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Rennie Heath is second Republican to enter Polk County Commission race

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Republican businessman Rennie Heath filed paperwork Thursday to run for Polk County Commission, District 3.

“I’ve spent nearly my entire life in Polk County and have seen firsthand just how important it is we have conservative leaders in local government to chart a prosperous course forward to grow our economy, invest in our infrastructure, and support Sheriff’s Office and law enforcement community,” Heath said.

Heath said his top priorities are ensuring cooperation with Sheriff Grady Judd and other law enforcement, using a “conservative approach” to keep taxes low and ensure that “government serves to facilitate and not regulate.”

“Government shouldn’t serve as a barrier to entry, but rather as a helping hand in the growth of our businesses and the health and happiness of our residents,” Heath said.

Heath was born and raised in Winter Haven. He graduated from Polk Community College and the University of South Florida. Heath also served four years of active duty in the U.S. Coast Guard.

“Polk County is a very special place for me and my family. I was born and raised here. Met and married my wife here and we raised our family here. I’ve spent decades actively involved in this community and would like to take that civic and community experience to the County Commission,” Heath said.

Heath served two terms as a commissioner for the Lakes Region Lakes Management District. He served on the Polk County Charter Review Committee and currently serves as chair of the Polk County Planning Commission.

Heath and his wife have four children and five grandchildren. He’ll face fellow Republican J.C. Martin in the 2016 primary. So far no Democrats have run for the seat.

Candidates are running to replace Ed Smith, who cannot seek another term due to term limits.

Polk County commissioners make $42,030.

Janelle Irwin has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. She also hosts a weekly political talk show on WMNF Community radio. Janelle formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a diehard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and the ongoing Pier debacle. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also the devoted mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder. To contact, email [email protected]

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