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Politics / Issues
00000174-121d-d47e-a1f7-523d2c950000 WUSF News regularly collaborates with University of South Florida journalism classes in Tampa and St. Petersburg, providing students an opportunity to share their work with the greater Tampa Bay area.Some of the projects have included:“Past Plates” - a podcast and written stories produced in Spring 2017 that look into people’s memories and traditions related to food, food culture and food business in south St. Petersburg. In fall 2016, students profiled candidates running for Tampa Bay area elected offices. They were produced as part of the USF Zimmerman School of Advertising and Mass Communications' Advanced Reporting or Public Affairs classes; and as part of the Media and Elections class at USF St. Petersburg’s Journalism and Mass Communications Department.In 2015, WUSF journalists joined the USFSP Neighborhood News Bureau in creating oral histories of residents of St. Petersburg's historic Midtown neighborhood. That work was featured on WUSF's Florida Matters public affairs show.

Elections 2016: Hillsborough Property Appraiser Candidate Todd Jones

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Todd Jones

Veteran appraiser Todd Jones says he isn’t ready for retirement just yet.

“I’ve been an appraiser for more than 30 years, protecting taxpayers from inaccurate assessments the whole time,” said the political newcomer and Republican vying for Hillsborough County property appraiser. “Rather than retire, I’d like to help everyone in our county.”

Age: 52 Party affiliation: Republican Party Education: University of Florida, MBA at University of South Florida Political experience: none

He says one of the main focuses of his campaign is to look at the economy as a whole and to try to help it grow through the work of the appraiser’s office.

“I know how to use the office to grow our economy, increase assessment accuracy, and guarantee fairness and transparency,” said Jones, who faces Democratic incumbent Bob Henriquez in the Nov. 8 election.

What Jones lacks in political experience, he says he more than makes up for in his professional background. For five years, he served as the president of the Florida Association of Property Tax Professionals.

“I am the only licensed appraiser in the race,” he said. “I’m a subject-matter expert. No one is more qualified.”

When asked what it is like to run against an opponent such as Henriquez, who has been previously elected, Jones said “It’s been a struggle. Most people don’t know what the office does, or how it impacts them.”

According to campaign finance records, Jones has received more than $150,000 in donations through Oct. 14.

Doug Calderone is a student journalist attending the University of South Florida Zimmerman School of Advertising and Mass Communications. This story was produced as part of the school’s Advanced Reporting or Public Affairs class this semester, under the leadership of instructors Wayne Garcia and Wendy Whitt.