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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.

In the Florida Legislature, Representative Peters serves on the Commerce Committee, Ways and Means, Government Operations and Technology Appropriations Subcommittee, and serves as Chair for the Energy and Utilities Committee.

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 our local Pinellas County beaches and passed several bills to benefit Floridians here and across the state, including reducing taxes for apartment and condominium owners across the state. In the name of a local teenage girl who lost her life in a boating accident, Rep. Peters also passed legislation for better boater safety requirements. She is also spearheading a social marketing campaign “Who knew?” to bring attention to the true face of the homeless, veterans, single moms and children.

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 Senate.

In 2015, Representative Peters was awarded the “Legislative Champion” from Florida Partners in Crisis and the Florida Sheriffs Association. She was also named “Legislator of the Year” by the Osteopathic Medical Society, the Suncoast League of Cities, and the Florida Veterinary Medical Association. For her extensive work on homelessness and on mental health, she was named the Florida Housing Coalition’s “Housing Champion”, and received the M.A. Bernstein Award for Mental Health Awareness. Just recently, Representative Peters received recognition from the Suncoast Center for her extensive legislative work in mental health. She is a past member of the Advisory Board for the Pinellas Juvenile Assessment Center, and currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Central Florida Behavioral Health Network.

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ISSUES

Mental Health Reform
As a legislator, Kathleen has been at the forefront of this topic and led the charge to create sweeping mental health reforms. There is much to be done in Pinellas that will properly treat patients and cut costs while building out a coordinated system of care for mental health treatment. Pinellas County needs a central receiving facility, for both mental health and addiction treatment, that will get patients the treatment they need while easing the burden we place on our law enforcement, jails, courts, and hospitals. While serving Pinellas County in the Florida House, Kathleen passed landmark legislation to improve access to care for individuals with mental illness or substance addiction and procured the first stable state revenue source to assist communities in battling homelessness.

Protecting Pinellas Beaches and Waters

As a State Representative, Kathleen led the charge to enforce stricter reporting requirements on cities and organizations who dump raw sewage in the community. When the City of St. Petersburg dumped tens of millions of gallons of raw sewage, she demanded a Fish & Wildlife investigation into the damage. Kathleen sponsored the Fracking Ban legislation in the Florida House and has been a strong advocate for banning off-shore drilling to protect Florida’s coastline and tourism industry.

Ending the Opioid Crisis
To combat the opioid crisis, a number of proactive and open measures have been initiated at the county level thanks to our Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office. Kathleen will continue to support local efforts to report prescription drug abuse and get opioids off of our streets.

Protecting Consumers
Kathleen has a record of standing up for the constituents she serves, and will continue to do so on the Pinellas County Commission. As Chair of the Energy and Utilities Subcommittee, Kathleen stopped Duke Energy from charging higher rates when a billing cycle changed, established term limits for Public Service Commissioners, and limited the deposits that electric companies may require from customers. She was integral in reforming the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board that now has increased transparency and public accountability.

Helping Veterans
Florida is widely considered the nation’s most Veteran-friendly state, and Kathleen will fight to make Pinellas County the most Veteran-friendly county. She sponsored legislation which made it possible for all veterans to receive lower in-state tuition rates at our state colleges and universities as well as voted to remove sales tax on food and drink sold to fellow members of veterans organizations.

Growing Our Economy
Kathleen will ensure that Pinellas is at the forefront of economic development and business recruitment, but also make sure that we’re prepared for the impact that increase will take on our County. As a legislator, Kathleen championed $14.5 million in state funds for Pinellas beach renourishment projects to protect tourism jobs.

Cutting Taxes and Government Spending
Kathleen has voted for over $1 billion in tax and fee reductions, including $428 million in property tax relief for Florida’s homeowners in 2016 alone and helped permanently cut taxes for manufacturers, a barrier to job growth.

Improving Our Schools
Kathleen supported the largest budget for education and the highest per pupil spending in our state’s history. Kathleen helped obtain $480 million for teacher pay raises in 2013, secured funds for the new St. Petersburg College marine science laboratory, new USFSP College of Business building, and new SPC Student Success Building.

 

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