House Speaker Chris Sprowls is backing state Rep. Chris Latvala in his run for the District 5 seat on the Pinellas County Commission.
Latvala and Sprowls have served alongside one another in the House since both were first elected in 2014. The pair have worked together to spearhead education initiatives during their respective service, work Sprowls highlighted in his endorsement.
“Chris Latvala has served as Education and Employment Chair during my last two years as Speaker of the Florida House. During that time, we passed the Fairness in Women’s Sports Act, the largest expansion of school choice in U.S. History and empowered parents to have control over what their children are taught. I am proud to endorse him for Pinellas County Commission. He is a proven conservative who will fight for our families, keep our taxes low and protect our way of life,” Sprowls said in a statement.
Latvala launched his campaign Tuesday, with Sprowls’ support his first official endorsement.
“Chris Sprowls will go down as one of the most conservative Speakers in Florida history,” Latvala said in a statement. “But even more than that his legacy will be about fighting for kids — closing the literacy gap, fighting for the fatherless and expanding school choice. It was an honor of a lifetime to play a small role in it. The work he was able to accomplish for Pinellas County will be felt for generations. I am honored to have his endorsement.”
Latvala is running to replace Pinellas County Commissioner Karen Seel, who will not seek re-election this year to the single-member District 5 seat. Latvala, who currently represents House District 67 in the Legislature, is not seeking re-election to the state seat because of term limits.
The decision comes after a year of weighing options, substantial fundraising and even a clash with the current Pinellas County Commission that led to an unsuccessful lawsuit. In addition to running on conservative platforms, Latvala also hopes to establish term limits for County Commissioners if he is elected.
He is currently the only candidate filed to run for the seat. Latvala will host a campaign kickoff event on June 14.