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Tuesday, November 29, 2022
HomeUncategorizedPrimary 2018: Hernando County Commissioner Candidates (R) District 4

Primary 2018: Hernando County Commissioner Candidates (R) District 4

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The primary election ballot is a full one for republican county commissioner races. There are no primary races for the democrat candidates since there is only one democrat candidate in each race.  County commissioner candidates run for a certain district based on where they live in the county.  The county is divided into five districts.  Refer to page 14 for maps depicting the boundaries of districts 2 and 4. Candidates vying to represent either District 2 or 4 are in the 2018 election cycle.  Party affiliation aside, all county residents are able to vote in each district race. 

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The district 4 republican primary race is between Jeff Holcomb, the incumbent and Natalie Kahler.  The winner of the primary will run against Nancy Makar (D) in the general election.  

The Hernando Sun sent questions to the candidates, which they have graciously answered.   
 

Jeff Holcomb (Incumbent)

Jeff Holcomb

Candidate Bio (provided by candidate):

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Jeff Holcomb was born in Maryland and moved to Hernando County in 2002. Prior to moving to Florida, Commissioner Holcomb earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Maryland and a master’s degree in intelligence studies from the American Military University. He and his wife, Stacey, have two daughters.

Commissioner Holcomb was elected to the Board of County Commissioners in November 2014. He has served as Second Vice Chairman during his first year of service.

Commissioner Holcomb also serves as an Intelligence Officer in the United States Navy Reserve and completed 11 years of service as of January 2017. In 2016 LT Holcomb was called to active duty to fight ISIS in support Operation Inherent Resolve in Iraq and Syria and Operation Resolute Support in Afghanistan. He served on the Master Air Attack Plan team in the Combat Plans Division of the Air Operations Center in Southwest Asia.
Additionally, Commissioner Holcomb is a Lead Senior Software Consultant for FIS Wealth Management Systems.

Commissioner Holcomb’s priorities in office include keeping tax rates flat for citizens, revitalizing the Anderson Snow Sports Complex to allow the county to host sporting events and tournaments, streamlining regulations for new and expanding businesses to encourage growth and relocation to Hernando County. He was instrumental in maintaining the current, low tax rate and cost of living in Hernando County.

Committee Assignments:

• Medical Examiner
• Shared Services
• Florida Forest Service 
•Management Plan Advisory Group
• Friends of Chinsegut Hill Board of Directors
• Metropolitan Planning Organization
• Judicial Services
• Clerk of Circuit Court

Q & A with Jeff Holcomb:

1. Describe up to three ordinances that need to be modified/changed/added?

Since I have been on the BOCC we have constantly been looking at Ordinances that are Obsolete, are too restrictive or go beyond State law.  We ask staff to bring these obsolete or burdensome ordinances to us for removal.  That being said, I have had a citizen ask me to review an ordinance and I am looking into it with County staff. 

2. Do you feel that next year’s budget should be increased, decreased and by how much.

The economy is in a great period of growth.  We are expecting 6.5% growth this year or more.  As you would expect there many parts of the budget that go up every year, Healthcare costs, Pension costs and Union contracts that we have no control over.  But we will not grow the budget more than our conservative growth estimates.  I want to see the funding in our safety and security increased within our conservative growth projections.  

3. If you are in favor of increasing the budget, how do you recommend paying for it?

We will pay for it with the growth of the economy, but we will keep the budget below the amount of growth.  This one of the reasons I ran for office I did not want our budgets growing faster than our economy.  I will not support increases to our budget that increases property taxes to our citizens.  

4. If you are in favor of decreasing the budget, how do you pay for obligated salary increases, cost of living increases and other inflationary costs? N/A

5. Describe up to three county projects that are most important for the county and why?
(Example: Kass Circle revitalization, additional recreation, airport development etc… )

Airport Industrial Park is a key part of our growing economy. We still have a lot of undeveloped land that is near highways, a railway and an airport.  Improving our Parks is something I hold close to my heart.  I played a lot sports growing up and I want to see our facilities in good condition. Early in my tenure I got $100k to refurbish the soccer fields at Anderson Snow Park.  I have also started a charity with some citizens called the “Friends of the Parks” with the sole purpose of fixing our parks.  Separately, we also have local charities in combination with the BOCC looking to fund a splash park at up to 2 of our local parks.  

6. Describe up to three top issues facing the county (Example: opiate epidemic, flooding, managing development, etc…) 

Developing the economy will always be one of the top issues for the County.  When we have a strong economy, it brings in new business, new construction and new growth.  It also gives us more jobs and a stronger work force.  When we have growth, we don’t need to raise taxes.  

