By Dawn Krebs
MARTIN COUNTY - In the Aug. 14 primary, Republican voters in Martin and St. Lucie counties get to decide between candidates Randy Johnson and Cory Pigman. Whoever wins will face off against Democrat Crystal Drake in November.
Hometown News asked the candidates the same questions about their campaign. Their answers are below in alphabetical order, and can also be found online at www.myhometownnews.net.
Hometown News does not endorse any candidates for political office, but instead provides information about each candidate for voters to make an educated decision.
Name: Randy Johnson
Lives in: Sebring
Family: Son Jordan, daughter Brooke
Name: Cary Pigman
Lives in: Avon Park
Family: Wife Darlene
Q: Why did you decide to run for office?
Johnson: Our government has lost its way over the past four years, becoming more and more distant from her people. At the state level, taxes are up and fees have, in some cases, more than doubled. Property taxes only seem to increase, even though they are supposed to be based on assessed value. The culprit is a long list of extras added onto our tax bills, and politicians who promise not to raise taxes, and then find a hundred ways to "increase revenue."
I'd like to see our government make the same financial sacrifices as families are making every day in St. Lucie County. I have the experience as a former legislator and chair of the house finance and tax committee to address these problems head on and from day one.
Pigman: I decided to run after getting to know our current representative, who is terming out and running for the Florida Senate, the honorable Denise Grimsley. She has always demonstrated a careful, considered, gracious and well-thought representation of the district. I hope to emulate her skill and competency. As an emergency medicine physician, I am blessed with a career that allows the flexibility to contribute a period of my time to serve my community as its representative.
Q: What do you feel is the most important issue that faces the residents of Martin County?
Johnson: Getting the heavy boot of government taxes, fees and regulations off the necks of our families, ranchers and farmers is a good start. We can and will recover from this recession with American entrepreneurialism and hard work. My opponent wants to expand gambling in our state, raise taxes on all Internet purchases, soften the death penalty, support portions of Obamacare and support same-sex civil unions that will cost our small businesses millions in extra costs. I disagree.
Cary Pigman and I have different views of what Florida should look like for our children and grandchildren. I am a proud Christian conservative who is 100 percent pro life. I will reflect the real values of Republican voters.
Pigman: My first goal is to ensure that agriculture remains a growing, vibrant endeavor in our heartland. Medicaid, the federally mandated, state-funded health insurance for the poor is consuming an ever greater portion of total state allocations. My second goal is to move it toward rewarding value-oriented services that promote intelligent disease management and complication prevention.
Job creation remains the most critical issue for the state. We can achieve this with an improved regulatory environment that does not strangle business, a fair tax scheme that does not hold any Florida business at a disadvantage and a budget with controlled Medicaid spending that allows appropriate investment in the two things that are critical for business: education and infrastructure. Education prepares the workers of tomorrow, infrastructure allows businesses to thrive.