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Pinellas teachers endorse Janet Long for Pinellas County Commission

Long faces reelection against Republican Larry Ahern.

The Pinellas Classroom Teachers Association (PCTA) endorsed Janet Long for reelection to the Pinellas County Commission, the group announced Thursday.

Long, a Democrat, faces Republican former Rep. Larry Ahern in the Nov. 3 General Election.

“Commissioner Long has a proven record of commitment, dedication and service to supporting our community and public schools,” said PCTA President Nancy Velardi. “She is by far the most qualified candidate to keep moving Pinellas forward.”

Long’s list of endorsements is growing, including previous endorsements from the Pinellas Realtor Organization, the Suncoast chapter of the Sierra Club and the West Central Florida Labor Council, AFL-CIO.

Long has served in Pinellas County Commission District 1 since 2012. Before that, she served on the Seminole City Council from 2002-2006 and the Florida House of Representatives from 2006-2010.

Ahern also served in the Legislature, notable chairing the House Education Committee during his tenure. That the PCTA endorsed Long and not him could signal campaign fodder to come as an indication teachers, broadly, were not happy with his leadership in that role.

As a Commissioner, Long serves on the executive committee of the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) and chairs the Tampa Bay Regional Resiliency Coalition. She also serves as treasurer and secretary for the Tampa Bay Area Transit Authority (TBARTA) and is a member of Forward Pinellas, an economic development board.

Long also serves on the Pinellas County Attorney Oversight Committee, Public Safety Coordinating Council, and the Health and Human Services Leadership Board. She also represents Pinellas County on the Board of Directors for the Florida Association of Counties.

Long leads Ahern in cash raised with nearly $120,000 to date compared to Ahern’s less than $40,000. Long retains about $95,000 in her campaign account while Ahern has just $29,000 on hand.

District 1 is an at-large District and the race will appear on ballots countywide, but represents voters in northeast Pinellas County, parts of central Pinellas and some of the Gulf coast from Indian Shores to Madeira Beach.

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in Tampa Bay since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as senior reporter for WMNF News. Janelle has a lust for politics and policy. When she’s not bringing you the day’s news, you might find Janelle enjoying nature with her husband, children and two dogs. You can reach Janelle at Janelle@floridapolitics.com.

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