Yes, we had flooding issues in the eastern part of the County as a result of all the rain from the hurricane.  We have obtained money from the State to assist fixing these issues.   For many years now we have been getting money from Tallahassee for our local water projects.  
 

Natalie Kahler

Natalie Kahler

Candidate Bio (provided by candidate):

Natalie Kahler is the oldest of ten children, so she started leading at an early age. She received a B.A. from Grove City College in Pennsylvania where she also began her life with Jason Kahler, a journey which has now extended 28 years. They chose Brooksville nineteen years ago to raise their four children.  She has volunteered in many organizations, including eight years on HYL Football’s Executive Board. 
 
Her career includes management with Jostens Yearbook Company and teaching English, Journalism, and Bible classes at Hernando Christian Academy. She was part of the founding of Victorious Life Church Spring Hill and served as its Operations Pastor, creating the budget and supervising staff and events.  Her focus on community spurred the creation of Buddy Break (a respite program for kids with special needs), a MOPS group (Mothers of Preschoolers), Baby Share (a baby shower for 60 women in crisis pregnancies), and a food pantry that assisted 600 people weekly.  But she didn’t just oversee those programs, she drove truck for the Pantry, worked in the nursery for Baby Share, and wrote the programming for Buddy Break.
 
Natalie became Manager of Chinsegut Hill Retreat and Museum in 2015 and used her cooking skills to bring people together for luncheons and dinners to promote Chinsegut history. Her appearances on Travel Channel’s “Mysteries at the Museum” and multiple PBS shows brought attention to Hernando County.

Natalie recently finished her first term on Brooksville City Council and was Brooksville Mayor in 2016.

Q & A with Natalie Kahler:

1. Describe up to three ordinances that need to be modified/changed/added?

One of the benefits of being active in the community is that you often don’t know the impact of ordinances until you talk to someone it directly impacts. For example, I spoke with someone who runs a Bingo venue whose patrons are mainly elderly.  Our gambling ordinance (93-18) was unintentionally prohibiting disabled seniors from using equipment for the visually or hearing impaired.  I made a Commissioner aware and the ordinance was repealed and brought into compliance with State regulation.

In speaking to residents, it appears our noise ordinance is either inconsistently applied or needs revision.  It is important that we all have equal protection and equal prosecution.  This particular ordinance seems to be wielded in a discriminatory manner. 

2. Do you feel that next year’s budget should be increased, decreased and by how much.

The recent budget crisis means we legally need to build up our reserve. I believe that can be done without a tax increase.
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3. If you are in favor of increasing the budget, how do you recommend paying for it? N/A

4. If you are in favor of decreasing the budget, how do you pay for obligated salary increases, cost of living increases and other inflationary costs?

If Commission and Staff are willing to explore how services are being delivered and make systematic changes, I believe the elimination of waste and duplication of services will free up money for the mandatory raises and inflation.

5. Describe up to three county projects that are most important for the county and why?
(Example: Kass Circle revitalization, additional recreation, airport development etc… )

Kass Circle is at a critical stage and must be addressed in the upcoming budget.  The Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) designation allows residents, businesses and government to work together to create an action plan and fund the project.  The amount of County resources invested are quickly recouped by taxes from increased property values  and decreased crime. The City of Brooksville has used the CRA to vastly improve both the incentives for businesses to locate there and the look of downtown.  There are a couple other areas in the County that would also benefit from getting a CRA designation.

Our current west coast recreation areas are at or beyond capacity and families are in need of other options.  I have heard from many residents who would either like a pool, a splash park, or both.  And I’m also hearing from service organizations who want to help make it happen.  A perk of those projects is they can be located in the east side, central, or west side of the county.

6. Describe up to three top issues facing the county  (Example: opiate epidemic, flooding, managing development, etc…) 

Economic Development is much more than business recruitment.  Our ability to recruit is impacted by our available trained workforce, the health of our workforce (including addiction and mental health), and the level of cooperation between City and County governments.  We have much work to do in all three areas and it will require a coordinated effort from businesses, community leaders, and our local government agencies.  I have been committed to that end on City Council and will continue those efforts on County Commission.

The new Florida law regarding sewer systems is going to cost our county residents and builders thousands per home and will most likely lead to a massive increase in material cost as well as a shortage of those materials.   While I’ve heard many voice concerns over these unintended consequences of Tallahassee’s bill, I have yet to hear anyone offer a solution.  We must coordinate brainstorming efforts with those industries impacted to insure we don’t adversely impact our economy and our residents.

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