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ABOUT KATHLEEN

Representative Kathleen Peters moved to Pinellas County in 1985. She received her BA degree from Eckerd College majoring in Human Development. She currently holds the position of State Representative for the Florida House of Representatives, District 69 and formerly VP of Public Affairs at the Clearwater Regional Chamber of Commerce. She has been married to her husband Mike for more than 30 years and is the mother of four sons and grandmother to four grandsons.

In the Florida Legislature, Representative Peters serves on the Government Operations Appropriations Subcommittee, Education Committee, Healthy Families Subcommittee, Transportation & Economic Development Appropriations Subcommittee, the Select Committee on Gaming and the Ethics and Elections Subcommittee.

In her freshman year as a state legislator, Representative Peters successfully acquired funding to establish the first and only Center of Excellence for Orthotics and Prosthetics at St Petersburg College. She also secured funding for beach re-nourishment for Pinellas County Beaches and passed several bills to benefit Floridians both locally and across the state, including reducing taxes for apartment and condominium owners across. In the name of a local teenage girl who lost her life in a boating accident, Rep. Peters also created an educational awareness campaign advocating for more boater safety requirements. She is also spearheading a social marketing campaign “Who knew?” to bring attention to the true face of the homeless population living in Florida.

Representative Peters began her political career by serving on the City of South Pasadena’s Planning and Zoning Board. She was then elected to the City Commission in 2008. In June 2009, she was elected by the Commission to serve as Mayor for the remainder of the retiring Mayor’s term. She was re-elected Mayor in March 2010 and State Representative in 2012. She previously served on the Board of Directors for the Florida League of Mayors, the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority and Pinellas County EMS Advisory Board. She also served on the Florida League of Cities Growth Management and Transportation Legislative Committee, the American Marine Institute Pinellas Board of Directors, and the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council.

Her past employment included working at the Juvenile Welfare Board of Pinellas County where she coordinated a statewide advocacy group to develop a legislative agenda for positive youth policies associated with juvenile justice. She also coordinated a group of more than 70 youth for developing program criteria and acquiring funding to open a local teen center as a millennium youth legacy project.

In 2001 she began work at the YMCA of Greater St. Petersburg as grant manager and later as the Financial Development Director. Along with developing numerous partnerships for the YMCA, Kathleen built consensus to identify strategies to combat the high rate of school suspensions and school related arrests among middle school students. This research resulted in the development of the award winning YMCA Youth Enhancement Skills Program, which demonstrated strong positive outcomes. In 2004, Kathleen presented this award-winning program at a Congressional Briefing for the U.S. House and the Senate.

Kathleen was nominated for the St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce 2006 Woman of Distinction Award and was named Princess of the Queen of Hearts Royal Court in 2005 for outstanding community service. Recently Representative Peters was awarded the 2014 League of City’s Legislator of the Year “Defender of Home Rule” Award and the Florida Chamber award for her work during 2014 legislative session. She is a past member of the Advisory Board for the Pinellas Juvenile Assessment Center, and has chaired major fundraising events for the St. Petersburg Museum of History, Queen of Hearts Royal Court, Boys and Girls Clubs, and several local private schools.

ISSUES

Military - Our military personnel have sacrificed more than most people can comprehend. It’s our duty to serve and protect them while they are deployed and when they return. MacDill Air Force Base, active and retired military personnel and the defense industry are economic drivers for this community. As a state legislator, I have worked to protect Florida’s military bases, lower tuition for veterans, and assist in making Clearwater a designated Coast Guard City. During the 2014 Legislative Session, I was proud to co-sponsor and vote for the Florida GI Bill, House Bill 7015.

Jobs/Economy - As your elected representative, I’ve helped lay the groundwork for Pinellas County to thrive in the technology field with higher salary jobs. I believe in the spirit and skill of Pinellas County’s innovators, entrepreneurs and job creators. Increasing economic growth, jobs, and incomes is the foundation of my agenda in Tallahassee. I will continue to work to lower tax rates, encourage hiring among small business, support legislation that reduces government regulations on job-creators here in Florida and keep Florida on the road to recovery. A prosperous and thriving middle class is crucial to Florida’s continued economic growth.

Flood Insurance - No county in the United States is more affected than our community, with over 50,000 homeowners and 1,500 small businesses in Pinellas County. A broken Washington system is passing legislation without thinking it through, and many homeowners are faced with the possibility of being forced to walk away from their home. As a community leader, I’ve been pushing this issue to the forefront, and helping our state do all that it can to protect our homes and homeowners. As a member of the House of Representatives, I supported House Bill 879/Senate Bill 542, which acted swiftly to address this issue and creates an alternative to the federal National Flood Insurance Program by authorizing private companies to write the insurance that had previously only been available through the federally subsidized program.

Debt/Spending - If families and businesses have to live within their means, then so should our government. While Washington continues to allow the federal deficit to go unchecked, we again passed a balanced budget here in Florida that funds necessary programs, pays down our debt, and places money in reserves so we can keep the promises made to our citizens. I will always work to secure that future for our children and grandchildren.

Immigration - Our nation has always been a beacon of freedom that entices people from all over the globe to move here. Illegal immigration creates an undue burden on law-abiding citizens and needs to be a top priority of the government. I believe that we should secure our borders from continued illegal immigration first and work on improving a process that would allow those who want to immigrate here legally. Legal immigrants should have a smoother path to citizenship than what is currently available. I do not support automatic amnesty for those who have come here illegally; however I believe there is room to improve the process that allows them to earn their citizenship over a period of time.

Homelessness - During the recession we should have been investing in efforts to fight homelessness and we weren’t.  House Bill 979 will help people get on the path to independence by providing that an existing state trust fund for affordable housing be used for anti-homelessness efforts and create Challenge Grants to be administered by the Office of Homelessness in DEO that directs the agency to contract with nonprofit groups to provide job training and technical assistance. The measure will help rectify the lack of funding for homeless programs during the economic downturn.  I couldn’t be more thankful that Gov. Scott saw the value in this type of community-centered care, and signed HB 979 into law.

Contact

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