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Thursday, Jul 27, 2017
Editorials

Latimer for elections post

Voters in Hillsborough County now have confidence in the integrity of their elections and know every vote will be counted. Craig Latimer, brought in four years ago to help clean up an office in disarray, is largely responsible for the improvements. After a distinguished career with the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, Latimer was asked in 2008 to shift his attention to elections. Former Hillsborough County Commissioner Phyllis Busansky had just defeated Buddy Johnson for the elections job and needed an enterprising administrative to overhaul an operation that was in shambles. After she died suddenly, Earl Lennard was appointed to fill the remainder of her term. The former school superintendent wisely kept Latimer, and the office has continued to run smoothly. Lennard is retiring after the election. Latimer, after winning the Democratic primary, faces Republican state Rep. Rich Glorioso in November.
The two candidates have similarities. Both have spent their professional lives in public service. Latimer, 59, worked his way up the ranks in the sheriff's office. He investigated crimes, won promotions to major and was asked by the sheriff to establish a child protection program. Glorioso, 68, had a long career in the Air Force. A pilot, he has landed an airplane on every continent. After retiring as a colonel, he served on the Plant City Commission and then served eight years in the Florida House. Term limits prevent him from running again. In the Legislature, Glorioso headed two different appropriations committees and understands budgeting. Both Glorioso and Latimer tell us they think partisan politics has no place in the elections office, and they're right. Glorioso is qualified, but Latimer has proved he can run a top-notch operation. Latimer understands elections law and upholds it impartially. He believes in identifying the best practices and following them. We hear from numerous sources that he is a conscientious boss, pays attention to details and is widely respected by those who do their jobs. He emphasizes training and customer service. Currently chief of staff in the office, he has also been active in children's issues. Elections under his supervision have been all they should be, and votes were counted promptly. Latimer has been the leading force in rebuilding an elections office that had become an embarrassment, an accomplishment that should not be underestimated. There is no good reason to deny him a chance to run the office he helped repair. For Hillsborough Supervisor of Elections, the Tribune endorses Craig Latimer.
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