Bob Doyel to Face Kelli Stargel for FL Senate District 22

Mon, Jun 5, 2017

Democrat Bob Doyel, a former circuit judge and candidate in 2016 for Florida House, is running for Florida Senate. Doyel, 71, of Winter Haven, will face Sen. Kelli Stargel in the November 2018 general election.

LAKELAND — Democrat Bob Doyel, a former circuit judge and candidate in 2016 for Florida House, is running for Florida Senate. Doyel, 71, of Winter Haven, will face Sen. Kelli Stargel in the November 2018 general election. Doyel, who filed last week to run for the District 22 seat, said state lawmakers are out of touch with residents.

“They don’t do what we ask them to do,” Doyel said Sunday, referring to the Legislature’s failure to fund the state’s Florida Forever program to protect environmental land, and the lawmakers’ inability to reach an agreement on the state’s medical marijuana amendment.

“They don’t seem to care what we want them to do, they just do what they want to do,” Doyel said.

Stargel, of Lakeland, was elected to the Senate in 2012. Before that, she served two two-year terms in the Florida House starting in 2008.

Stargel described Doyel as a liberal “who believes government can solve everything.”

“I believe in less taxes and more personal responsibility,” Stargel said.

In November, Doyel lost a race to now state Rep. Sam Killebrew, by 53 percent to 47 percent, in House District 41.

Doyel, a U.S. Navy and Vietnam veteran, is a retired judge and a former law professor.

He’s been an outspoken critic of an education bill that slashes education funding. And he said in a letter to the editor in The Ledger that local state lawmakers did nothing to help stop the bill’s passage.

“Our legislators are unrepentant,” Doyel wrote in a letter. “As reported in the pages of this paper, Sen. Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland, Rep. Colleen Burton, R-Lakeland, and Rep. Neil Combee, R-Polk City, have been dismissive and condescending to (County Commissioner George) Lindsey and Commissioner Bill Braswell.”

The education bill provides more money to charter schools and reduces per-pupil funding.

But Stargel maintained that schools, not school districts, will have more control over dollars and that the quality of education has increased throughout her time in the Senate. “Dollars have fluctuated but our quality level has gone up through the years,” Stargel said.

Doyel said Stargel is nice enough, but he criticized her stance on nearly every issu

“Her positions are generally for privatizing government programs and tax cuts for the wealthy,” Doyel said. “Her views and my views are just diametrically opposed.”

The district includes Lakeland, Winter Haven, Eagle Lake, Dundee, Lake Hamilton, Davenport, Lake Alfred, Polk City, Haines City and southern Lake County.

State senators serve four-year terms and are paid $29,697 a year.

John Chambliss can be reached at john.chambliss@theledger.com or 863-802-7588.

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