Jack Latvala

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Jack Latvala
Senator Jack Latvala.jpg
Member of the Florida Senate
from the 20th district
Incumbent
Assumed office
2012
Preceded by Alan Hays
Member of the Florida Senate
from the 16th district
In office
2010–2012
Preceded by Charlie Justice
Succeeded by Thad Altman
Member of the Florida Senate
from the 19th district
In office
1994–2002
Preceded by Curt Kiser
Succeeded by Gary Siplin
Personal details
Born (1951-11-03) November 3, 1951 (age 62)
Oxford, Mississippi
Political party Republican
Alma mater Stetson University (B.A.)
Profession Publisher
Religion Baptist

Jack Latvala (born November 3, 1951) is a Republican member of the Florida State Senate, representing the 16th district from 2010 to 2012, and the 20th District, which is based in the northern suburbs of St. Petersburg, since 2012.

History[edit]

Latvala was born in Oxford, Mississippi, and moved to the state of Florida in 1961, where he later attended Stetson University. He graduated in 1973 and later became the CEO of GCI Printing Services, which is based in Largo.[1]

Florida Senate[edit]

In 1994, Latvala ran for the Florida Senate from the 19th District, which included Pasco and Pinellas Counties as a Republican, defeating Democratic nominee Chuck Lehr in a landslide. In 1996, he overwhelmingly won re-election over Sue Humphreys, and was re-elected without opposition in 2000. Latvala was forced to retire in 2002 due to term limits.

When incumbent Democratic State Senator Charlie Justice, who represented the 16th District, which consisted of Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties, declined to seek a second term so he could instead unsuccessfully challenge United States Congressman Bill Young. Latvala ran to succeed Justice, and faced Pinellas County School Board member Nina Hayden in the general election, whom he was able to defeat comfortably.

Florida Senate districts were reconfigured prior to the 2012 elections, and Latvala was redistricted to the 20th District, which was based exclusively in Pinellas County. Latvala defeated business owner Zahid Roy in the Republican primary, and, in the general election, encountered Ashley Rhodes-Courter, the Democratic nominee and a child welfare advocate. The Tampa Bay Times endorsed Latvala for re-election, praising him as "the most powerful independent voice among the Republicans," citing several instances in which he vocally opposed his own party.[2] In the end, Latvala defeated Rhodes-Courter by a solid margin, winning nearly 58% of the vote.

While serving in the Senate, Latvala strongly supported legislation that would give manufacturers a sales tax break for any equipment they purchased, declaring, "We're going to be able to bring back manufacturing in north Pinellas County" through the legislation.[3] Controversially, he sponsored legislation that aimed to speed up the foreclosure process in Florida, with the purpose of clearing up the foreclosure backlog and benefiting the local economy.[4] Latvala joined with Democrats in the Senate to vote against a proposal advocated for by the Florida House of Representatives that would prevent new state workers from joining the state's publicly funded pension program, noting, "One of the reasons they work for the government is not for the salary. They haven't had raises in six or seven years. It's for the pension and if we want to continue to have the quality of employees that we have, we need to continue to offer that pension."[5] Additionally, he joined with several other Senators, including Eleanor Sobel, to lead the opposition to Public Service Commissioner Lisa Edgar's renomination, asserting that "she does not do an adequate job of representing the ratepayers and consumers of the State of Florida," specifically calling attention to what he felt was her coziness with utility companies.[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://jacklatvala.com/index.php/about
  2. ^ "For Florida Senate, three independent voices". Tampa Bay Times. October 19, 2012. Retrieved May 23, 2013. 
  3. ^ "Gov. Scott in Tampa to trumpet tax cut and big drop in state jobless rate". Tampa Bay Times. May 17, 2013. Retrieved May 23, 2013. 
  4. ^ "New controversial bill could speed up foreclosure process in Florida: Critics say bill would hurt homeowners". ABC Action News. May 16, 2013. Retrieved May 23, 2013. 
  5. ^ "Speaker Will Weatherford loses Senate showdown over Florida pensions". Tampa Bay Times. April 30, 2013. Retrieved May 23, 2013. 
  6. ^ "Edgar gets Senate confirmation despite tough criticism". Tampa Bay Times. May 3, 2013. Retrieved May 23, 2013. 

External links[edit]