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(1998 – 2016 Seminole City Council Campaign)
A Campaign Chat With Leslie Waters
How many years have you lived in the area?
I was born and reared in Pinellas County and have lived in the same home for the past 30 years. Al Waters, my husband of 32 years, and I live in Seminole Lake Estates, at the intersection of Park and Starkey.
What is your educational background?
I attended local schools – Gulfport Elementary, Disston Junior High School, Boca Ciega High School, and St. Petersburg Junior College, until I went off to Florida State University where I earned a Bachelor and Masters Degrees. Since then I have received a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) Certificate. I am also a Supreme Court Certified Mediator.
What would you bring to City Council that would benefit the citizens of Seminole?
A great 31 year business career (with Allstate Insurance Company, and with my own government relations consulting firm), 8 successful years in The Florida Legislature, decades of community experience, and knowledge of key issues of importance to the people of Seminole.
What are your priorities for the City of Seminole?
To assure fiscally prudent decisions concerning the budget of the City
Help to oversee the rebuilding of all 4 fire stations that service 80,000 citizens including citizens in the City of Seminole, and citizens of unincorporated Seminole.
Help to assure that an Emergency Operations Center is built for the safety and security of citizens during bad weather events. Also to encourage homeowners to hurricane-proof their homes; and to be conscientious about hurricane preparedness.
To assure the Business Corridors and future commercial construction meet approved architectural guidelines.
Continue the current interest toward providing a Senior Recreation Center.
To help find a home for the Seminole Historical Society.
To assure the city has a current Drainage Master Plan.
To have a major part in the future redevelopment of the Seminole Mall area.
To have open and frequent communications with citizens, encouraging input before key votes, and not after.
How is your campaign progressing?
Since January 4, friends and I have walked door-to-door to 2000 homes, condos and apartments. I also personally visited 50 Seminole businesses.
Campaign mailers “LESLIE WATERS’ WAVE OF BETTER LOCAL GOVERNMENT” were mailed to thousands of voters who had requested a Vote-by-Mail ballot.
The Ambrosia Spa, on Seminole Boulevard, hosted a successful fundraiser for me on January 15, and I participated in a Candidate’s Forum at Seminole Gardens.
In February I plan to assemble and distribute 250 campaign yard signs; hold another fundraiser at Wahoo’s on the Island, and initiate phone banking activities. I also have numerous “Meet and Greet” events to attend, and a radio interview to discuss my campaign and government issues in general.
How are the citizens of Seminole responding to your campaign for City Council?
The citizens of Seminole have enthusiastically responded to my candidacy. They recognize my business, legislative and community experience can be of great value to Council. The citizens of Seminole can be assured that I am listening to them, and working hard to earn their vote and their confidence in my ability to serve on the Seminole City Council.
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(2009 Seminole City Council Campaign)
As a resident of Seminole, I am sure you want nothing but the best from our wonderful city. I feel the same way, and that is why I am running for Seminole City Council.
The reason I am running is to bring a lifetime of community, business and legislative leadership experience to the Seminole City Council. I recently served eight great years in The Florida Legislature with success at impacting much needed Park Blvd. drainage, library and mental health funding, child safety, parks and recreation grants, identity theft, medical malpractice and tort reform. I also oversaw an $8 billion budget for transportation infrastructure and economic development initiatives throughout Florida.
My business and legislative experience will most assuredly be helpful on the Seminole City Council as the City faces budget challenges. I plan to concentrate on low taxes, continuing quality services, and promoting good communications to residents and businesses of Seminole.
Whether at the polls on March 10th, or by mail, I would greatly appreciate your vote. Thank you for “Catching the Waters Wave for Better Local Government!”
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(Florida Senate Race – March 10, 2011 – Seminole Beacon)
Leslie Waters, Vice Mayor of Seminole and republican former State Representative and Speaker Pro-Tempore, filed to run for the Florida Senate in 2012, when Senator Dennis Jones vacates the position due to term-limits.
