Lodato's business background needed on county commission
Hernando TodayThe issue: County commission District 5 Republican primary.
Published: August 5, 2012
Published: August 5, 2012
Our opinion: James "Jimmy" Lodato would bring fresh vision and planning ideas to commission.
The Republican primary for Hernando County Commission District 5 features a pair of worthy candidates.
The incumbent Jim Adkins, 63, has been a champion of sinkhole reform, expanding broadband access in the community and has consistently voted against raising taxes.
James "Jimmy" Lodato, 70, is a successful businessman, who was president of the Tierra Verde Community Association in southern Pinellas County prior to moving to Hernando County 12 years ago.
While Adkins touts his focus on economic development, especially helping bringing Wi-Max technology to the county, he voted against accepting federal money to build an air control tower at the Hernando County Airport. That went against many business people who believed the tower was vital to future expansion and economic growth at the facility and surrounding areas.
It is also troubling that while Adkins has voted against raising taxes, he hasn't come forward with enough ideas about how to close the county's budget shortfall without doing so. Saying the elected constitutional officers hasn't done their part is simply not enough.
Two months ago not many people in Hernando County had heard of Lodato.
A successful businessman in the 1970s-80s, Lodato was so successful he was able to retire before turning 40.
He moved to Hernando County in 1999 to raise South African Boer goats at a ranch off Mondon Hill Road with his wife, Tammy.
Lodato credits the community support he and his wife received six years ago during her battle with cancer as his motivation to run for office.
Lodato's business acumen is what the county needs as it fights to re-emerge from the housing collapse with a new vision for the future. The days of relying on the building industry to carry us are long gone.
His detailed vision includes focusing on local business, bringing more industry to the county, expanding agricultural businesses, promoting tourism, continue to streamline permitting, stimulate sales of existing homes and new construction and forming a joint partnership with constitutional officers to solve budgetary needs.
Lodato's private-sector experience will no doubt help on the economic development front as well. He sees past the airport and industrial park and understands the need to attract business and industry to other parts of the county such as the area around State Road 50 and U.S. Highway 301.
Lodato, who is experienced in finances, has also promised to go line-by-line through the budget to find cuts rather than rely on tax increases.
He believes the county got in its current position because it was too focused on the here and now and failed in their job to consider long-term strategies for future success, which we could not agree with more.
Hernando Today recommends voters cast their ballots for James "Jimmy" Lodato.