110 W. New York Ave.
DeLand, FL 32720
Economy, mortgage crisis will be key talking points in Patterson-Flynn contest for House seat
By Pat Hatfield
posted Jul 9, 2008 - 4:12:07pm
Incumbent Republican Pat Patterson faces a challenge from Democrat Barry Flynn for the District 26 seat in the Florida House of Representatives.
That district extends from Ormond-by-the-Sea westward across northern Volusia County into southwestern Flagler County, then south through DeLeon Springs to the north, west and southwest sides of DeLand, then to Lake Helen, Orange City, Deltona and DeBary.
Election day is Tuesday, Nov. 4.
Patterson, an insurance agent, served in the Florida House of Representatives 1998-2000. He lost the 2000 election, but wa returned to the House in 2002, and has remained in office since.
Contender Flynn, who left his job as a business writer at The Daytona Beach News-Journal when he announced his candidacy, is making his first bid for elected office.
Patterson said his first priority will be to win the election. He plans a door-to-door campaign, visiting around 12,000 houses in the district.
Then, "I'll get ready to go back to Tallahassee, and see what committees I'm assigned to."
One thing Patterson is certain about: Back up in Tallahassee, he'll face economic problems.
"We had to cut the budget by about $7 billion, because of the shortfall in revenue," he said.
The budget for education, he added, was reduced by only 1.84 percent. In Volusia County, a 2.25-percent cost differential caused a higher impact on the school budget.
The theory behind the cost differential is that Volusia County, with beaches and natural beauty, draws employees, so the pay is less than in less-desirable parts of the state. Patterson said he did not support the differential.
He will continue to look at ways to stimulate the economy.
"In the last session, we were looking at things in the growth-management area, the construction and building industry, to get that going," Patterson said.
The slump in construction has had a significant effect on the economy.
He noted the increase in mortgage foreclosures and tightened lending requirements at banks are also affecting Floridians.
Patterson, who will turn 60 in October, was born in West Palm Beach. He is chair of the Committee on Ethics and Elections, and serves on several other house committees. He lives in DeLand with his wife, Anne, who hails originally from Iowa. They have four children.
Patterson welcomes questions and comments. Contact him at his DeLand office at (386) 736-5100, or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit online.
Newspaperman Barry Flynn, who worked at the Orlando Sentinel before moving to The Daytona Beach News-Journal, is a first-time candidate. He said he finally decided to run for office when he looked at the state of government.
"This is a disaster going on in the state and federal government. It's so hard to get someone new in office. That leaves it to the same old pols," Flynn said.
Flynn became a father late in life — the 62-year-old has a 4-year-old daughter, Charlotte Michelina Flynn, with his wife, Lisa, who is studying nursing at Daytona State College (formerly Daytona Beach Community College).
His daughter gave Flynn the final impetus to run for the House, he said.
"I'm worried about what kind of school system she's going to be in in a year or two, what kind of job she will have, what kind of school preparation she will get. She's my only child. She is my life," he said.
Flynn cites the economy as "the most important issue by far," with "rising unemployment, skyrocketing gas prices and surging food costs" all hitting residents where they live.
Where they live is another major concern, he said — mortgage foreclosures hurt not only the homeowner who loses a home, but everyone in Florida.
Flynn said he would work to stop mortgage foreclosures.
He suggested a brief moratorium on foreclosures, for perhaps 30 to 90 days, and finding other ways to solve the problem.
"If we were able to persuade lenders to adjust variable rates to fixed-rate mortgages, you could get them to mark loans down 10 percent," which would give the lender as good or a better return than through foreclosure, Flynn said.
The state could help in bringing about this change, and benefit from it, too, he added.
Flynn, who is from Newport, R.I., first came to Volusia County about 12 years ago.
He wants to change the direction of government, "and it starts here, locally," he said.
Call Flynn at (386) 676-5200, or send him an e-mail at email@example.com. He will soon have a campaign Web site .
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