Representative Waters served in the Florida House of Representatives for 8 years, leaving office in 2006 due to term-limits. While in the House she served as Chair of the House Insurance Committee, of the Hurricane Preparedness Workgroup, and of the Transportation and Economic Development Appropriations Committee. She was also Co-Chair of the Joint Select Committee on Hurricane Insurance, a member of the Governor’s Commission on the Future of Space and Aeronautics in Florida, the Governor’s Commission on Workers Compensation Reform, and the Select Committee on the Oversight of Florida’s Department of Children and Families.
Among key legislation sponsored by Waters was Workers Compensation reform, fighting PIP/automobile insurance fraud, fighting identity theft, child safety issues (focus on shaken baby syndrome awareness), and Space and Aeronautics in Florida.
She was elected to the Seminole City Council in 2009 for a 3-year term, which she plans to complete. She has supported well-managed and fiscally conservative city issues and budget.
Ms. Waters had a 29 year (1971-2000) career with Allstate Insurance Company, working in Human Resources, Corporate and Government Relations management.
She is currently proprietor of Leslie Waters Government Relations, is a Political Science Adjunct Instructor at USF St. Petersburg, and an International Democracy Training Consultant.
Ms. Waters was born in Gulfport, graduated from Boca Ciega High School, and attended St. Petersburg Junior College. She is a graduate of Florida State University earning both Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. She holds a Sr. Professional Human Resources (SPHR) certification, and is a Florida Supreme Court Certified Mediator.
For many years, Waters has served on the Board of Directors of PEMHS Mental Health, the Pinellas County Urban League, is the legislative Liaison for the Pinellas Farm Bureau, and for the Pinellas Park VFW-A , Post #4364. Over the past years she has coordinated fundraising initiatives for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Association and the Alzheimer’s Association, as well as helping with the All Children’s Hospital and PARC fundraising special events.
Ms. Waters states that her decades of corporate experience, years of managing her own business, her decades of community activism, her experience and expertise at both the state and local levels of government will be of value upon returning to the Florida Legislature. Some of the issues she intends to focus on will be helping to keep insurance products accessible and affordable, reducing red tape for agriculture and small business interests, maintaining mental health funding, and assuring quality of life issues for senior citizens.
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(Senate Race – 2011)
SEMINOLE — Leslie Waters has decided to run for re-election to the Seminole City Council rather than stay in the race for state Senate District 13.
Waters, 64, announced her intentions last week, saying she had come “to the realization that my interest, passion, enthusiasm and experience to impact ‘good government’ is at the local level of government, not the state-level, so I have filed to run for re-election to Seminole City Council.”
Her ultimate goal, she said, is to run for Seminole mayor in 2013. Jimmy Johnson is mayor now.
Waters had entered the race for the Senate seat held by Republican Dennis Jones about 10 months ago. Her opponent was fellow Republican Jim Frishe, who had amassed a $115,189 war chest as of Sept. 30. Waters had raised $31,005. Democrat Daryl Rouson also has entered the Senate race.
Waters said her decision to stay on the council if re-elected was based not only on her passion for local government but her crowded schedule.
“Since leaving the Florida Legislature in 2006, I have been involved in all things ‘local government,’ from serving on Seminole City Council since 2009, being a city delegate to the Suncoast League of Cities, speaking at a Florida League of Cities conference, teaching a (University of South Florida St. Petersburg campus) Urban Politics/Government course and, through my consulting firm, have accepted international assignments to consult with local council and parliament officials, and candidates in Southern Sudan, Egypt, Jordan and Bosnia,” she said.
“I have decided that my national and international government relations consulting and USFSP teaching schedules have become too busy to run a viable Senate campaign; and upon a hopeful victorious outcome, my schedule would not be commensurate with time needed to serve as a state senator.”
The filing deadline to run for the Seminole council is Tuesday. The election is March 13.
Reach Anne Lindberg at email@example.com or (727) 893-8450.
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(March 14, 2012 – Re-elect Leslie Waters Seminole City Council)
Voters in Seminole returned incumbent Leslie Waters to the City Council. Waters a former state representative, had begun the campaign season last year by seeking a seat in the Florida Senate. But Waters changed her mind in December 2011 and decided to run for re-election to the Seminole council with the goal of running for Mayor of Seminole in March of 2013. Leslie Waters was the Top Vote getter on March 13, receiving 33% of the vote, or 1541 votes, in a 5-candidate race.
