July 31, 2008

Opponents to Succeed Bean Tout Education Both With School Board Experience, They Also Want to Help the Economy Thrive.


The two candidates on the state House District 12 ballot for the Republican primary have solid backgrounds in education as school board members and one as a longtime teacher and coach.

Janet Adkins of Fernandina Beach and Bobby Hart of Taylor want to represent the district when term-limited Aaron Bean leaves office. The district covers Nassau, Baker, Union and Bradford counties, as well as northwestern Clay and northeastern Duval counties.

Adkins, 42, has been on the Nassau County School Board since 1998 and also is the Republican state committeewoman for Nassau County and has been active in various GOP committees. From 1987 to 1999, Adkins worked for a software consulting firm.

Hart, 54, served on the Baker County School Board from 1990 to 1996, when he waged an unsuccessful campaign for Baker County school superintendent. He ran for the District 12 seat in 2000, but was defeated by Bean. He teaches geometry and is a coach at West Nassau High School and previously taught in Baker and Union counties.

Hart also served in the National Guard and is a major in the Army Reserve with the 3rd Medical Command. He has served two tours of duty in Operation Iraqi Freedom in the Middle East, the most recent ending in April 2007.

Adkins said she would work to reduce state regulation of small businesses.

"They are the backbone of our economy and they need to be able to stay in business," she said. "Florida is one of the most regulated states in America and that hurts our small business owners."

Hart, a sixth-generation Floridian, said he is concerned with the direction the state is taking.

"We must manage growth and attract environmentally friendly business and industry into the district," Hart said.

He also expressed deep concern about adequate state funding for schools.

"We must provide quality education for our kids since education is the bedrock of our society," Hart said. "I always tell my students at the end of the year that if there is one student who can say their life is better for having taken my class, then I have done my job."

Adkins said she would work to continue raising education standards in math and science.

She also would address the rising cost of energy by having a select committee look at such things as alternative power and bulk buying of fuel for use by law enforcement agencies and school districts.

"I believe people are tired of 'politics as usual,' tired of the personality contest so often prevalent in election campaigns," Adkins said. "I am a problem-solver. For the 12 years I worked in the information technology field, all I did was solve problems."

Hart said his entire life has been built around service, not only by helping young people learn but by his leadership as a teacher, coach and military officer.

"Nothing is accomplished alone," he said, "so leadership is critical. I am a firm believer in leading by example. ... I am not afraid to tackle the problems we face in Florida and make the tough decision necessary."[email protected], (904) 359- 4374STATE HOUSE DISTRICT 12 REPUBLICAN PRIMARYWinner faces write-in candidates Damon C. Fernandez and Robert Scott Ziefel in the Nov. 4 general election.JACKSONVILLE.ACTIVOTE.COmGo to jacksonville.activote.com to get the latest coverage of national and local elections. Also, comment on the races and show your support for candidates and issues.

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