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Hernando County Commission Candidates

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With elections right around the corner, the Hernando Sun is back to introduce the candidates for upcoming local elections. In this issue, we will be breaking down those running for positions on the board of county commissioners as well as the qualified candidates who are officially running unopposed.

Some races result in Universal Primary Contests (UPC). As supervisor of elections, Shirley Anderson explained, these are races where “all candidates for an office have the same party affiliation and the winner will have no opposition in the General election. In a UPC, all qualified voters, regardless of party affiliation, may vote in the Primary Election for that office.”
County Commission,
District 1 – Universal Primary

Ryan Amsler (REP) (Office: County Commission, District 1)
Status: (Active-QUALIFIED)
Ryan Amsler describes himself as “a no-nonsense, rugged individualist with a passion for preserving traditional values and local autonomy.” Amsler has “a background in local small business, hometown lending, and spending most of his life in Hernando County.” He champions the protection of personal freedoms along with fiscal responsibility and limited government. Ryan’s “pragmatic resident-first approach and dedication to the community ensure that transparency, common sense, and personal accountability will guide every decision.”
Monetary Contributions/In-Kind/Total Expenditures: $0.00

Anthony Joseph Arenz (REP) (Office: County Commission, District 1)
Status: (Active – WITHDRAWN)
Supervisor of Elections Shirley Anderson stated that candidates with this designation “have officially withdrawn from the race but will remain active until final financial reports have been submitted. They have 90 days from day they have withdrawn to submit final financial report.”
Monetary Contributions/In-Kind/Total Expenditures: $0.00

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Elizabeth A. Narverud (REP) (Office: County Commission, District 1)
Status: (Active-QUALIFIED)
Elizabeth “Beth” Narverud served on the Hernando County School Board from 2014 through 2018 before being elected to Hernando’s Board of County Commissioners. She provided a statement to the Sun during the 2018 election cycle noting that she is “Steadfast in our need to grow business not government,” and “is a woman dedicated to seeing her community succeed by creating opportunities for our families and small businesses.” She is currently the lone board member in outward support of retaining the Spring Hill welcome sign waterfall. She has also recently championed improvements to facilities at Hernando County Animal Services.
Monetary Contributions: $35,835.00/In-Kind: $66.00/Total Expenditures: $15,332.66
County Commission,
District 3

In this race, John Allocco and Marvin Baynham will be on the Republican Primary Ballot. The Primary Election takes place on Aug. 20.

John Allocco (REP) (Office: County Commission, District 3)
Status: (Active-QUALIFIED)
Commissioner John Allocco and his wife, Randi, live with their youngest child of four, Alannah, in Weeki Wachee, and much of their family lives in the county as well. He has been a licensed physical therapist since 1999 and earned a BS from the University of Florida and an MPT from the University of St. Augustine. John and his wife founded their physical therapy business with a pair of locations in Spring Hill and Hudson until they sold their practice at the end of 2022. Commissioner Allocco has served twice as a chairman and has also served in leadership roles within the Republican Party of Florida, helping to elect Donald Trump, Ron Desantis and others. Allocco is a licensed real estate agent.
Monetary Contributions: $51,705.36/In-Kind: $331.42/Total Expenditures: $8,213.78

Marvin Baynham (REP) (Office: County Commission, District 3)
Status: (Active-QUALIFIED)
Marvin Baynham attended Georgia Southern University and received his bachelor’s degree in child and family development. Baynham has worked as a firefighter for the last seven years and served in a non-profit to develop communities in Tampa for two years. “As a first responder, I understand the importance of community,” he stated. Baynham feels that the local leadership could do a better job of “being connected to the issues, the citizens and personally investing more into the community.” This was Baynham’s primary motivation for running for District 3, as he wanted to show people that they do not “have to deal with mediocrity and we can raise the standard” for the community.
Monetary Contributions: $93,010.81/In-Kind: $1,000.00/Total Expenditures: $15,571.63

