Fasano and Corcoran in Pasco races
Write-ins have forced a November general election in newly drawn state House Districts 36 and 37 in Pasco County, but for all practical purposes the races will be decided in the Aug. 14 primary. Voters should enthusiastically return Sen. Mike Fasano and Rep. Richard Corcoran, both Republicans, to Tallahassee, where they will help shape a strong legislative delegation not just for Pasco but for the Tampa region. There is no Democratic primary for the posts. In a third district, 38, state Rep. Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, who becomes speaker of the House this fall, was elected without opposition after qualifying ended earlier this summer. In District 36, a west Pasco-based seat, Fasano, 54, is clearly the superior candidate. He is opposed by Michael Kennedy, a 41-year-old Hudson resident who runs his own electrical service, and James V. Mathieu of Port Richey, a 58-year-old lawyer who also serves as vice chairman of the Pasco Republican Party.Fasano, a New Port Richey resident who has lived in Pasco for 42 years, has served in the Legislature 18 years — the last 10 in the Senate, where he is term-limited. He is seeking a return to the House, where he served eight years previously. We've had our disagreements with Fasano, but he remains the region's most influential state lawmaker. He routinely stands up for, as he puts it, "the little guy and gal," especially on property insurance and other consumer issues, and excels at constituent service and open government. And he is not afraid to oppose party leadership when he believes legislation will harm constituents — courage that has cost him politically in the past. Nearly two decades of holding elective office could be viewed as excessive, but Fasano gets things done, and his experience is greatly needed in the House. The Tribune endorses Mike Fasano for state House, District 36. In District 37, which spans from part of the New Port Richey area east to Land O' Lakes, Corcoran, a lawyer who served six years in the Naval Reserve, is seeking a second term. He is challenged by Strother Hammond, who is in the long-term care insurance business. Hammond, 37, of Land O' Lakes, seems knowledgeable about state issues, especially the pressing need to shrink Citizens Property Insurance Corp. But Corcoran, 47, is a rising conservative star in the Legislature and likely to be speaker in 2016-18. He served as an adviser to three House speakers and was chief of staff to Marco Rubio. Corcoran has worked to lower taxes and helped reduce excessive regulations that have burdened businesses. He is especially skilled at health care issues, stressing the need to give consumers more choices. He sponsored legislation, signed into law by Gov. Rick Scott, that brings more transparency to the health care system by requiring certain medical providers to post prices for services and procedures. Corcoran, who lives in New Port Richey, is working with nearly two dozen other representatives to mend the broken process in Tallahassee, a worthwhile effort. The Legislature, he says, needs to foster a "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" culture instead of continuing the power-hungry status quo. The Tribune strongly endorses Richard Corcoran in District 37.