Ken Littlefield learned a lot from his brother, Carl, and even followed him into public service.
The two owned Littlefield’s Furniture in Dade City. However, the 1990 census created a new legislative district, and Carl won the seat, becoming a popular lawmaker representing parts of Pasco and Hillsborough counties.
In 1999, however, Carl earned a cabinet appointment by Gov. Jeb Bush, opening the door for Ken Littlefield to seek the seat. Capitalizing on his last name, and putting to use some skills he learned while visiting his brother in Tallahassee, the older Littlefield took over the seat in a special election, and stayed in office until Bush appointed him to the Florida Public Service Commission. There, Littlefield was expected to have a voice in how public utilities like electric companies charged consumers. But it was to be short lived.
Bush had wrapped up his final term as governor, and Charlie Crist — then a Republican — assumed office. Crist quickly rescinded the Bush appointment, removing Littlefield from the job.
Yet, Littlefield landed on his feet, taking over as executive director of the Statewide Advocacy Council, which helped protect people receiving services from state agencies in Florida. But funding for that program ran out in 2010, and Littlefield returned home.
He may have gotten a job at a Dade City funeral home, but Littlefield was not interested in leaving politics just yet. He unsuccessfully challenged Pasco County commissioner Pat Mulieri in a 2010 primary, and after she announced her retirement, decided to go after the open seat.
Why should voters choose him in the Aug. 26 primary? Because, according to an email interview, Littlefield knows how to make good policy.
“If you have good policy, then you will have good ordinances,” Littlefield wrote. “If you have good ordinances, you will have good rules and regulation. It all begins with policy.”
Details, however, might be a different story. When it comes to how to fund road construction, how to deal with growth-induced transportation issues, and public safety issues like funding the sheriff’s office, Littlefield chooses to skim the surface.
For example, the county commission is currently deciding on how to fund new road projects, focused primarily on either an increase in the local gas tax, a hike in property taxes, or a combination of the two.
“I would guess it will come down to a combination of the methods suggested,” Littlefield said. “I think that all options have to be on the table at the beginning of the negotiations. I support getting the job done with whatever can be agreed upon.”
Last month, Sheriff Chris Nocco told The Laker/Lutz News that his request for an additional $6 million to his budget was just the beginning, and he’ll need even more in coming years. Commissioners were able to just squeeze out enough cash to accommodate Nocco’s request, but the future is still a big question mark.
“This is why we craft a budget every year,” Littlefield said. “The process provides an annual assessment of requests and available revenue to fund those requests. It becomes the commission’s responsibility to determine whether we can afford the requests or not. They will have the chance to make that decision again next year.”
The commission may be focused more on maintaining existing roads, but the Democratic candidate for District 2, Erika Remsberg, has been working to turn attention to the more than 500 miles of unpaved roads in the county. The current system of charging thousands of dollars to neighborhood residents in a special pavement assessment is something she feels needs to be looked at.
Littlefield, however, believes it needs nothing more than a little tinkering.
“I think the present program using a revolving fund is equitable,” he said. “The term could be lengthened. Also, the interest rate could be negotiated to see if it could be lowered.”
Littlefield ran a tough campaign against Mulieri four years ago, but he says he still respects her two decades on the commission.
“I think her legacy will be that she has been a good advocate for those whose voice has gotten lost in the crowd,” Littlefield said. “The underprivileged, the homeless, veterans, and of course, her advocacy for shelter animals have all benefitted from her selfless service on the commission.”
Republican candidate for Pasco County Commission, District 2
Hodges Family Funeral Home
Florida House of Representatives, 1999-2006
Carole Littlefield, wife
Pasco County, 33 years
through Aug. 8
Published August 20, 2014
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