Republican: Ferd Salomon

STATE REPRESENTATIVE, DISTRICT 2
Republican: Clay Ingram

CIRCUIT COURT JUDGE, GROUP 3
Non-partisan: Michael Flowers

ESCAMBIA COUNTY RACES

COUNTY COMMISSIONER, DISTRICT 2
Republican: Karen Sindel

COUNTY COMMISSIONER, DISTRICT 4
Republican: Grover Robinson

ESCAMBIA SCHOOL BOARD, DISTRICTS 1, 2, 3
You pick’em.

EMERALD COAST UTILITIES AUTHORITY, DISTRICT 2
Republican: Lois Benson

EMERALD COAST UTILITIES AUTHORITY, DISTRICT 4
Republican: Ron Ward

SANTA ROSA COUNTY RACES

COUNTY COMMISSIONER, DISTRICT 2
Republican: Ron Scott

COUNTY COMMISSIONER, DISTRICT 4
Republican: Jim Melvin

SCHOOL BOARD, DISTRICT 1
Non-partisan: Diane Scott

SCHOOL BOARD, DISTRICT 3
Non-partisan: Carol Boston

SCHOOL BOARD, DISTRICT 5
Non-partisan: Tom Naile

CITY OF PENSACOLA

Mayor
Non-partisan: Ashton Hayward