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League of Women Voters hosts candidates for Pinellas County Tax Collector [Video]

Jaymi Butler

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The League of Women Voters of the St. Petersburg Area held its final Thursday Nights With The League virtual forum Oct. 1, featuring a discussion with the two candidates for Pinellas County Tax Collector. They are: 

  • Charles W. Thomas, the Republican incumbent who has held the position since 2017 and also served as deputy tax collector for 16 years. He cites his award-winning performance and high customer satisfaction ratings as success indicators. 
  • Joe Saportas, a Democrat who served in the Jacksonville mayor’s office and later founded a nationwide wireless company. He pledges to improve efficiency and customer service at the Tax Collector’s office. 

During the discussion, the panelists answered questions from the moderator, Catalyst publisher Joe Hamilton, on their qualifications, their thoughts on the top three issues in the race, how they would increase accessibility to underserved areas and how they would implement mobile and virtual services. Other questions touched on the importance of branding at the Tax Collector’s office, the source of the candidate’s campaign donations, the ways each candidate would decrease wait times and upgrade the technology at the Tax Collector’s office, the measures they’ll put in place to keep residents safe during the pandemic and what they hope their legacy will be at the end of their tenure, should they get elected. 

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