Burton Frederick Melaugh (NPA) (Office: County Commission, District 3)
Status: (Active-QUALIFIED)
Burton Melaugh has lived in Hernando County since 2008, has served with the Marine Corps, and is a Desert Storm War veteran. He has owned Betty Marie’s Catering with his wife, Nita, since launching the local business in 2012. “I have been in local and state government affairs since 2000, with experience in three Florida counties, including Hernando, and two cities,” Melaugh said. “My wife and I have volunteered for numerous community organizations for many years. My campaign priorities are economic development and workforce housing, along with properly managed growth.”
Monetary Contributions: $9,246.61/In-Kind: $200.00/Total Expenditures: $3,734.44

Luciano Vignali (DEM) (Office: County Commission, District 3)
Status: (Active-QUALIFIED)
Vignali is an HR professional and his experience with operations stems back to when he was an executive chef at the Lake Placid Olympic Center and prepared meals for various sports teams. His volunteering has seen him lend time to his local church as well as the Democratic Party, as Vignali “knocked a lot of doors.” While he has never run for office himself, he has helped other candidates run for positions such as city alderman. He is running for District 3 because he “really wanted to make sure that we give people a choice.” Vignali noted that he would like to lessen the “overdevelopment” in Hernando County and the way that is handled.
Monetary Contributions: $4,493.00/In-Kind: $171.25/Total Expenditures: $2,361.32

County Commission, District 5

In this race, Steve Champion and Pamela Everett will be on the Republican Primary Ballot.

Steven Douglas Champion II (REP) (Office: County Commission, District 5)
Status: (Active-QUALIFIED)
Commissioner Champion’s family dates back to the 1930s in Hernando County and he has served on the Board of County Commissioners since he was elected in November of 2016. Champion earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Hamilton College and has five kids, with his oldest son being a U.S. Marine. He is also the owner of American Gun & Pawn and the survival store, Tactical Supply and Surplus. “I believe in small government, low taxes and freedom! I support President Trump 100 percent,” said Champion.
Monetary Contributions: $46,987.92/In-Kind: $1,691.00/Total Expenditures: $3,561.76

Kathleen Cummings (DEM) (Office: County Commission, District 5)
Status: (Active-QUALIFIED)
Kathleen Cummings is an educator and currently teaches 12th-grade English at Springstead High School. She was born and raised in Central Florida, and before Kathleen became a teacher, she spent ten years “as a case manager connecting her clients to housing and mental health services.” The educator continued, “I have worked as a behavioral interventionist for children with severe emotional disturbances.” She has also worked with “unhoused veterans and children in the foster care system.”
Monetary Contributions: $4,582.00/In-Kind $0.00/Total Expenditures: $53.16

Pamela S. Everett (REP) (Office: County Commission, District 5)
Status: (Active-QUALIFIED)
Pamela Everett has lived in the county for 34 years. “I am not a politician,” she said. “I am part of the community. I don’t like to see where our community is headed.” Everett feels the commissioners are not listening to the people and term limits need to be put in place for these positions. She also wants to “fix the infrastructure” and see the community come together. “I believe in Hernando County, and I believe in what the community is saying, and no one is listening. So, as a community member, that is why I jumped in.” She has been active at school board meetings, often voicing opposition to the removal of books from the school libraries due to sexually or racially controversial material.
Monetary Contributions: $521.00/In-Kind: $0.00/Total Expenditures: $21.00

The supervisor of elections also announced the end of candidate qualification on June 14. She congratulated the candidates who are officially running unopposed. Anderson congratulated Amy Blackburn (Tax Collector), Denise LaVancher (Supervisor of Elections), Doug Chorvat (Clerk of the Circuit Court and Comptroller), Blake E. Bell (Brooksville City Council Member, Seat 3), John Walter McKethan II (Brooksville City Council Member, Seat 2), and Kayce Michelle Hawkins (School Board, District 2) for officially running unopposed on Friday.

Austyn Szempruch
Austyn Szempruch
Austyn Szempruch is a Graduate with Distinction, University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications. He's written numerous articles reporting on Florida Gators football, basketball, and soccer teams; the sports of rugby, basketball, professional baseball, hockey, and the NFL Draft. Prior to Hernando Sun he was a contributor to ESPN, Gainesville, FL and Gator Country Multimedia, Inc. in Gainesville, FL, and Stadium Gale.
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