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December 27, 2012 – Seminole Beacon
Waters Loses ‘Interim’ Label by Bob McClure
SEMINOLE – Leslie Waters’ title of interim mayor will soon be mayor.
Waters, 65, was the only candidate to file for the job during the city’s election qualifying period that ended Dec. 14 and will begin a 3-year, 7-month term in mid-March.
She was named vice mayor earlier this year and took over as interim mayor in early November when former Mayor Jimmy Johnson stepped down due to health reasons.
“As interim mayor, I am glad that my attention over the next months will be focused on the business of the city instead of a political campaign.” Waters said, “I look forward to the residents of Seminole to continue to keep me apprised of city issues important to their neighborhoods, to their families, to their quality of life.
I will continue to connect with local business owners to help assure Seminole is in fact the place to shop and a place where new business wants to be.”
Waters and her husband Al have lived in the same Seminole Lake Golf and Country Club Estates home for more than 30 years. Her background includes 29 years in business with Allstate Insurance Co., eight years in the Florida Legislature, four years on the Seminole City Council, six years managing a government relations consulting firm and two years as an adjunct political science instructor at USF St. Petersburg.
“With the new year upon us, 2013 brings an exciting era to Seminole with millions of dollars of investments coming into the city, hundreds of jobs centered on huge development projects such as Bay Pines, the Seminole Mall, Waterfront Park and a multi-purpose renovation at the old City Hall,” Waters said. “Plus, there are other great projects on the horizon that will enhance our city. As mayor, I am ready, along with the City Council, to address and help lead Seminole to greater heights in the years to come.”
Seminole voters will be going to the polls on March 12 to decided two City council seats. Qualified candidates are incumbents Thomas Barnhorn and Jim Quinn, along with challengers Thomas Christy and Matt Nilssen.
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Leslie Waters takes Seminole Mayor Slot Without Opposition
December 18, 2012
SEMINOLE — Leslie Waters was elected mayor Monday when no one signed up to oppose her in the upcoming city election. But Seminole voters will have ample choices in the race for the two open seats on the City Council.
Incumbents Thom Barnhorn, 56, and Jim Quinn, 73, will be running for re-election against Tom Christy and Matt Nilssen. Christy, 61, has run before. Nilssen, 38, is making his first run for the Seminole council. The two highest vote-getters will take office.
Waters, 65, has been serving as interim mayor since November, when Jimmy Johnson resigned for health reasons. “I am very pleased that no one is opposing me for mayor of Seminole,” Waters said Monday. “I am glad that my attention over the next months will be focused on the business of the city instead of on a political campaign.
“With the new year upon us, 2013 brings an exciting era to Seminole with millions of dollars of investments coming into the city, hundreds of jobs centered on huge development projects such as out at Bay Pines, the Seminole Mall, our waterfront park, the former Jesse’s Landing site and a multipurpose renovation at the old City Hall.”
Waters graduated from Boca Ciega High School, attended St. Petersburg Junior College (now St. Petersburg College) and received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Florida State University. She is a Supreme Court-certified mediator and has a senior professional in human resources certification. She worked for 29 years with Allstate Insurance in human resources, corporate relations, marketing and government relations management. She served in the state House of Representatives from 1998 to 2006, where she was chairwoman of the House Insurance Committee, the Transportation and Economic Development Committee, and chairman of several other joint select committees. During her last two years, she served as speaker pro-tem.
Since being forced out by term limits, she has run her own consulting firm, acting as a lobbyist in Tallahassee and Washington, D.C., and presenting workshops in Florida, elsewhere in the United States, Southeast Asia and the Middle East. She also spent two years as an adjunct political science professor at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg.
She was elected to the City Council in 2009 and was serving as vice mayor when Johnson stepped down. She is married to Al Waters.
Seminole has a council-manager form of government and an operating budget of about $15.2 million. The City Council is composed of the mayor and six council members, who are responsible for setting the budget and adopting policy. The mayor earns $9,300 a year, and council members earn $5,562. Members generally serve three year terms, but in 2010 voters approved moving elections to coincide with the November general elections so Waters’ and the council members’ terms will be three years and seven months. The March 12 election will be the last Seminole municipal election held in the spring.
Roses from Seminole Florist in recognition of re-election to Seminole Mayor