RAY PILON, Republican
BIRTHPLACE: Pontiac, Mich.
FAMILY: Spouse, Casey; two adult sons, ages 38 and 36
EDUCATION: B.S., Northern Michigan University
PROFESSIONAL CAREER HIGHLIGHTS: Career law enforcement officer 23 years; executive vice president, Storer Gibraltar Protection; elected Sarasota County commissioner, 1996; elected member of the Florida House of Representatives, 2010.
FUN FACT: Trombone player
What is your position on Citizens Property Insurance Co.? What role should the state play in insuring private property?
Citizens should be returned to its original role of insurance-of-last resort. Perhaps the state should consider Citizens for wind insurance only.
What is your position on the state of Florida regulating property insurance rate increases and pricing?
The free market should govern rates generally to allow for competition. The state’s regulatory role should be limited to those regulations geared to protecting consumers.
Why should the state control property insurance rates when we know that this policy has restricted competition and limited the number of companies willing to sell property insurance here?
See answer to previous question.
What is your position on: 1) School choice and school vouchers? 2) Teacher tenure in K-12 and the college level?
I favor parental school choice. Alternatives to vouchers might be a rebate of property tax dollars to those who send their children to private schools.
I voted to eliminate K-12 tenure for new teachers while preserving tenure for those who already have it. It is now law. College-level tenure is still being debated, and I have not formed an official opinion.
What, in your view, is the proper role of state government in public education?
The constitution requires equal funding for every student. Allow local school boards flexibility while promoting higher learning standards. To act as a resource for local school systems.
What is your position on the FCATs?
We should not teach to the test. I do believe in standardized achievement goals, however.
What is your position on the state providing corporate welfare to companies that either expand or move to Florida? How and why are these subsidies morally acceptable?
I don’t believe in corporate welfare; however, any taxpayer dollar incentives should be in the form of lower corporate income tax, tax rebates and strict accountability for performance for any Enterprise Florida dollars allocated. I favor some sort of assurance bonding by those receiving grant dollars to protect the citizens should the company not meet its goals.
Will you take the Americans for Tax Reform pledge not to increase taxes if you are elected or re-elected? If not, why not?
No, because we never know what the future may bring or what the people may want. However, I believe in less taxation, not more, and if the future dictates any type of tax increase due to circumstances, there should be a comparable reduction in other taxes to make it fiscally neutral.
Medicaid costs are increasing at almost double-digit annual rates. How do you think Florida should handle the growth in Medicaid?
The upcoming November election will indicate to us if we have further options for Florida not dictated by the federal government. Currently we are requesting Medicaid waivers to allow us to administer health care with increased flexibility. I am also in favor of the federal government allocating its portion of Medicaid dollars to the state in the form of block grants.
What will be your top three priorities if elected?
Continue to place the needs of my constituents first in my decision-making process. Continue to improve the economic environment. Continue to improve our educational system.
PHOTO GALLERY: Class 7A-Distrit 10 championship
The Lakewood Ranch High volleyball team captured its fourth straight district title with a 25-16, 25-16, 25-13 victory over Sarasota in the Class 7A-District 10 championship Oct. 23. Nicole Grant powered the Lady Mustangs with 12 kills, two blocks and eight digs. Layne Thompson added 11 kills and one block. Kaylee York recored seven kills, one block and nine digs. Courtney Rapp dished out 35 assists and had a block. Lakewood will play host to East Lake in a regional quarterfinal match Oct. 29. Sarasota will travel to Seminole for its regional quarterfinal.
PHOTO GALLERY: Women's Club Casino Night
Ladies in the Lakewood Ranch Women's Club put on their poker faces Oct. 23 for the club’s annual Monty Carlos’ Casino Night, at the Polo Grill's Fete Ballroom.
Sarasota approves 2050 changes
Commissioners approved changes that eliminate monitoring requirements for fiscal neutrality, but require the developer to show the fiscal neutrality of a project at its inception.
It's Read Everywhere
Voting is now open for the 2014 “It’s Read Everywhere” contest. Visit YourObserver.com/itsreadeverywhere to vote for your favorite entries once per day through Oct. 31. One winner will receive two travel certificates, good for travel from SRQ Airport.
24 Lakewood Ranch Republican Luncheon
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
24 "Jazz at Two" with the Ken Loomer Quartet
2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
24 Sarasota Pumpkin Festival
5:00 pm - 8:00 pm
24 A Night to Remember Gala
5:00 pm - 9:00 pm