Seminole Mayor Leslie Waters is backing Republican Berny Jacques in his bid to succeed Rep. Nick DiCeglie in House District 66.
Waters has served as the city of Seminole’s Mayor since 2013. She was first elected to Seminole City Council in 2009, served as Vice Mayor from 2010 to 2011 and as interim Mayor for several months in 2012 and 2013.
Before that, Waters served in the Florida House for just under a decade, serving as Speaker Pro-Tempore during her final term.
“Berny Jacques would be an excellent state legislator. He is familiar with the citizens and businesses of House District 66. Berny has served on the important City of Seminole Developmental Review Board for many years,” Waters said in a statement. “It is now time that he serves in the Florida House, and I support his efforts totally.”
“It’s an honor to have the backing of Mayor Leslie Waters. Mayor Waters was a strong conservative leader when she served our district in the state legislature,” Jacques said in a statement. “As Mayor, she continues to serve as a conservative leader who fights against burdensome tax increases on our families and small businesses. I look forward to working with her as our next State Representative.”
Jacques faces fellow Republican Alen Tomczak, a technical lead at Special Operations Command at MacDill Air Force Base.
So far, they are the only two filed for the race in the red district covering parts of northwest Pinellas County, including Clearwater Beach south to Indian Shores and the city of Seminole.
Jacques previously ran for HD 66 in 2018, losing the GOP primary to DiCeglie.
In his 2018 run, Jacques secured endorsements from the Florida Fraternal Order of Police and the Florida Professional Firefighters, among other local nods. With DiCeglie not on the ticket, Jacques is likely to mount a formidable bid for the seat.
HD 66 has a significant conservative advantage, with nearly 50,000 registered Republican voters to just over 38,000 Democrats. The district also includes nearly 34,000 independent voters.